I was seventeen with dreams I couldn’t interrupt.

I saw my father in the past, my mother still cooking chicken. I was ready to put my foot into the river of life, into experience, into conversation, into love, my hair shiny and curly, my eyes open to everything. I floated on the wind, I saw mystics in the snow, I saw meaning in my coffee and religion in my toast. I walked around in cowboy boots, a cream crocheted string bag hanging off my shoulder.

I loved looking out windows, watching mothers push strollers, students dropping books, fathers building concrete walkways.

I made avocado chocolate cake and ate it for dinner.

I read Crime and Punishment and Herman Hess’s Demien in fields of dandelions.

I was unstrung with beauty, trees waving and sighing, a red wagon being pulled down a dirt road, a sunbeam on the floor, stars, animals, flowers, laughter, rivers, birds, songs, autumn, {just the word made me swoon} rain, bell bottom jeans with rhinestones sewn on the pockets.

I found a room in an 1860’s house with no heat, but kept a bit of Bushmill’s on the windowsill and with one sip I would fall asleep. The next morning the window was covered in frosted art, truly, masterpieces that come and went.

I worked for a woman, a gypsy really, who ran a vintage clothing store in an old brick warehouse. She didn’t want to hire me. She said she could only pay for herself. I looked around at piles of clothes on the floor, dirty, torn and wrinkled. I said, “I will double your wage after I wash, iron, mend and coordinate the color schemes. You can travel to thrift stores, Salvation Armies, garage sales, just send me the clothes and I’ll do the rest.” She packed her bag that afternoon.

I love and wear vintage clothes to this day.

I had boys walking around me as if I were bacon. I broke dates, sometimes I never showed up if I got a better offer, and sometimes I would leave in the middle of a date.

Once I laid on the floor of a boarding house in New Hampshire while Winston yelled my name for over an hour. He wanted to take me up in a two-seater plane but I didn’t want to go. He was a bad kisser.

I always felt like I was my own person and had a right to move along if I felt like it. I see, all this time later that I would still have acted the same way but would have been a little kinder.

One winter day, I drove my old rattletrap of a car out of town to drive thru the countryside. The snow glittered like stars on a clear night. I was listening to a song on the radio, “All I need is the air that I breathe and to love you.”

I was in a state of mind, almost out of my body. I was so high on the beauty of the day, I had rolled down my window and stuck my head out to feel the cold air, when all of a sudden the car fell off the road. The poor thing thought I was driving. I couldn’t get out on the driver’s side so I pushed for sometime to get my door open as I had to push up without it smashing me to bits. It was a struggle but I did it.

There I was, on a road in the country, not knowing where I was or not seeing a house or person. I couldn’t get back in the car and the cowboy boots I had on weren’t going to get me far, I believed I would freeze to death as tears filled my unlucky eyes.

I may have stood there five minutes when I heard a motor. I kept watching the road, when I saw a hooded head rise up from the dip in the road. He was driving a tractor and was rolling my way. He stopped and said, “I see you’re having a bit of trouble.”

I nodded my head, “Yes, I fell off the road.”

“I see that. Get back, I have chains and I’ll have you back on the road pronto.” And he did.

I didn’t have money nor would he take my red apple. I don’t know where he came from but I watched till he was out of sight.

I continued my outing, however, I found myself steering towards home.

I realized as I pondered over my savior, drinking a cup of tea in bed, that I never actually saw his face, or at least couldn’t remember it.

I was seventeen and I will never forget the silence before I heard the tractor.

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