Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chapter 49

About an hour later we’d finally gotten clear of everyone that kept wanting to ask questions and had made it to our blanket.  But though we sat ringed by the family I had to keep my eyes focused in my lap or I’d catch someone staring at me like I was something weird that needed examining.  Even the family did their own share of whispering though at least they tried to be polite and not get caught at it.  At least most of them did.


"That ... was amazing."

Feeling irritable but trying not to show it I said, "Don't Jeannie."

"Why?  It was ... it was ..."

"Something I could do so I did and luckily I got it right and the little boy didn't drown.  If you could have done it you would have too.  Anyone here would have.  And there were other people looking for him too.  I just found him first.  Drop it ok?"

"Gee ... don't go all bashful and noble."

Cutter came to my rescue.  "The kid could have died Jeannie.  That's what Kay-Lee means.  The kid could have died.  The fact that he didn't is what she wants people to focus on, not her."

I nodded in his direction and shivered a little bit in the towel that Sawyer had draped across my shoulders.  "Gawd," I muttered.  "Will people just stop looking at me?!"

Sawyer got behind me and I sat between his legs and he wrapped his arms around me.  A guy started coming closer than all the others, even picking his way between the family blankets, and Sawyer stiffened and looked at him and said, "Take a hike already Toby."

"Hey Man, I ain't here to cause problems.  That was my kid brother she saved."

He sat down but not right on top of us.  Sawyer tried really hard to unbend but I could tell there was history between the two.  "Is he OK?" Sawyer finally asked, trying to be polite.

"Yeah.  He's freaked but ok."

I butted in and said, "Don't let him get afraid of the water."

"Yeah, Dad has already said the same thing but Mom will take some convincing."

"Tell her there is free swim lessons at the hospital.  You have to sign up but given what happened they'd probably say to bring him in before he gets more traumatized."

"Thanks.  I'll ... uh ... tell her."  He turned to Sawyer and held out his hand.  "Sorry Man ... for everything.  I didn't figure out what was going on until ... you know ...  I ... uh ... broke it off about a week later.  I just ... if it makes a difference I didn't know.  I'm a little slow but ..."  He shrugged and continue to hold his hand out.

Sawyer sighed and shook his hand.  "Toby, this is my wife.  Kay-Lee, this is Toby.  We ... we went to school together.  You know that road right across from Gramps' drive?  That's Toby's grandfather's place."

"The one with all the cows?"

Toby nodded.  "Yeah.  My grandfather normally buys silage from Mr. Hartford."

I looked at Sawyer and he explained.  "Silage is like ... ground up plants ... sorghum silage is mostly Gramps grows.  A couple of the uncles grow corn silage."

"The cows eat it?"

"Yeah.  It’s good for them and cows fed a good ration of silage give more milk so long as they get everything else they need."

Sawyer and Toby talked a little more about nothing and mutual acquaintances then Toby said with regret, "I gotta run.  Mom and dad rode in with the paramedics so I'm in charge of getting the car and all the other crap home, including my sisters."

"Oh gawd, really Toby?" the girl from the platform asked not a little irritated and shook up.  She looked at me and said, "Thanks.  Teddy is a brat but he's our brat and it would have been totally ... totally ..."

"Hey," I told her.  "The bad didn't happen.  Just let it go and feel blessed.  Might have beens ... they're too much work to keep up with because there are always so many of them."

"Uh ... yeah.  OK.  Toby, are you ready to go?"

He stood up, waved and walked away with his sister towards another, older girl that still had a blank, shocky look on her face like she was still dealing with what had almost happened.  I realized Toby was probably going to have his hands full and had started to ask Sawyer if maybe we shouldn’t help them get their stuff to their vehicle when a voice from behind us said, "Well, well, well."

I recognized the guy and could feel Sawyer tuning up not to mention I could see all the other Hartfords getting ready for trouble.  I looked at the guy and said deliberately calm, "You scream like a girl."


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