So I Wait
So I Wait
The year was 1945. Mary Ellen was sitting on her front porch, like she’d done every night since the war ended. She was wearing a white cotton dress that with the ruffles, just barely went past her knees. These kinds of dresses were perfect for the hot summer nights that Georgia had been so good about giving her. She had been sitting on those steps for over an hour now. Somehow though, looking out into the nights sky and seeing those stars go for miles and miles, made everything seem alright. Even if the stars weren’t what Mary Ellen was looking for.
In fact, Mary Ellen had always enjoyed sitting on her porch, watching the fireflies hover over the corn fields, since she was a little girl. Now, she was nineteen and instead of waiting for her pa to drive up that old gravel road after a long day’s work, like she did when she was little, she was waiting for someone different. Someone she had dreamed about coming home for almost two years.
"I’m out here Ma."
Mary Ellen’s mother came out wearing almost the same dress as Mary Ellen. Except, she also had on a blue apron. There was grease and flour all over her, even in her blonde (almost gray) hair. Mary Ellen had never looked much like her mother or father. Both her parents had blonde straight hair. Mary Ellen’s hair on the other hand was dark with curls.
"Mary Ellen, why don’t you come inside? I saved you some supper."
"I’m not hungry." She said, still looking at the stars.
"Mary Ellen..." She started to say, as she sat down on the steps next to her daughter.
Mary Ellen still didn’t look at her.
"I know this must be hard....if I had ever lost your daddy...."
"He’s coming back!" She said that firmly, but still, there was a tear in her eye.
"I know baby, I know."
She placed her hand on Mary Ellen’s shoulder.
"If you need me, I’ll be inside."
There was a long pause as she walked to the door.
Mary Ellen rested her head on her knees and wrapped her arms around her ankles. Listening to the crickets and the occasional blowing of the wind through the fields, she thought. Thought about when they had met. Thought about when they had fallen in love. Thought about when he left. But mostly, thought about all the others that had once lived in this town. People. Good people. People who like Mary Ellen had been in love.
And now all that was left were memorials.
She didn’t know if he was coming tonight, or even if he was alive. She did however, know that if he returned, he would meet her at the place that they had spent so many nights talking and laughing. Which was right where she was sitting.
By this time, Mary Ellen was growing tired. She slipped off her shoes and let her toes get buried underneath the cool dirt. She unpinned her long, brown hair and let her eyes become fixated on the gravel road.
She sat there for maybe 20 minutes. Just sitting and staring into the night. She came out of her trance when she heard the gravel spinning and jumping along......car lights?
"A car." She said this in almost a whisper. Her heart stopped. Her hands started to shake.....she stood up and started to brush the dirt off of her dress. A blue Chevy.
"Could it be?" she thought. Not only had her heart started to beat again, but it was going 100 miles an hour with no intention of slowing down.
The car pulled right in front of her porch but still, it was too dark to see. The car was definitely his though. Her heart was pounding. The car door opened. A tall man got out, dressed in full army attire. He took his hat off. Her heart stopped. She knew that black hair....those dark eyes.
"Yes James?" Barely breathing.
"I have some bad news."
She also knew that James wasn’t who she loved. James was his brother. Was. Not anymore. Now, he was dead. Now, he was just another memorial in the crowd. She stood there, motionless, in disbelief.
© 2017 Sarah Spradlin