by Olive Rosehips
Mrs. Morrow was outside, I knew this because her loud, chirpy voice carried through the open window as she called to Joanne across the street. I whispered a wish under my breath that she would take up knitting or bridge or whatever it was people her age did when my little voice whispered back that gossip was what uncoupled, older ladies did. Loneliness to be sure and too much time on her hands had created this chapter of Mrs. Morrow; this overly organized, neat nick who hosed the rocks outside her home on week nights in order to be available to question, er, greet us when we came home from work each day. Indeed, she had become a professional at drawing out information I never intended to add to her gossip list, and so I used to peek through all the front windows to see if the coast was clear of Mrs. Morrow before going out to my garden.
Yet somehow, I suspect constant patrol, she always found me no matter how early I gardened, nor what side of the house I was on and so I pretended not to hear her calling to me as I berated her discovery under my breath. Ignoring her only worked the first time and now she would walk her round self, gingerly and hastily over to where I was and tap me on the shoulder, causing me to look up into her time worn, smiling face; her bright eyes setting me up, along with her wrinkled mouth with how she never sees me anymore and how are the boys. My mouth lied back to Mrs. Morrow with it’s own smile as my mind raced to come up with something to say which was really nothing so that I didn’t wince over having given her something to talk about.
I began to feel like a hostage in my own home and felt I had to put an end to this nonsense, which is when it occurred to me to leave my garden tools lying about in such disarray as to discourage Mrs. Morrow from jaunting over to my yard.
I could never have foreseen the possibility of her stepping right onto the head of the rake, nor how the handle would have struck poor Mrs. Morrow right between the eyes. Everyone talked about it for months and now I comfort myself thinking that she would have liked knowing she was still in on the neighborhood conversation.
BIO: Rhonda M. Smolarek
hides writes under the nom de plume of Olive Rosehips, where she makes up things all the while using proper grammer and spell checks. She generally does this in stiletto's with her pedicure in vivid shades of red. Why? Don't ask me, I just work here. Word is she also does website design/re-design at OliveRosehips.com and plays at getting absurd songs stuck in people's minds in order to amuse herself... I know, right?