from the home quarter

I am from the home quarter. Where a house rests upon an expansive lawn. Where flower beds of petunias are hemmed in field stone. Where a rotary phone hangs at a wallpapered entry. My fingers pull against the hard plastic dial, spinning it in a familiar pattern – careful to first put the receiver to my ear and listen for a voice on the party line. Hoping that I may be granted permission to visit our neighbours, Paul and Jenny. He is a mountain of a man. Tall and broad shouldered. Jenny is small and exudes softness through her face. Her voice. They share likeness in their splendid white hair. She will draw birds for me at her kitchen table while I eat the puffed wheat cake she made after we hung up the phone and I rode my bicycle a mile southwards. The cake is still gooey and warm. The outside is chilled by the freezer where she placed the pan, a quick fix to cool it in time for my arrival. If I happen to see Paul, it will be briefly when he comes inside to say hello to this child. He smells of soil. He is gentle and generous with his smile. I hope that Jenny will take me to the coop to collect eggs, though I fear the birds.

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