The sun was edging on the horizon, peaking through silver slits of clouds. She sat there watching, waiting for the end of days. On this day she had wished for a fresh new start. Oblivious to what was really happening to her. She couldn’t shake that feeling of being watched. She didn’t know who or why, but she felt it.*
She looked over her shoulder, but saw nobody there. The feeling stayed with her as she got up and start to walk back toward the house. A rustling in the bushes caught her attention as she nervously peered in, squinting to see who or what was there. A squirrel ran out and toward the large oak tree. She jumped, but knew that wasn’t what made the noise. She looked in again and said in a low-pitched squeak, ‘Hello?’**
There was no reply. She didn’t really think she’d get one, but it was worth a shot. The only way to really know what was back there, was to suck it up and take a second, better look. This time, she carefully separated the branches to be able to see better in the back of the bushes. At first it just looked like a large rock, but then she saw the two thin arms, bent and reaching up to cover his head. It was a young boy, curled up in the fetal position, and trying to make himself disappear.***
During such strange times, she expected to wake up and realize she was just dreaming. At this moment, however, she realized this was all too real. Her head started to get tight, her heart hammered threateningly. She couldn’t run away from this scene, not with a child lying helplessly at her feet. She carefully knelt down, took the wool scarf from around her neck and quickly wrapped up the child, sheltering him from the cold, bitter wind that had suddenly whipped through the trees. She cradled and comforted the boy in her arms and stood up. Just inches behind where she stood, a thick branch snapped. ****
She gasped and instinctively clutched at the child more tightly. She froze, waiting. She could feel the boy trembling in her arms, his eyes still shut tightly against whatever was happening to him. Finally, when no other sounds disturbed the uneasy peace of the morning , she stepped quickly onto her porch and opened her front door awkwardly. She had been raised in a group home and had helped to care for many, many younger children over the years. Thinking back to what had been comforting, she settled herself in the old wooden rocker she'd found set out at someone's curb and began to rock slowly and steadily, humming almost under her breath to the small boy huddled miserably against her.*****
Humming turned to singing. Because she held him tightly and he seemed like a baby in her arms, instinctively she sang "Rock a bye baby, on the tree top, when the wind blows, the..." She stopped suddenly - common sense prevailed. The poor boy was too old for that song - and he didn't need to hear that "the cradle will fall." Neither did she. She started in again, slowly singing "you are my sunshine, my only sunshine..", falling into a reverie, taken away to arms that once held her. The boy slowly settled down. Even the wind was calmed by the singing of her song.%
So that is our story thus far...
* Mrs. Hairy Woman