The Summer frogs were making an inn for themselves the cypress trees singing as loud as they could to the dying day. He could feel the humid on his neck, like big hands wrapped thick ‘round, drawin’ sweat up from his pours.
It was comforting, like being wrapped up in Grandma’s quilt by Grandpa when the storms were rollin and rumbling. He’d be cryin’ and carryin’ on, in the corner of the living room. The noise on his ears was like nails driving into his hand, and there was a fear, of somethin’…somethin’ was coming with those storms. What, he didn’t know…just somethin’ dark like the shadows rusted tin roofs cast in the midday sun-Black soulless puddles that a little boy could fall into.
Grandpa would walk over and wrap him up in Granmas quilt and carry him out to the front porch where the rain pelted down, and sit in the rockin’ chair and rock as as the storm rumbled over them. Those hands, big and worn with work, nails yellowed by Malbrows and mud. But they were gentle hands . Hands that made him feel safe when is body shook irrationally with fear.
Granpa felt that fear was to be faced, and while Granma would cluck like a chicken about not taking “that sweet boy” out into the storm, Grandpa would silently sweep him up out of the corner, where he curled up and seized with fear, and carry him into the tin roof porch.
He remembered feeling the moisture on his eyelashes, the bony fingers of the wind on his cheeks, and his body trembled so from the noise. But Granpa’s strong arms, held him, and rocked him in that hundred year old oak chair, and hummed low and steady. “Shhh…shhhh…there, there…little man…shhhhh…shhhh…cry all you can, no shame there…but we must face storms even through tears….Pawpaw’s here, we’ll face this storm together….shhhh.
He remembered the color of Grandma’s quilt, it was rouge like Miss Octavia’s lips. Miss Octavia lived on Bienville street near the Assembly of God and wore watered down pink sundresses, and walked like angels. Grandma said she needed to take her angel walkin’ way right back into church cause she smelled of sin. Granma’s gift was sin smellin’, she said God gave it to her the day she fell from the Magnolia tree when she was five. She almost died, or so Aunt Esmeralda, told him while she was cleaning catfish for the fish fry that June morning in ‘42.
The quilt was stitched together with gold thread brought all the way from the city by Grandpa for her 59th birthday. Grandpa said royalty stiches their clothes with gold, and Grandma was his queen, so it was about time she had the proper thread to stitch with.
He would stare at the stiches, calmed by their perfect lines, hugged deep into safety of Grandpa’s chest as the wind howled in the eves.
These were things he thought of among the cypress trees and the Spanish moss this day…as he walked along the lakeside. This day which might be his last day alive, this day that he had decided to die.