Grandma is ill again. She dips in and out. Today she’s told me to take Ginny out of the house, because the air is stale, and the house smells like dust. I ask Ginny where she wants to go and she says, not far, because Grandma is ill, so we decide on the corn-field behind the fence at the bottom of the garden.
I push Ginny up and over the fence. She wobbles on the top, one leg on the garden side, one leg dangling in the corn. She laughs and wobbles. Then she swings over and drops into the field. I pull myself up, which is new for me, for us: we always used a chair, or a ladder, but now I’m big enough to push her up and pull myself up. The fence didn’t feel like such a barrier anymore: a mountain at the bottom of the garden, one we had to scale to escape the mundane porridge and black-and-white cartoons on Grandma’s old television. This realization took away some of the excitement, and when I climb over I get fence-stains, green lichen, on my white t-shirt. Getting older is to think about the stains on your clothes.
Down the fence, face to the wood. When I turn around at the base, Ginny was nowhere to be seen. There are a few trampled stalks so I push through the corn in that direction, careful not to slice my hands on the rigid leaves. The corn is just about ready for harvest; thick yellow ears, delicate kernels. On and on they go, just about head height, and I can see other ears between the stalks flickering as the wind moves the field. We’d never reached the end of the cornfield when we were younger. Grandma had always told us that on the other side of the field there was a farmer’s house, and he’d get us with his shotgun if we wandered too far.
After a moment, the path of trampled corn stalks comes to an end.
It was silent. Just the rustling of the corn.
I thought of the farmer with his shotgun, and of Ginny, pausing like I have, listening to the silence and the rustling of the corn. I thought of Grandma in her chair, head bowed, snoring.
“Ginny!” I call. “Ginny!”
But there is no answer.
Just the rustling of the corn.
Via the Daily Prompt: Yellow
Read my other prompts here:
When I was Ten – a little brother confronts his big brother about why he’s crying on the stairs.
Exquisite (Mr Tokida’s Lament) – a schoolteacher receives some terrible news in the middle of his class, come with me whilst we follow his unraveling.
Tea and Peaches – a lovely little “like” story.