Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Muse

Wendell bounded up the stairs carrying the basket of clothes. It was so full with the sheets that he wasn't looking down. His boot heel hit the shards of glass that had fallen from the table when Cecilia had stood up to get the wash off the line in the yard. The big man went down with a loud crash. Cecilia did not see him slip, but heard him hit the porch. 

At first it was quite comical. She had to suppress her laughter. Wendell was so clumsy for someone who could play the piano with such a fluid grace that she had never witnessed. But, then as she started to walk toward him she noticed that he wasn't getting up. The wind was picking up behind her and she knew they had to get inside or they would be caught in the storm. 

"Wendell, get up! We have to get in the house. I know you hurt your pride, but we have to move fast."

Cecilia continued walking toward the porch and when she finally reached the steps she noticed that Wendell was very still. Too still. She felt a panic rising up through her entire body that just seemed to burst open when it reached her chest.

She put down the basket she had been carrying in from the yard. Time seemed to stop. Everything began to swirl around her. The dust had finally made it in from the prairie. As she bent down to look at Wendell, so many thoughts began to hit her all at once. What was she going to do? How was she going to get Wendell inside? What would she do without Wendell?

Cecilia reached out to touch his throat just to check and see if he had a pulse. A wave of relief swept over her like a hot shower. She could feel the strong pulse that she had felt so many times when he bent down to kiss her on the forehead. He was alive, but why wasn't he moving?

She realized that Wendell had probably hit his head on the corner of the steps. She gingerly lifted his head to see if he had hurt himself, and then she saw it. The glass that had fallen when she had stood up earlier. Why hadn't she stopped to pick that up? This was all her fault, but there was not time to dwell in that self-pity. There would plenty of time later to think about all the things she should have done. 

She didn't see any blood and she decided that was a good sign. The dust was starting to cover everything around her including her face. Pretty soon she was not going to be able to see. She needed to get Wendell inside.

She walked around to his feet and began to pull. He was big and Cecilia was not. Wendell had grown to be about six foot five inches tall. This was almost two whole feet taller than Cecilia and he out weighed her about 100 hundred pounds. After what seemed like hours, Cecilia finally got him across the threshold of the house. She still needed to get him the rest of the way in so she could shut the door to the dust outside. She continued pulling him into the house and finally got him in far enough to shut the door. She ran outside to get the wash, and the tea pitcher she had been using. Luckily, it had not fallen and broken as well. That would have been a mess she did not want to clean up.

Just as she walked into the house with the last basket and shut the door to the storm she walked over to the window and noticed the funnel cloud off in the distance.