By: Diane DeVillers
Copyright 2011 by Diane De Villers
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Table of Contents
The letter arrives like it does every year, written on the same handmade paper with matching envelope. The letter is written in eloquent calligraphy with only a few paragraphs. Like every year there is a gold charm to add to her charm bracelet. This year it’s a tiny woman with a bird in her hand.
Inside the letter there is also a skeleton key wrapped in fine tissue paper. She puts the letter and the key back into the envelope and begins to pack for a trip to Catalina Island, an island off southern California.
It is summer and Eve is well tanned from working out in her raised bed gardens, growing organic vegetables and flowers. Around the yard hang dozens of bird feeders filled with a variety of birdseed and several glass hummingbird feeders filled with sugar water. She wears her hair up in a pony-tail and whenever it’s humid her hair has a fine fuzz halo that looks like an aura around her head.
For the next few weeks Eve prepares for her trip, packing her tiny suitcase and knapsack with warm weather clothes, her mandolin and the black bag from out of the closet. Because of new flying rules she makes sure she follows the rules about how much liquid she can carry; she puts her shampoo into tiny plastic bottles for the trip.
Eve is retired and is now writing a novel and has grown to be a good potter over the years since retirement. She makes her bright pastel-colored bowls and plates in her converted pottery room in her garage. The kiln sits in the corner where the finished product is baked until it is hard. She likes the part when she forms the clay with her own two hands. Her favorite color is bright yellow and it shows by all the yellow bowls and plates that line her kitchen cupboards.
She has lived the past 22 years in the same house built on Moon Mountain; in the Pacific Northwest town of Eugene. She came west from the Midwest when she was a forester in the eighties. Eugene is a multi-cultural, university town filled with creative people, artists, musicians, writers, and other green energy, global conscious people; many of whom are from somewhere else. The university keeps the town from being too boring, since it is a rather small town. Every night of the week there are many places to hear any type of music you prefer. The many bars and eateries in Eugene offer open mikes where all you have to do is show up and play music with other people, who have no band, or people who lost their players, or just lone people who never quite made it to having a band. She used to play with the now debunked band called Nervous Rex, a retro, all original, playing band that many have said remind them of the Jefferson Starship. The band had split up when one by one the players had either moved away or because of let’s say personality clashes. A few had moved back to the Midwest or East coast from which they came.
Eve stood outside in the front pathway and soaked in the sun while she admired her lovely flowers that thrived on the Northwest rainforest climate created by the Pacific Ocean. Her prides were her hardy palm tree, calla lilies, dracaenas, rhododendrons, azaleas, and huge sword and fluffy ruffle ferns. The winters were mild in the Willamette valley, where it only rarely got below freezing but when it did freeze she had to cover the fragile plants outside with bed sheets.
Eve rented out the back acres of her property to her former band buddy who had built his yurt behind a row of Arborvitaes. He was a gardener who ran his own landscape business. She often called him “the man in the back yard”. Vinnie is a tall man with blonde hair with a lean frame. He had the large, calloused hands of a gardener; stained green and black from the soil and the weeding that he was constantly doing. Vinnie worked hard and he came back every evening tired as a dog, with knocks and scratches all over his arms and legs. Vinnie was born in Arkansas, but raised mostly in Oregon; he had the personality of someone from the Bronx and talked rather loud at times (hearing loss from running mowers and edging machines all day). He talked with a somewhat strange mix of a southern and a New York accent. She always wondered where he had picked up the New York accent since he never lived on the east coast. She meant to ask him that one day but so far it hadn’t come up. There were a lot of things she didn’t know about Vinnie, although he had lived in her backyard for ten years.
She had met Vinnie while playing at a jam down at Good Times a local pub. He played a mean Dobro guitar and played out more than she did. Vinnie held a very special place in her world. She knew if she wanted to she could possibly take their relationship down that other path; but she liked just being friends; no complications, no disappointments. They kept it simple, they had their own space. Her motto was “Don’t fix it if it ain't broke”. They were both fiercely independent and at times had heated, intense discussions about politics or how the world was misbehaving at the moment.
Eve stands out on her front porch taking in all the beauty, her potted plants in huge terracotta pots are thriving, her rhododendron just newly bloomed in pink flowers, the heathers and lavenders attracting bees, the snowbell tree with it’s tiny white flowers buzzing with honey bees.
She had put the new charm from the letter, on her charm bracelet along with all the others; small figures of birds, flowers, women, girls, dolphins and fish, an otter lying on its back eating an anemone.
She picks up the hose and starts to water the fuchsias in front of her living room window; placed specifically there to draw the hummingbirds that frequent her yard lured there by the specific plants and flowers she had planted. The pink and purple fuchsia attracted the most hummingbirds to their flowers. On cue a Rufus hummingbird flies close to her head and hovers on the fuchsia flower. His tiny wings sounding like a spinning wheel of a tiny motor, his red rust Rufus color gives him his name. He is very protective of his property range and chases off any other intruder; especially the bigger Anna hummingbirds that stay around all year round. The Rufus only appear in spring and then they head north; then again in fall on their way south to Mexico where they spend their winters. She could relate to migration since she summers in Catalina Island each year and then returns home to Eugene in fall. It’s part of the arrangement.
Eve turns the sprayer to mist and tries to get the hummingbird to fly through the tiny water mist; instead he sits down on the feeder rail and feeds the sweet nectar that she cooks up herself. The bird stops feeding and just sits on the feeder railing spitting out a stream of nectar and then sucking it back up. She moves the mist over to the feeder and the bird allows himself to be sprinkled. She turns her hose on the calla lily and oxalis bed to mist them. The spikes of green leaves of the calla promised a late summer bloom.
She is madly in love with the calla’s flower, when it appears in late summer; its tubular white flower with a deep pocket that hides a yellow flower head. She will have to wait until she gets back from the Island to see its final bloom.
Eve sees the neighbor girl coming back from the school bus. Jasmine has downs syndrome and goes to public school. She’s the cutest little girl and has a spirit that is infectious. Jasmine waves and struts on toward her house. She is wearing all pink today with a matching backpack and pink hair ties with the pink balls. Jasmine is a diva and she doesn’t even know it yet. Sometimes on Saturdays Jasmine comes over for a visit and watches Eve spin her clay into bowls and plates, she is a quiet but observant presence, with an unassuming and pure spirit.
Eve sees Vinnie out of the corner of her eye. She ignores him and pretends she’s busy, doing her watering. He stands against the post by the garage watching her; his arms crossed; relaxed. He had a strange look on his face.
“Hey, what ya doing?” He asks when he obviously knows what she is doing.
“Oh, I didn’t see you standing there.” She states and turns the mist onto him. He runs out of range and just stands there looking at her.
“You really love watering your gardens by hand, don’t you?” He asks while scratching his arms that were covered in tiny scrapes.
“Yes, this one of the things I always miss when I go south. I really appreciate that you take care of the place when I’m gone.” She says with all honesty.
“You know I could put in a watering system with tiny drip tubes that go to each plant and bed. That way you could turn the on and water and water the whole bunch in less time.” He offers knowing what her answer will be. They have talked about this many times before. He saw the watering as a chore since that’s what he did all day.
“No, I enjoy watering them. It’s a time to bond with them, to touch them, move them around, and talk to them. It’s what makes them grow so well.”
“Suit yourself,” he says. Vinnie moves away and goes into the back yard; his domain.
She hears him start up his lawn mower.
He can have his watering system in the back yard if he wants, but in the front yard I’m the boss. Eve thinks to herself and turns off the hose.
Vinnie had his own way of thinking and he didn’t care what others thought. But you always knew where he stood on any subject. No grey area. Vinnie was one of a kind. She trusted him and that took a lot for her. She was naturally suspicious of most people, a requirement for a woman making her own way in society. She had a sneaky impression that Vinnie liked to rile her up as he had the annoying habit of pushing her buttons. She knew how to handle him; she had to always remind herself not to overreact to his teasing. When she didn’t react she could see that it disappointed him. The lawnmower stops and then Vinnie appears with a wheelbarrow full of rich compost from the compost bin in the back yard. He dumped it on a small tarp so she could decide where she wanted to place it in the beds. He knew the drill. She’d ask for help if she needed it. Bla-bla-bla. Same old shit, just a different day.
Vinnie finished mowing the lawn in back and then went to his yurt for a nap. Lying there on his bed looking up at the rafters of the tee pee style construction he started thinking about the fact that Eve was one of the strongest willed women he’s ever met. Well except his mother who was a pistol.
Eve had opinions about everything. He learned not to poke the bear. And he knew to steered clear of certain subjects because he learned the hard way more than once. She was a fierce feminist and knew her current events. She watched a wide variety of new shows while she cooked or cleaned the house. He didn’t care much about current events he kept his life simple and he liked it that way. But then there was her passion about life; the way she lived her life with strong principles and values. And her cooking, drifting out from her kitchen window was to die for.
They ate their meals together just like an old married couple. He really enjoyed watching her in the kitchen as she moved around with pots and pans. She really liked cooking, something he had yet to master. Vinnie liked having his own space out on the “back forty” where his put up his big canvas yurt that was as big as a studio apartment. He could put his things where he wanted them and not have “no stinking woman” telling him what to do as he often would tell her. He could come and go as he pleased; he could play his guitar or listen to music when he wanted to. He could have the boys over to watch sports on his little television that had cable. And he even had an occasional lady friend visit him. He was happily single and he liked it that way. Then there was Eve, but she was different; he looked at her as more of a big sister, since she was twelve years older than he.
In the center of his yurt he had a tiny, cast iron wood stove for heat that was vented out the top of the yurt. His canvas yurt was his palace and he could break down and set up the yurt and move whenever he felt like it.
He woke up some time later to someone knocking on the canvas doorway to his yurt. “Hey Prince Charming, it’s time for dinner.” Eve told him. “I rang the dinner bell but you must have fallen asleep.” She steps into the yurt noticing the disarray.
“Oh no, not you again,” he teased and got up and started picking up his dirty laundry that lie on the floor just where he left it. “OK I’ll be there in a minute, what else do I have to do?”
Inside the house she dished out four enchiladas onto his yellow place. He sat down and started eating. He was the fastest eater she had ever seen. He merely shoveled his food into his mouth seemingly without taking a breath. He must have seen her watching him. He stopped eating to say, “When I first started dating I always made sure that the date did not include getting something to eat. I didn’t want to scare them away on the first date, with all my grunting antics.”
“Oh, lucky me,” she said trying not to laugh. “Make sure you come up for air every now and then. It reminds me of a shark during a feeding frenzy. Actually it sounds more like when we used to slop the hogs back on the farm.” He grabbed the salt and pepper shakers and poured a ton of salt and pepper on his food.
“Did you know that the Willamette Valley grows 98 percent of the world’s rye grass seed?” he asks her, out of nowhere.
“No, I didn’t know that. “ She said wondering what made him think of that. “Oh by the way I’m getting ready to leave for Catalina Island next week.”
“Ah come on. Can’t I come with you to the Island? Please, just this once? Pleazzze? I want to say “The plane the plane.” He says, trying to sound like the little guy on the TV show Fantasy Island. “I know the answer; it’s always no. That’s right no kids allowed.” He says, as he puts a big dollop of sour cream onto his food. “Well I don’t want to go to some dumb boring island anyway. I’m way too busy with my business anyway.”
“So I’m not the only one you give the business to? She pitched back. “I’ll be leaving the night after the country fair. Eve picks up her plate and gets up. On cue Vinnie slips his empty plate onto hers, allowing her to bring his plate into the kitchen. Always the charmer.
That night she dreamed about lying in water, it was a dream that she had dreamed on and off, all of her life. She was floating in the water and she could feel the warm sun on her face. She felt suspended and fluid, the water was one with her being. She felt at peace. She was floating on her back with her ears under the water. The sound of the water was all she heard. The dream always started out that way. She lifted her head up out of the water and saw that she was in a lake. A lake that seemed so familiar with its shore dotted with tiny cottages and summer homes. The swimming area was roped off and there was a small floating raft just outside the roped off area.
On the shoreline was a brown dog who was barking for her to come to shore. She whistled and the dog leapt into the water and was swimming toward her. She saw a figure of someone else on the shore bending over a small campfire. It was at that point that she woke up.
She turned on the TV and found out that Farrah Fawcet had died. It was June 25th.
Eve had watched her TV special last week that followed her long battle with cancer. It was rather insightful and sad. Well at least she was at peace now, with no pain no grief just the oneness with the universe again, a return to where we all came from, that world just outside our perception.
Eve was not afraid of dying, ever since she had worked in nursing homes and had been at the bedside of many elderly when they passed away. A feeling of complete peace was witnessed on their faces; faces that were always looking upward. Eve knew that after you lived a good life that death was just part of living; a price we all had to pay. She thought about Adam and Eve and that after they left the Garden of Eden they had to feel pain and to die. She wondered why God had to punish them; they were just being human. We all make mistakes. It bet they had it all wrong, Adam had probably climbed the tree and got the apple and then gave it to Eve for that first bite; just to see if it had any worms in it before he took a bite. “Eve was framed” was the name of the novel that she was writing.
Eve got dressed in a loose summer dress as she knew it was going to be hot today. She planned on making a yellow bowl with a sky blue bottom. She was making the gift to bring with her to California. Starting her pottery projects out early in the day was necessary so that the kiln did not heat up the garage too much.
Hours later when she came out of the pottery room she turned on the TV. The news reporter said that Michael Jackson just died. He and Farrah would be in the line waiting to get into heaven. She wondered if there would be any paparazzi there. After long lives of being chased by reporters they must enter heaven relived that they are among people who are all the same, just souls waiting in line.
Eve remembered how as Princess Diana lay dying in the hospital the last words she spoke were “leave me alone.” God answers all prayers.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish