Here is the latest story written by Lisa Gray: Hudson arrives early for dinner getting the better seat before Julia can sneak in behind him. He likes to see whose coming up ahead and sniffs the air for scent. These plans have been in the works for months; even the time of day has been purposefully chosen as the evening light turns her hair a lighter shade of auburn, which brings out her eyes. The venue of choice promises a fresh vegetarian spread of sweet clover, young stalks of asparagus accented with sliced tomato, arugula and mint-all highlighted with the odd birdsong from neighbouring trees.
Moving through the crowd of life comes his Julia-just as beautiful as that first day when he’d spotted her in the garden sitting with her parents. Funny how time’s moved forward to this day, not two years since their first romp as children, at play. With as much flourish as any expectant mother, Julia picks her way between Hudson and the other diners and places herself in front of him so he can’t look away.
You’d think HE was pregnant, Julia thinks as she takes her husband-full in. Keeping her expression soft and playful, yet silently taking her husband’s inventory-ticking off the many boxes that set him apart, from what her parents expected. Just to her right is a small cache of fresh water to which Julia finds quite refreshing. It’s been a long day on her feet which are now throbbing to the beat of Hudson’s words which are lost in the music of the night. Among the many things needed doing before the month is up, was the need for better housing but due to outside conditions, that will now have to wait. Hudson is waving his little hands in the air and I wonder if he’s wiping his face or trying to get my attention.
While commenting on those lucky little walnut pieces sprinkled about, my attention is slowly drawn back to the table between us-the father of my children-my husband and that twinkle in his eye. It’s the twinkle worn by my Dad and there’s no explanation, nor rhyme, nor reasoning that can ever make me doubt his intention. In the moment we met and the way the sun lit his face; in the way he let me catch him while rounding corners of the yards; in his joie des vivre attitude about “love” making its own way-taking its own time. Through all of my mother’s objections I fell; head over teakettle-hard for that kid, for that’s all that we were.
Good evening to us, who continue the nibbling of our walnuts only to flick our ears to the creak and shuffle of Kizmet, as she enters the diner. Both of us alert but seemingly oblivious, we continue to watch the sun take one curtain call after another. The blue colors of dusk is to our benefit alone, for our eyes and ears far exceed any mortal human and as we watch her move across the driveway, picking up speed-we settle in to finish our meal. On the course of the wind we smell another presence and know too well the sound of the two women as they seem to wander in tighter and smaller circles until we are looking into each other’s souls almost!, wondering if this really was the best place around to eat out on a budget?
Ever the optimist, Hudson circles around, guarding my flank while ushering me ahead of the other diners until we can cross the expanse that is our yard. The burrow runs along the fence line and is our best chance at escape, but as we cross to the shed where the bleeding hearts make good cover, we see her there in the lawn-chair deep in thought. From this distance, Julia wonders what will become of her family during the coming weeks since being discovered. Hudson who has moved closer to the den, is less pensive for he knows that although we all come to the table for different reasons, no-one really knows the future. Life is a cycle with everyone taking their turn smelling the flowers…eating their walnuts…dreaming their dreams.