When life is as empty as a barren land.

kansasdustbowl

SHE SAT ON THE FRONT PORCH of her cabin and watched another day pass.

Sun up.

Sun down.

Nothing but heat in between.

And the wind, of course.

Her life was like the landscape that stretched out before her.

Had it always been that way?

She tried to remember.

But her mind was like her life.

Barren.

And empty.

Harold had brought her to the plains when they were young.

He was not yet twenty.

She was just shy of eighteen.

No money.

But love.

Always love.

How many years ago was that now?

She started to count the years.

Then quit.

It no longer mattered.

Maybe it never did.

The past was as dark as the last sundown.

It came like the night.

And when it was gone, it was gone.

Once they had farmed together.

But that was before the drought came and the promises ended.

The sky had grown dark.

The storms didn’t come.

But the sand did.

Great torrents of wind and sand reached down with gnarled fingers and squeezed the water from a dying land.

The winds left it bare.

The sands suffocated every living thing.

It took Harold away from her.

The tuberculosis didn’t kill him, she reasoned.

Disappointment did.

The rains will come again, he always said.

The grass will someday be green.

That’s what he believed.

Maybe he was right.

But he would never see the rains nor feel the grass beneath his bare feet.

All Harold left her when he left was his love.

On some days, it was enough.

This was not one of them.

She thought of his smile.

She ached to hear his laughter one more time.

But all she heard was the wind.

It was calling out but not to her.

She stood when the last rays of daylight fell beyond the plains and walked back into her cabin.

It was dark.

Soon it would be black.

She lit a candle.

And even the shadows on the wall slumped their shoulders in despair.

In the flickering light, she opened an old Bible.

She read the scriptures and paused on the passage that said, “God is love.”

Was he really?

Did he even know she existed?

Did he even care?

If God loved her, she wondered, why had he spared her so long?

She closed the Bible.

She closed her eyes.

And the wind snuffed out the candle.

 

 

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  • Caleb Pirtle

    I stumbled across a photo that haunted me, so I thought I’d write a little story about it.

  • Roger Summers

    You should stumble more often, Caleb.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Thanks, Roger. You never know what you will run across next.

  • Very beautiful, Caleb. I felt a twist in my heart when I read it.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Thanks, Woelf. Some stories just jump out of a photograph and write themselves.

      • So true. I find that with some photos you can’t help but create a narrative for it. Could be the tone, setting or both.

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