Wednesday, October 29, 2008
After the rain had drizzled away to nothing more than a fine mist, Harold let Lucy go out, relieved that the bored child would no longer be under his feet. “Put on your coat and wellies,” he said as she scampered off.
“Smelly wellies,” she said. “Smelly wellies and goaty coat.” She was at that age of linguistic exploration, though her rhyming rarely made sense.
“Be back by lunchtime,” Harold called, pointing at her with the wooden spoon he’d been using to stir the casserole. The door slammed on his words.
Lucy meandered across the eastern lawns toward the woods, dragging her plastic spade with her. One of her mother’s cats left the hallowed ground of the mausoleum to accompany her. Trotting alongside the child with its tail high and the tip bent. As the path climbed it darted ahead, waiting for her to catch up at each twist of the path.
At the top, just before the beech trees occluded the sky, Lucy dug a hole. It took her most of the morning but the ground was damp and easily worked. “Skitty kitty,” she said, puffing with exertion and, pulling off her woollen mittens to dig into her pocket, offered it a Smartie.
It sniffed the sweet and declined, rubbing its head against her hand. She picked it up in both arms, its hindquarters dragging on the floor and dropped it in the hole, using her feet to shovel the earth back in.
“Smelly wellies, skitty kitty, flat cat.”