An Interactive Twilight Experience.
The day was one of those sweet autumn days, the kind that has the last warm breath of summer and the first hints of the coming winter. The leaves were just starting the chameleon dance, slowly losing the green in favor of the warm shades of red, rust, auburn, and yellow. I couldn’t resist climbing up into my favorite spot, finding my branch, tucking my knees up under my chin and looking out over the lands.
Papa hated that I wore trousers and played like this.
“A proper young lady does not run about dressed as a hooligan boy!” he would thunder at me. Mama could always calm him down, pointing out that I only played in our yard in trousers, and never went out dressed as anything but the picture of a demure young lady. It didn’t hurt that she also explained how it saved money on ruined dresses.
The sun was setting and I knew Papa would be home soon, dinner hot and ready on the table. I started to scurry down the tree when the branch I was stepping on gave a sharp crack and fell out from under my foot. I hadn’t gotten my handhold yet on the branch above me and I followed the broken limb down, managing to mimic the tree in breaking my own limb.
I lay on the ground, my leg bent beneath me and the only thing I could think of was how mad Papa was going to be. I could ear them calling for me to come to dinner, and as the sky turned from blue to purple as night was falling, I just waited, knowing that they would find me. When they did arrive, Papa was so overcome, he couldn’t look at me. I think that may have been the only time I saw tears in his eyes, ever. The neighbors carefully lifted me and I tried really hard to not make a sound or cry, because I didn’t want Papa to cry any more. Some one ran off for a wagon and they took me into town to see the doctor.
Dr. Mayes was out of town and there was a stranger in his office. I thought for sure he would be angry we had interrupted his dinner, but he smiled warmly and waved us into the exam room. After I was on his table, he shooed Papa and Mama out the door. He looked at me for a moment before coming to look at my leg. There was no blood, but it was swollen and hurt. When his hand touched my shin I was surprised at how cool it was, and comforting. I made some kind of a noise and squeezed my eyes shut.
“It’s all right. You should let me know when it hurts. That way I can help it heal. What is your name?”
“That’s a lovely name. Now, this is going to hurt, and don’t hold back. I had my nurse take your folks back to the house for coffee so they shouldn’t hear you.”
I nodded and took a deep breath, ready for whatever he had to do. He kept up a stream of calm chatter, distracting me I realized later. He even had me laughing a couple of times. Before I knew it, he had a cast on my lower leg and my parents were back to take me home. Papa had regained his control, although he had a mixture of sadness and determination in his eyes. Some how I knew that was the last time I would be allowed to climb a tree as long as I lived.
I looked over Papa’s shoulder as he carried me out of the office. The doctor was watching, a very strange look on his face, sort of a bittersweet smile. He waved and as Papa settled me in the back seat of the car he said he’d be by in a few days to check in on me. That warmed my heart and a smiled to myself. It didn’t last too long, though as I heard Papa tell Mama he didn’t like the man. He said his eyes were weak and he was pale and frail looking. I thought about telling Papa he had a cold touch and that he was stronger than even Bart the blacksmith, but I knew he had set his mind and nothing would change it.
One last look back out the rear window at the strange and lovely man, and I knew I would not see him again as long as I lived.