They all look so happy, so content, each in their own little colonies. I like to watch, to see the warmth in their eyes as they greet. Husband and wife embrace and say hello, children run to their parents and grandchildren hop up and down to see what treats their grandparents and even great-grandparents may have brought them.
Little babies coo pleasantly along with the night songbirds and giddy tree frogs hugging the trees surrounding the village.
Evening settles and the women sing together as they cook. Batting away at the myriad of night insects hoping to catch a meal either from them or what’s cooking in the big pots.
Darkness surrounds the colony and the children are all asleep; all except one or two who stubbornly refuse to give up the fight against sleepiness. Eventually they grow quiet too, along with the dogs, cows, horses and other day creatures.
I hear the soft loving murmur of men, wrapping their arms protectively around their women as they slip into bed. Other sounds are heard, signaling my leaving time.
I had to go, I really had to go and headed for the chair doing the worst impression of a duck walk there ever was.
Oh the chair, that glorious chair with the magic hole beneath it; we all love you so, all the more since we don’t have to squat our bare butts down on a bush full of thorns or worse, a log full of chiggers!
Sweet relief once I take that seat and let nature flow but, day of all days, my zipper is stuck and my jeans are lodged half way down my hips.
The sound of that zzzzzip is sweet music to my ass-urance that an accident I will not make.
I turn and sit down and discover within a cloud of foul smelling mess, that something is sorely amiss!
“Dad,” I yell at the top of my lungs waiting for him to appear, “you forgot to make a HOLE in this here chair!”
It was almost over. All the heartache. All the strife. All the pain. One step onto that bridge and it would all be left behind.
No more ugly words and recriminations. No more accusations, half-truths, slights and outright verbal attacks.
One small step and the bitterness of loneliness would disappear, swallowed into a great black void of nothingness; or whatever was on the other side of this bridge. Heaven or Armageddon?
Others passed her by, bumping into her, jostling her in their scramble to get to the other side.
Another jerk and a long, hard pull found her at the very threshold of the bridge. Shadows moved on the other side. Mist undulated over the landscape. A mighty roar rang out, then three loud gongs signaling the closing of the bridge.
Take a step, just take a step. Something tugged harder. She wavered. Across the bridge was nearly everyone she loved and cared for. Lifting a small, frail foot above the glistening cedar of the long foot-bridge, she leaned forward then stopped.
A noise, coming from a distance far away rang familiar. There it was again! Turning away from the bridge, she did not see it dissipate.
The voice was closer now, distinguishable.“Grandma? Grandma are you awake?”