Loneliness is an interesting feeling. I’d never been alone before. Family. Children’s laughter. Baby sounds. Now, only echoes. Relatives returned just long enough to take something. Then, silence.
I watched garden and field reclaimed by nature. Heard steady drip of rain through holes in the roofs of the outbuilding. Everywhere paint peeling. Problems I couldn’t fix on my own.
From the attic window, I could see the rutted lane that lead from county road to the dooryard. Puffs of dust preceded the short, red-faced man in a car the same color as his face. Slammed the car door. Paced the length of the porch. Waiting for someone.
Strolling towards the house was a couple, hand in hand. Smiling, enjoying the outdoors and each other’s company. Tumblers turning. Door squeaking. Footsteps. Voices. So long since any one had come for a visit.
Red-faced man pointed towards the dilapidated barn, overgrown garden, and stands of evergreens offering shelter from screaming winter storms. The couple investigated every cupboard, closet, and window. Gesturing. Talking about repairs I hadn’t or couldn’t make.
Loneliness was no longer an interesting feeling. I wanted to feel cherished, needed again. I realized how much I had lost. I willed the couple to stay. Red-faced man gave them the keys. No more aloneness. Life again.
The couple, Marion and Cameron, came every weekend. Sometimes they brought friends. To hear laughter. Feel the dirt of lonely years washed away. Smell of paint, noise of hammering, sweat in the summer heat shimmering like water.
Crisp fall party, spilling out onto the porch that didn’t sag any more. So many people, I felt overwhelmed. Then, it was just them. She spoke to me more than he did. Sitting in her rocking chair in the kitchen, she told me about her day, and asked how mine had been.
Winter’s breath was in the air. Fireplace and stove lit for warmth. She had a funny little smile on her face all day. She stayed here, while he drove off.
I felt the warmth, the life in her hand as she touched me. Whispering, she said “I have a secret and I’m going to tell you first.” Leaning closer, she said, “I hope you like baby noises. I’m going to have one.” I felt honored she told me first. Such had our friendship grown. She touched my wall again. “Which of your rooms would you like as a nursery?”