Lovesick on the Farm at Midnight
I decide to drive out to the fields. Most people think corn fields at night would be scary but to me, it’s comforting. It’s home. When the corn surrounds you and there’s nothing else to see but that and the sky, I can’t help but to feel nostalgic. Like an earthy hug from Gaia herself while the stars watch and fill me with hope.
My truck bounced down the dirt path Dad made for easy passage to the barn. The dust clouds coat the corn on either side of the road. I realize I’m going a little too fast as the stalks blur by me, but I don’t really care. The thrill of knowing I’m breaking the rules makes me feel better.
I finally reach the midway point between the house and the barn and stop. I climb through my back window to reach the bed of my truck. I lie down to think. This is usually where I go to think. I was out here a lot of last summer when Momma died. It felt like the only place where I could exist in my sadness. Dad always told me, “We have to stay strong for each other now. Momma was our rock. Since she’s gone we have to be each other’s. Do you understand?” I understood fine. I couldn’t show him how much I hurt. Her funeral was the last time I let anyone see me cry.
Before Momma died, our family was held together with strings of love and air of emotion. Momma brought it out of us. When you were around her, you just couldn’t help but feel all your emotions at once. She had the best ways of getting you to express them, too. I always felt safe with her and Daddy. There wasn’t a point when I felt like I couldn’t tell them how I felt.
But when she died, Daddy threw that out the window. I resent him so much for it. He doesn’t even realize how much that affected me. Now that I have no one to talk to, nowhere to put all these feelings I have, I feel too full. Like a balloon that keeps getting filled with air. Stretching and stretching until I’ll eventually pop on everyone around me. I don’t want that to happen. So, I try to figure these emotions out with Carter. He always seems to understand. But now that these feelings are about him I don’t know what to do.
Two months ago, Carter stepped into my life and changed it in ways I never expected. From the moment he helped me with my English homework that August night, we were inseparable. We’d go to school together, we’d do homework together, we never left anywhere without the other in tow. I was so thankful he was there. Carter was the only thing in my life that filled the hole Momma left when she died.
The thing about Carter is that lately I think he’s been more than just my best friend. We went to the movie theater the other day to watch some random horror special. He warned me, “When I get scared, I latch onto the closest thing to me so don’t be surprised when it’s you.”
I didn’t pay much mind to this though. I wasn’t expecting him to hug my left arm when the first jump-scare popped up and never let go. It made me feel things I hadn’t felt before. I didn’t know how to deal with it either. When we left the theater he asked me, “How was it that you weren’t ever scared throughout all of the movies?”
I didn’t want to tell him that the movies were the furthest thing from my mind when he was touching me like that, so I said, “I don’t know, it just wasn’t scary.” I thought I’d said it with the same inflection as normal, but I guess I hadn’t.
“What’s wrong, Jas?” he asked. He’d been calling me Jas since the first time he came over. He told me that we were too close of friends to use each other’s full names. So, we created three-letter nicknames. Mine Jas and his Car. Though I have to admit, I liked using his full name more. It just sounded so much better.
“Nothing, I’m just not feeling the best.”
“Was there something in the movies that bothered you? Too much popcorn? Too many Raisinets?”
“No, it wasn’t any of that. The movie was fine and there’s no such thing as too many Raisinets, you should know that.”
“Then what was it?”
I didn’t know how to voice it. How to tell him that those hours of touching was too much for me to handle. It made me feel and think things that were as foreign as Mandarin or Tagalog. How was I supposed to explain something that I didn’t even understand?
“I think I just need to sleep. I’m really tired, that’s what it is.”
“Oh, okay. I guess that makes sense. You just go home and get some rest. I’ll see you tomorrow?” he asked with pity and doubt.
“Yeah, sure. We’ll do something.” He knew I was lying. Both about why I was acting weird and doing something tomorrow. At the moment, I couldn’t stand looking at him. His face made me angry. I had no control over my feelings when I looked at him.
I flip over in the bed of my truck and stare at the moon. I ask it for guidance like Momma always did. She believed the moon could guide her through anything just as it did for her ancestors. They used the moonlight to escape the pains of the South. Maybe I can use the moonlight to understand what’s happening with Carter.
Then the corn starts rustling. Not like when the wind makes them rub together. But like something is pushing them out of the way. I sit up peering into the moving stalks, trying to see what’s in there. I find the hammer Dad always tells me to keep in my truck just in case there’s something that needs fixed. My knuckles turn white with the grip I have on it.
Then Carter pops out, “Hey.”
I drop the hammer, thankful it’s just him. “Where in the hell did you come from?”
“The corn,” he says nonchalantly with a point back to the field.
“Yeah, no shit. But how did you get out there? And why are you out there this late?”
“I felt like I needed to talk to you, so I came out here to find you. This is where you usually come to think. I know the moon helps you clear your head.” He said it like that was common knowledge. Like it wasn’t something shared only in our little family.
“How do you know that? I’ve never once told you that.”
“You didn’t have to. Your mom did.” He pointed up to the moon when he said this. That’s when I saw it start to move. The moon started to take on a different shape. Instead of the perfect circle it was on full moons like tonight, it was morphing into something else. Tendrils that turned into limbs jutted from it. Long strands of a dress formed underneath. Then with a gust of wind my mother, bathed in moonlight and glistening from head to toe, lands in the path behind my truck.
Tears escaped as I whispered, “Momma?”
Bio info was not provided by Brandon. Those at RBR want to congratulate Brandon for making this year's issue!