Friday, December 5, 2014

Guarded Secrets - The Story - Chapter 1

It had been a rather unfruitful yard sale excursion that day and I was riding home. The sun was high in the sky now and even though it was the middle of October, it was a hot day.  I was tired and had been at it now for hours the whole time riding my bike from sale to sale. Nearly my entire neighborhood was participating in the community sale and I had been excited to be able to ride my bike to them, but the heat quickly vanquished my enthusiasm. Just as soon as I had decided to call it quits, a bright green sign caught my eye. I was close to home, so I figured one more sale wouldn't hurt.

Hot and crouched over a box full of dusty books in someones drive way, I was ready to give up. The old woman running the sale looked as though she was ready to pack it all up as well. The smell of cooking food was wafting out of her screen door and I knew that as soon as I left, she would go inside to finally eat her late lunch. I felt guilty from keeping her from eating. I started to stand up to leave and was suddenly pushed back down.

Startled, I whipped around to see who had pushed me. I expected to see an inconsiderate shopper not paying attention to where they were going. Instead, I saw that I was the only one there aside from the lady who was running the sale and she was sitting behind a table in the garage. I thought that maybe I was just overheated and my body was trying to tell me so. Or perhaps, my legs had fallen asleep from crouching down so long. As I started to stand up again, I heard whispering in my ear. Startled again, I turned around and noticed the lady staring at me curiously.

"What was that you said?" I asked her.

"Nothing dear." she said with a confused look on her face.

"Oh. I thought you said something. This heat must be getting to me." Embarrassed, I turned away from her so she couldn't see the redness in my cheeks.

That's the moment I saw the book. It was tucked in tight with some other books, but the bit of bright yellow cover that was sticking out caught my eye. I was seeing it like it was in an old movie where they fade out with a big circle that slowly gets smaller around the object they are focusing on. It sounded like a dozen people were standing behind me whispering to each other, but I couldn't understand their words. A cloud moved in front of the sun casting a blue shadow over the driveway and time seemed to stand still for a moment. I reached for the book and as I picked it up, the cloud moved away and the sun shone brightly on it's yellow cover making it gleam as if it were encrusted with a thousand diamonds. The cover simply read, "Guarded Secrets."

What was I looking at, I wondered. Was this someones self-published diary? A script for a 60s something soap opera? A play book for a high school football team? A spy book with all of the enemy's secrets? I was intrigued. Flipping it open, I discovered it was a cookbook. A self published cookbook from "The ladies of the hospital auxiliary in 1960." I laughed to myself.

Holding it up, I turned to the lady, "What a name for a cookbook!"

She smiled. "Those types of cookbooks are always the best. You know those women have tried all of those recipes and probably cooked them time and time again."

"You're right. How much?"

"Fifty cents."

My day of shopping was over. I gathered up all of the treasures I had found, paid the nice lady, loaded up my bike basket and rode away.

When I got home, I placed all of my yard sale haul on my desk and went about the rest of my day. That night I had a dream.

I was sitting on the couch in my living room. To my right was a full view of my kitchen. Walking around in my kitchen were a group of women. They were talking to each other, but I couldn't understand the words. They sounded like a grown up talking on a Charlie Brown show. "waaahh wa waah wah wah."

One woman was walking back and forth, pacing the length of my kitchen over and over. She was talking the most and dramatically waving her arms around. Two other ladies seemed to be listening to her, nodding their heads occasionally. These three ladies were all in mid century style dresses. I remember that stuck out for me, being a person who sells vintage clothes online.

The three women were clear and everything around them was blurred. Slowly, the rest of the kitchen came into crisp, clear focus and I realized there were more women all around. There were 6 women all in my kitchen.

One woman was sitting cross legged on my counter. She looked like a hippy, with very long straight hair parted down the middle. She had on round lens sunglasses and about a dozen necklaces draped around her neck and rings on every finger. She seemed to be meditating.

There was another woman sitting at my kitchen table. She was younger than the others. She was reading a book and seemed disinterested in the pacing woman although she would glance over at them from time to time.

Another woman was rummaging through my cupboards and fridge. Every now and then she would find something and set it on the counter.

"Waaah wah wah! wah waaah wa." the pacing woman said.

"waah wah wah wah waaah wah." one woman replied.

I struggled to hear what they were really saying. I was trying hard to make out the words. Then two African American women walked in wearing the same style of dresses as the first three. The pacing woman stopped looked at them and they all nodded at each other. The two new women sat down at the table next to the young reading girl.

The pacing woman began to rant again, "wahh wah wahwa wa."

I continued to watch her, straining to try to understand what she was saying. This seemed to go on forever.

"It doesn't matter! We still have to try!" the pacing woman's words were coming through.

"I'm tired. It's no use." one of her friends replied.

"I'm not giving up! I can't. It's been too long and now we might have a chance."

"A chance at more years of disappointment?" the same woman replied.

"No! Don't be so negative." the pacing woman stopped and crossed her arms.

"Maybe Gladys is right." the other woman standing in the kitchen said. "What harm is it going to do if we at least try?"

The three women went silent. I wanted to talk to them. I tried to say something, but only my lips would move and no sound would come out. I started to panic. I tried to stand up, but I felt paralyzed. I could only move my head around. I started to shake my head furiously trying to work the movement down to my shoulders and arms and finally to my legs and feet. My whole body started to vibrate and in one swift movement I stood up. I turned to the kitchen and saw that the hippy chick was raising her sunglasses and looking straight at me, stunned.

"What do you want to try?" I asked.

Every single one of them turned to me with shocked looks on their faces. The one they called Gladys smiled and then I woke up.

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