Years earlier the town council purchased the old country church. With moderate renovations, they converted it into the town hall. Five wooden steps led up to the bright red door, a sharp contrast to the pale green building. The small boy spotted the familiar woman with salt-and-pepper hair. She bent down in one of the flower beds beside the steps.
“There’s Grammie,” the small boy exclaimed. “Can I go see her?”
Not waiting for a reply, the small boy pulled the door handle, pushed hard, and dashed out. “Grammie,” he exclaimed, running. The grandmother turned; arms open. The small boy slammed into her. Teetering, she caught herself.
“Whoa there, cowboy, you’re about to knock me over.” She swallowed the small boy in her big hug. The sun warmed the morning air.
“I’ve missed you so much,” the small boy lamented, tightening his arms around her neck.
“Missed me?” his grandmother smiled. She pulled back and looked him in the eye. “You just saw me yesterday.”
The small boy took his grandmother’s face in his small hands. “But yesterday was so long ago,” he expression serious, “I really missed you.” He kissed her cheek.
A cool breeze brought a song sparrow who landed on the edge of a birdbath. The tiny bird shared its cheery tune. The small boy and his grandmother held each other’s eyes for a moment. The grandmother grinned and winked at the small boy.
“Well, then,” she said, releasing her embrace, “stay here with me. You can help me capture the bad guys who are invading the gardens.” The small boy’s face broke into a smile.
“Oh, yes. I’m good at catching bad guys.” his eyes danced as he began his hunt.
Infant and diaper bag in hand, with the blue blanket draped over her shoulder, the young mother walked to where the small boy worked alongside his grandmother. “Let’s go inside,” she said to the small boy. The small boy stopped, a blade of grass in hand, and looked at his mother. He held his breath, not wanting to go indoors yet.
The sun rose over the calm sea as the boat drifted toward the shore. Peter jumped out with the tie-rope in hand and secured it. Tired and worn from the night-long battle with a storm the rest of them got out of the boat and followed him to the bank. Their legs dragged, sloshing the water.
Their weariness was abruptly interrupted by a piercing shriek. A madman from the nearby tombs ran screaming and flailing his arms towards them. As he rushed at them they slowly backed away. All but One, who took a few more steps and stopped, waiting.
The chains are long and heavy, they connect to thick, cast-iron shackles on each of my limbs like the strings of a marionette. Oblivious that I “do” life imprisoned, my ankles are permanently bruised and I walk with weighted-down shoulders.
I am able to function with moderate dexterity and mobility. The puppet-master keeps me blind, her theater an illusion. Her name is Perfection and she has built a world around me, a well-polished one where performance is exceptional, children are well-behaved, and husband is pleased. She projects an atmosphere of enthusiasm and optimism, a delusion of contained happiness, where sadness and anger are banished to the shadows. Mistakes are never made because mistakes would mar the beautiful, flawless picture.