Dry Season

by Nora Wall

Dove shaded her eyes against the sun and surveyed the street. Walnut looked much like it did twenty-six years ago. Once kids played in the street and parents didn’t give it a second thought. No one does that anywhere now.

She turned her attention to the sidewalk and tried to visualize herself as a four year old…the year her parents bought the house and Dove learned to ride her first bike. The picture in her mother’s album showed a little girl with strawberry pig-tails wearing red corduroy slacks the color of her bike, but Dove’s memory of that day was as flat as the picture.

Dove’s heart longed for the more recent past. Her every thought reached for a child with caramel hair and a flowered dress with green satin ribbons; her daughter on the first day of school.

April took her first bike ride right here, under the watchful eyes of Nana and Granddad. Her little girl as she learned to walk, roller skate, blowing out birthday candles. Innocent eyes full of wonder and hope. Those moments played again, Dove’s own personal holograms projected on the landscape of today. Ah, there you are…smiling and twirling…dancing in the sprinklers. Dove held that last memory as long as she could, squeezing out each drop of color and emotion as she watched the child at play.

What is a mother without a child? When a husband dies, you’re no longer a wife. You’re another word…widow. You can be Mrs. Smith forever or the Widow Smith, but you move on…, no longer a wife. The moment she was born, I became a mother. Losing her can’t change that. She’s still my child. She just…she just isn’t here.

Dove turned to face the house. I shouldn’t have come. Why did I come? The ‘For Sale’ sign dangled askew, one hook lost to decay. The paint on the trim was pealing. Unneeded rain gutters gaped broken and empty. No one will want it like this. Her realtor wasn’t interested enough to check on the place.

Southern California hadn’t seen rain in eight months. It had been a long hot summer and the yard looked dead. The once rich lawn was dry and brown; her mother’s roses had lost their leaves. Dove tested some of the smaller branches of her father’s fruit trees and found life hidden within the bark. There was hope.

She looked at the sidewalk then past it to her car. She could leave…pretend she hadn’t come here. She started to go, but the sound of the crisp dry grass as it crunched beneath her feet was too much. She felt as vulnerable and brittle as the lawn. Some things just never let go.

Dove followed stepping stones to the spigot at the corner of the house. She lifted the rotted hose and turned the handle then fingered the nozzle to spray a rainbow over the yard. The breeze carried the mist back to Dove, offering a bit of relief from the heat. Two little girls, one with strawberry pig-tails and the other with caramel hair danced in diamonds that fell from above. In the midst of their laughter they turned and waved at the woman with the hose. Dove waved back, smiling a crooked smile as the vision disappeared.

It had been a long dry season for the old house and for Dove, but if she stayed she might save the roses.

5 Responses to “Dry Season”

  1. Judy Pope says:


  2. Diana Luers says:

    Reading a story is like seeing a movie in your mind. Some make more of an impression than others. This one, just like a memory from my own mind,
    brought forth the emotions and feelings it was meant to stir in readers. Putting something in writing makes it immortal and therefore never forgotten.
    Your talent is a blessing for us all. Please bless us more- soon!

  3. Carol R says:

    An eloquent and heartfelt story. The image of two little girls “dancing in diamonds” is one that will stay with me for some time. To me it signifies the beginning of a cell by cell renewal and a gentle benediction. Very well done.

  4. Arlene says:

    ‘This is more than fiction!’..just close 2mi emotions.indeed a good work of art closer 2mi reality.i dare 4more.

  5. Terry Ervin says:

    A good story that reaches to the emotions of every parent.

    “What is a mother without a child?…Losing her can’t change that. She’s still my child. She just…she just isn’t here.” –really carries meaning.

Leave a Reply