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Samuel Alesich

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A Memory
By Samuel Alesich
Saturday, September 07, 2002

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In early Autumn, the wind came cold out of the North and the leaves changed color on the trees. Parting from their mother, they fluttered to the ground where they lay or blew about the yard or the side of the hills until the first rains came.
I would stand by the window and watch the rain and the leaves on the ground, brown and still as they absorbed the water. Opening the window just a bit, I could smell them and the rich, black soil.
In the early morning I would awaken with the sheets and pillow case white and cool beneath and over me. And just at that moment life was good and I was happy. I would put on my clothes and go without eating across the yard and the small meadow to the rolling hills where the pecan trees bowed ever so gently to the wind. I walked beneath the trees and I could hear the pecans bouncing off the branches an striking all around but I don't remember having ever been struck by one.
The sky most often is a smokey gray in the fall and it is not unusal to have a ground fog lay upon the land. The sharp cries of geese migrating South for the winter are often heard on the thin air.
Then last fall, I met Sharon. A head shorter than my six-four frame, with brown hair upon her shoulders and twinkling brown eyes. In spite of her beauty there was a sad look about her face. She was the neice of my friend Ernie, who lives a quarter mile South of me and is my closest neighbor.
When I saw her for the first time it was early morning and she was walking among the trees picking pecans off the ground. She invited me to supper, and that night after we had eaten we sat on the front porch and it was cool and the sky was bright with stars. She told me that she was twenty-four and that she played the accordin and wriote poetry and belonged to the Pentocostal faith and had never been allowed to date a man.
I told her that I had not been to church for seven years.
After a while she got out her accordin and played and sang in a rich, beautiful voice. The songs were of a religious nature. I enjoyed listening to her and decided that she was a wonderful girl, and yet, I grew depressed and she noticed and I was at a loss to explain why.
As I walked home, unlike other nights I never noticed the coolness or the stars in a cloudless sky, nor heard the crickett chorus near the creek bottom because I was thinking of Sharon.
Once home I lay on a cool sheet, unable to sleep for thinking of her. I remembered how well mannered she had been, how beautiful and lonely she had looked. I recalled how Ernie had teased her at the supper table. 'Joe,' he'd said. 'Sharon's been by the window all afternoon, looking down the road, waiting for you to come. I told her that you had a car, but that you seldom drove it.'
Ernie had a grin on his face at the time. He kept glancing at Sharon but refused to meet her eyes. Sharon's face was flushed and there was a look of murder in her eyes.
Ernie had waved his hand. 'Anyway.' And he had stopped to laugh loudly. 'Everytime she heard a car on the road she thought it was you. She would turn away from the window and say,"I don't think he is going to come."
He had laughed and Sharon reached and punched him on his arm just as hard as she could and he only laughed harder, and you could see how fond of her he was. Sharon had blushed prettily and wouldn't look at me for several minutes.
Lying there not feeling a bit sleepy, I thought of my wife Mary who had been killed in an automobile accident in the city where we had lived. And of how I had picked up everything and moved to the country where I could be alone and would'nt get closely involved with anyone, especially a woman.
Earlier, when I had bid everyone goodnight, I had been invited to return the following afternoon for home made ice cream. Seeing what I took to be a pleading look in Sharon's eyes, I promised that I would be there. But there in bed I decided it would be best if I did not see Sharon again.
The following morning a cool wind blew in my open window. The sun was a ball of gold on a cloudless sky. I gazed for a long time at the meadow and the pecan grove beyond. And I could picture the pecans falling to the ground but I never went outdoors because I was afraid of meeting Sharon. And so all day I sat and read by the window.
That night I could not sleep for thinking of Sharon. I would picture her standing by the window looking down the road for me. Glancing at the clock and thinking I would show at any minute. Lying there, I felt bad about it all and became very depressed.
Sharon was to leave in two days, and until I felt certain she had gone I stayed in the house. When again I went over to Ernie's house to return a shovel I had borrowed a couple of weeks earlier, we talked for a while about different things. Finally Ernie laid a hand on my shoulder and squeezed it.
"Joe. You know Friday night, when you told us you would come over for ice cream. Well Sharon couldn't sit still. She was so looking forward to seeing you again. She kept running back and forth to the bathroom to brush her hair. When Gail and I were ready for bed, Sharon was sitting in the living room reading a book, the one page over and over, and it was eleven o'clock."
Ernie wasn't looking at me. He was looking out across the rolling green hills. I couldn't detect any anger in his voice, but he sounded sad. (to be finished later)

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