Web Site: Rope and Wire
Maggie was lost in her daydreams...or was she.
By Christopher Scott
The house was small and unimposing. Livable, but it showed its need for some long overdue repairs. It sat on a bone dry patch of worthless dirt in the middle of nowhere. The only spot of green was a rather dismal looking vegetable garden at the back of the house. The combination of a high desert altitude and hot, dry summer air made it difficult for most living things to thrive, and that included Maggie, the lady of the house.
Maggie had spent most of her morning on the back step laboring over an old washbasin and a well-used scrub board. Once again the clothes were washed and hung out on the line. A hot afternoon breeze was beginning to pick up, and with it came the dust. The freshly washed clothes were destined to be dirty again before they were even dry.
It had been another long, hard day. Just like yesterday and the same as tomorrow. To Maggie, every day was the same. Nothing ever changed with her wearisome and boring life. From morning till night she cooked breakfast, cooked dinner and cooked supper. She washed the dirty dishes and she washed the dirty clothes, and, without as much as a coarse word or an evil thought, she put up with it all, including her worthless husbands daily verbal abuse.
As the yet damp clothes flapped in the afternoon breeze, Maggie’s mind began to wander. The back step was her favorite abode for loosing herself in one of her frequent daydreams. As she gazed off toward the distant hills, she imagined what it would be like to escape this God forsaken hellhole and travel to the other side. It was then that she happened to notice some movement on one of the distant ridges. She curiously kept her eye on it and closely watched it as, whatever it was, slowly traversed it’s way to the bottom of the hill leaving a slight wisp of dust in its trail. It soon became apparent to Maggie that what she had been watching was a horse, a lone rider, and they were heading in her direction. It took some time, but the rider eventually made his way right up to the gate in front of the step where Maggie sat.
He was a ruggedly handsome young cowboy with a square jaw and deep blue eyes. He sat tall in the saddle and rode a fine looking white stallion. His clothes were clean and pressed and his silver spurs glistened in the noonday sun. His bright smile was as refreshing as the cool breeze Maggie felt wisp across her face as the young rider tipped his hat.
“Good afternoon ma’am, May I trouble you for a tall drink of cool water? I’ve been ridin’ a mighty long way and the sun has been awfully warm this afternoon. My name is Andy by the way, and you must be Maggie?”
The question did not deter Maggie’s wistful gaze upon the handsome young rider, and with a bit of surprise in her voice she replied. “Why yes, I am. How did you know? Have we met somewhere before?”
A quick response from the handsome young cowboy settled the question.
“No ma’am, this is our first time. But the day is still young and we have plenty of time to get to know each other. So tell me, what’s a pretty young thing like you doing in the middle of a dust bowl like this. Why heck, a pretty girl like you should be sitting in a fancy parlor wearing a fine new dress and drinking sassafras tea with her lady friends. Not out here in the middle of nowhere slaving over a wash tub full of dirty, worn out laundry.”
Maggie couldn’t help but blush. “I’m afraid I don’t even own an old dress, let alone a new one", she replied. “And unfortunately", she continued, “I’m the only woman around these parts. I, I’d like to have fancy dresses, but I have no money for such things, and as for friends, our nearest neighbor is ten miles from here. He’s a widower and we hardly ever see him.”
The handsome young cowboy shifted in his saddle, he tilted his hat back some with the tip of his finger and leaned forward a bit, resting his forearm on his saddlehorn. “Now that’s a downright shame,” He replied. “A pretty young woman like you shouldn’t be wasting away out here all alone. You should be someplace where you can have lots of girlfriends, and you should have them over for tea and biscuits, don’t you think? Why, if you were my wife, I’d make sure you had the finest dress in town and lots of friends to show it off to.”
Maggie blushed once again. “Why Andy, don’t be teasing me like that, we hardly know each other.”
“Yes, that’s true ," he replied. “But as I said earlier, the day is young. And I must say, that color looks good on you Maggie. A little blush of the cheeks does wonders for your complexion.”
“Andy? Who’s Andy? Who in the devil are you talking to woman?”
Maggie was startled by the sudden appearance of her husband. She jumped up and spilled the dirty wash water in the process.
“I’m not talking to anyone. There’s nobody around here to talk to, there never is."
Maggie’s husband stood in the doorway behind her and except for Maggie, there was no one in sight.
“I think the sun is getting to you woman. Why haven’t you started my supper yet? I swear, you’re getting more and more worthless every day.”
“I’m sorry I haven’t started your supper yet Chester. I’ll be getting to it right away," trembled Maggie as she brushed past Chester and headed to the kitchen.
Chester lingered on the back step a moment longer as he took one more look about just to satisfy himself that there really wasn’t anybody around.
“Damn woman is going crazy,” he muttered to himself as he headed into the house behind Maggie.
The following week Maggie was once again outside slaving over the laundry tub. She had just hung the last pair of wet overalls on the line and was thinking about her recent encounter with the handsome young Andy when a voice from behind startled her. She whirled about to see Andy, the handsome young cowboy, sitting high upon his white horse. He tipped his hat back with the tip of his finger.
“I said good afternoon Maggie, how are you today? As beautiful as ever I see.”
“Why Andy," blushed Maggie. “I didn’t hear you ride up?”
“My horse is mighty quiet Maggie. He moves like the wind.”
“I believe he does," replied Maggie. “You know, I never did get you that drink of water the last time you were here, would you like it now?”
“No Maggie, I don’t think I would, I just stopped by to ask you a question.”
Maggie was somewhat disappointed as she was hoping Andy would stay and talk for a spell. “And what might your question be Andy?” Maggie asked.
The handsome young cowboy leaned forward in his saddle. “Maggie, I’ve been thinking. How would you like to hop up on this horse with me and ride away from this place? Leave this lonely ol’ dust bowl and see what’s on the other side of those far hills you constantly stare at. We can leave right now if you like?”
Maggie blushed. “Why Andy, I couldn’t do that any more than I could…”
Just then, Maggie’s husband, Chester, stepped through the back door.
“Maggie, who in the hell are you talking to and where’s my supper?”
Chester stopped in his tracks and looked around. He was a bit puzzled; he knew he had just heard Maggie talking. The wash water was still in the tub and his overalls were hanging on the line, but Maggie was nowhere in sight.
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