unfamiliar terrain

written on May 14, 2020 /

By June, Eve had forgotten what it felt like to be alone. In her time at home she was sharing space and time with seven roommates, all of which had their own routines, habits, and pets. On good days, the company was enjoyable. There was always someone to talk to, share dinner with, admire. As time stretched along, there were less good days. The house, though spacious, felt crowded and stuffy. There were always people around which made it hard for Eve to write, read, think of anything worth concentrating on. She missed these things and she began to realize that they paired best with solitude. 

Eve arrived at her grandparent’s house at half past one. Her tote, stained with coffee spots and ink from uncapped pens, hung over her shoulder. She was welcomed in with the scent of peach tea, freshly brewed and poured over ice. Rummikub tiles laid across the dining room table ready to be played at any moment. Her grandmother showed her a new craft project she was working on. The two of them carried their iced teas outside to sit on the patio. The condensed water froze Eve’s fingers and she wiped her hand off on her dress. They talked about art projects and movies they had been watching. Eve’s grandmother asked her about her plans for summer vacation, and Eve told her that, after all of her plans were cancelled, she didn’t know how she was going to fill the three months before school started up again. 

As the temperature rose, her grandmother went inside. Eve borrowed a towel and laid it out across the lawn. She laid on her stomach and placed her hands underneath her cheek. Her eyes, turned toward the back fence, studied the birdbaths and jasmine bushes along the eroded white wood. She speculated that some of the garden ornaments were older than she was, which she later found out was true. She then wondered about their permanence. It was possible that the ceramic frog would last lifetimes longer than her. A century from now, some archaeologist would find it immortalized in sediment. It might be missing a limb or two. They would study and treasure it and wonder where it had been and what type of person had seen it. While the historians obsessed over the ceramic frog that previously sat under the birdbath in her grandmother’s yard, Eve would be resting six feet below the ground completely unaware of and unbothered by the actions of the archaeologists. 

She watched a ladybug crawl on a blade of grass near her face. Her shoulders stung from the heat of the sun and she turned over to protect them. Holding her phone up to block the sun, she checked her email. A message from the University of Washington started: “Dear Evelyn Colburn, we regret to inform you-” Eve locked her phone and placed it beside her. The ladybug was still sitting on the grass, so she picked it up on her finger. She watched it scramble around on her hand, assessing the unfamiliar terrain. It flew away before Eve was able to watch it any longer. 

A breeze swept across the yard, sending goosebumps over her bare legs. Sunlight burned her skin, and Eve was reminded of the eternity of the sun. While she would fade into tomorrow, the next life, the next peach tea afternoon, she could not escape the constant nature of the sun, the ceramic frog, and the Rummikub tiles scattered across the sixty year-old dining table.

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