If I close my eyes I can hear her stories and I can feel the softness of the blanket contrasting the scratchiness of the grass surrounding it. The blanket that was situated in the middle of her backyard, the perfect balance of sun and shade.
It was peaceful back there, you would never know that there were cars zooming by in the front of the house on the street.
I chuckle as I remember how she would know exactly when I set a toe off of that blanket and she would holler and call me Heather Ann, she always did. No matter how sneaky I thought I was she would continue to watch her stories and with those eyes in the back of her head she would always remind me that if I wanted to remain outside I had to stay on the blanket.
I longed to run around the backyard. To touch all of Mrs. Love’s Cati that sat on the other side of the fence. To breathe in the smell that was a mixture of freshly cut grass, various blooming things from The Love’s house and the scent of Charlie that seemed to always flow out of her window.
Sometimes when Mrs. Love was outside and she would holler over and say, “Mildred, Heather Ann is going to help me water the plants,” and I would be released from my blanket confinement.
Not that blanket confinement was bad, it wasn’t. It was full of snacks and library books. Of laying on your back watching the clouds float by, swearing that that particular cloud looks just like Abe Lincoln. It was peace and contentment.
Yesterday I drove past that house on the very busy road and I longed to pull in the driveway and escape to that backyard on the blanket. A feeling of anxiety washed over me as I realized that there is so much on my plate, the list of things that I need to do is never ending.
I need to feel the softness of the blanket on my skin. To run my fingers along the grass. To escape to that place of peace and contentment.
To just be.