11,041 vagabonds plus:
late for the ball
We arrived by train to that Midwestern town somewhere in line with the Autumnal Equinox and the loveless Harvest Moon, to be enthralled by the kindness of the lady dressed like a well kept grave. On cue, always ready like all the other stops along our way, we were shoved off the train by a bull with a splintered stick, two vagabonds, the girl deserving of a hot shower and a warm meal. A hot meal sounded pretty good to me too. A man in a ill fitting coat living under the crumbling town bridge gave us directions to the Manor, telling us of the Gracious Lady, and to knock four times at the back door.
We peeked in a window of the dining room before going around back. It looked like something out of a 1940's sound stage and we saw her sitting at the head of the table by herself sipping from a tiny cup with a look of absolute chore-less joy on her face. The girl guessed we were just in time, after all, as muffled dance music washed around every room we peeked in. In the square light shining out into the dark from one room we surveyed, where we stood in some flowers, I could see the girl was crying she was so happy watching a fairy tale. It was always hard to tell since her long hair usually fell over her eyes and she was constantly pushing it back. I brushed it back once and she hit me with all her might with a solid left fist, but she was playing. She has a beautiful mane, but she sure could use a shower.
We knocked four times, she opened the door unhesitatingly, we could hear yelling in a foreign tongue behind her, probably too many cooks in the kitchen like the old saying goes. She looked down at both of us standing three steps up in a fluffy red feather gown, the girl scared, burying her face in my chest shivering, said wait just a minute she'd be back, and before you knowed it she came back with two plates full of the best food we ever ate. Everything was as soft and good and warm as poached eggs we had once two weeks ago at a lunch trailer. Only better. I showed the girl how to make a sandwich with two biscuits and she copied me, seeing how she always followed my example.
Then something strange happened. We saw that feathered lady watching us out the back door window twice, and she would disappear and show again. Then she opened the door, sorrowful looking, and took the girl by the hand before she was done eating and slammed the door. I didn't know if maybe she was going to make her clean up the dishes or what and I got nervous. So I ate some more. But you know what? She came back about forty-five minutes later, it was getting cold out, about the time I'd finished up some tasty chocolate swirly goo, and that lady in red had given the girl the prettiest egg-colored gown to wear and her mane was shiny and flowed like a waterfall and she turned all the way around shy like for me, twice I asked, and I swear I tried not to cry she was so beautiful.
Later, as the Sun was rising and we hopped a slow moving freighter, she said she saw a dish on fire and that's what all the yelling was about.
Willow Manor Balls past:
2008 2009 2010
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