Friday, September 3, 2010

Porch of an Old Farmhouse

The creak of the porch swing caused the girl to look up from where she sat in the adjacent field. She'd been picking soybeans for the afternoon after showing up at the front step of that porch earlier that morning. The woman who'd answered had dust in her hair and sadness in her eyes. Lana was just glad she didn't ask any questions. The woman retreated back into the depths of the house after agreeing to pay the girl in meals for some work. She didn't need the help, the field was obviously left abandoned, but Lana didn't feel the need to ask questions either. The peeling white paint of the swing fluttered to the ground as the wind gently rocked it. The familiar creaking of the old chain brought the woman to the window and Lana saw her peer down toward the porch from above. The woman brushed at her cheek and turned back to face the cluttered room, filled with wooden toys and half filled boxes, all covered in a film of dust.

The soybeans were cooked with dinner that evening and girl and woman sat at the large table in silence. The girl slowly ate, her only belongings in a small bag on the floor beside her chair. It was quiet in the house and the girl stole glances at the shadows which were all that were left of a happier, bustling life. The woman appeared to live alone, although there was evidence otherwise. A large canvas jacket still hung from the hook by the back screen door and she noticed picture of a man at work out in the cow pasture down the east slope from the house. He sat on a tractor and held a young boy in his lap who's head barely showed above the wheel. The story told itself most devastatingly so, through the pain in the gray eyes of the woman left behind.

When the woman got up from the table, Lana thought about the pain she'd felt in her life and felt quietly connected to this woman with the dust still in her hair and a defeated gaze. Setting a full glass of milk next to Lana's plate, the woman's foot grazed the bag on the floor, tipping it. On to the linoleum rolled a faded wooden red truck that matched the set in the room upstairs, now packed away in cardboard. The woman sucked in her breath and held it, aghast at what she saw.

"That's my son's. What are you doing with his toy in your belongings?" her voice was cold.

The girl sat frozen, cringing, "No I wasn't going to take it, ma'am. Please. I found it out in the field."

The woman looked like she could hit Lana. The girl didn't know how to explain. She'd wanted to keep it. She had been fighting with herself all afternoon about what she was going to do with the faded thing that had caused her heart to stop when she saw it.

"I'm sorry, I only wanted to hold it for awhile."

"What did you think you were going to do with it!? It's mine, it obviously belongs in this house, it my arms..he belongs in my arms" her voice cracked and she simply fell apart, staggering back to her side of the table and slumping into her seat, tears falling.
Lana picked up the truck, staring at it before tearing her eyes away to look at the woman with the grey eyes.

"My father built one for my brother," she whispered, "It just looked so much like this one, laying there in the dirt. I knew that you needed it because it was his, but I almost was able to believe that it belonged to another young boy and that I'd be able to once again hold him in my arms."

Later, after the sun had fallen below the green hills, Lana came out of the guest room for a glass of water. She heard the creaking again and followed the sound out onto the porch. The fading light only just illuminated the woman where she sat. She held a large cardboard box in her lap, it's flaps open revealing trucks and cars and carved wooden animals. Her grey eyes met Lana's.

"You can keep it"


This was just a little exercise, I found a site that helped you create a setting for a creative writing piece. You choose numbers and each number gives you one of the options for a.Character, b.Setting, c.Time, d.Challenge/Situation. So with my random choice of four numbers I came out with:
character: homeless child
setting: porch of an old farmhouse
time: after a fight
challenge: someone accused another of something wrong

I used a bit of artistic license, because I didn't follow exactly my topics but they at least got me rolling on an idea and I had a good time with it! Hope you enjoyed it.


  1. What a cool idea! Nicely done. I'll have to look at that site. I belonged briefly to a writing club where we picked words at random out of a dictionary at the end of each meeting. We had to write a sentence containing all the words. I did one once where I wrote the sentence and then also wrote a story.
    yr lovin' auntie


I'd love to hear what you think, go on ahead and slap some words down!