Kay’s Story (Jeff’s Turn) (Part Eighteen)

Looking for the beginning of Kay’s Story?

Sunday couldn’t come fast enough for Jeff. All week, as he went about his ongoing job search, he saw the mirage of Kay’s face everywhere. Each brown haired girl he saw reminded him of her and any time he heard a baby’s cry he’d scan the room, hoping to catch a glimpse of her bright eyes.

His life in Vermont was really quite lonely. The minute he opened his mouth, his accent branded him as a flatlander. It continued to amaze him that the simplest pronunciation of a word could turn the most welcoming smile into a frosty look of caution in a millisecond.

So far, Jeff had applied for dozens of jobs with not so much as a single interview. Rather than the reverential awe his qualifications usually garnered, here they seemed to only summon up a scornful cold shoulder. All he could think of was the cliques and bullies that had dominated his years in the public school system. Now, he was sitting in the parking lot after yet another fruitless round of trying to impress a supervisor. Frustrated, he smacked the steering wheel of his truck with an open hand. Why am I always on the outside looking in?

He turned the key in the ignition and the engine revved to life. The road unwound before him, like a picturesque scene from a postcard. The last rays of golden sunlight flitted between the tree branches, making playful ghosts dance on the passing cars.

He mused as he drove, talking half to God and half to himself. What am I doing here, anyway? He’d left Massachusetts with the glowing hope of a fresh start. Vermont. The Green Mountains. It had all seemed so promising and new, a place without old memories. Somewhere without so much pain. But what appeared idyllic from a tourist’s eyes was quickly beginning to emerge as a dead end with a nice façade.

Jeff turned onto the back road that lead towards his house, newly graded rocks pinging up on the underside of his vehicle. By the time his headlights lit the front of the small log cabin, the first star was shining steadily in the sky. Shoving the door open, he paused, listening to the still sounds of the forest all around him. Crickets chirped and somewhere nearby an owl hooted, followed by the call of a lone coyote. This moment. This makes it all worth it. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath, taking it the heady sense of pine and cedar. The only thing missing was someone to share it with. He smiled in the darkness. Maybe I should get a dog. A scruffy loyal mutt would be perfect. The smile quickly became a grimace as a familiar nagging voice filled his head. Yeah, right, Jeff. And maybe a job, would be nice, so you can afford to buy food for yourself, never mind vet bills and dog food.

He might not have a dog or any family, but he had this land. It was his, ten whole acres, from the decaying fence post that marked the property line to the east, all the way down to the trickling creek on the west side. Impulsively, he flopped down onto the soft uncut grass and began to count the stars, as each one blinked into focus.


Native Flatlander Gypsy: A Tongue in Cheek Tale of Origin

I spent a good deal of my childhood in the historic areas around Boston. That is where I was born and where my grandparents lived. So many of my happy memories come from there…

Where I currently live, a Bostonian accent is akin to the mark of Cain. It means you are the dreaded F-word- flatlander. (Pronounced with the appropriate distaste and scorn of course.)

Seeing my family’s primary residence has been here since I was not quite two, I ALMOST pass as a native. That is, until I drop the R’s off of my words in a lapse of thought.

Or when I hear someone from my true homeland speak and get all dreamy and sentimental. The very sound of softly rounded words can make me feel as if I’m being carried home… but that just doesn’t fly!

There I am with this big ol’ grin on my face and a wistful look in my eyes.

That is NOT what I am supposed to be doing. I am supposed to be peering at them rather suspiciously, with an ironic not-quite-smile, saying things like: “Yut, yut. Wal- look out that winder. You ain’t gettin’ there from here.”*

And yet, when I go home to Mass, everyone looks at me like I’m a hick.

Oh well. I guess I have no native land of origin… wonder if the gypsies would adopt me?

*Yut is native for yup and Winder is native for window.