A Flute Player's Story

By Rachel Halpin

Romance

Middle of the Story

Every story has three parts; a beginning, a middle, and an ending. I have just told you the beginning-I ran away from home because I did not like my parent's expectations for me and along the way, I made some new friends and fell in love. But that is only the beginning. Now I must tell you the middle of my story. To tell it to you, I must explain things to you.

My story starts in summertime-August to be exact. Racetrack and I became a couple in the fall. Truth be told I had long since lost track of days, so I could not tell you the exact day that it happened. But things settled into a routine after that day. Maggie and I would prepare the children for school every morning and walk them to the one-room schoolhouse they attended before going to Medda's and playing our flutes. When we finished, we would bring the children home. An agreement was worked out that Maggie would return to Medda's two afternoons a week while I minded the children and I would go two afternoons a week while Maggie minded the children. We would be allowed to leave early to mind the children at the end of the week. Oftentimes Maggie and I would ask Racetrack to mind the children that day or bring them to Medda's and keep them busy helping behind the stage. On weekends we would be home with them and do chores around our flat. Every night the girls would ask for a lullaby or a song and I would sing for them. Sometimes I would play my wooden flute for them instead of singing.

Racetrack would come by every evening after selling papers and we would sit together. He would help me with my English a few evenings a week, but mostly we would just sit and talk. The boys loved him and he would often play games with them or play on his mouth organ as I sang to the girls. Some evenings Maggie and I would play our flutes at home and Race would bring his mouth organ and we would form a little band that the children danced to. It was quite the sight to see four youngsters dancing around the room willy-nilly. Sometimes Castel would join us as well. He would drag Maggie onto the floor for a dance while Race and I provided music. Sometimes we would all join the dancing, even as we played the music. When the children were in bed, Castel and Maggie would sit with us as we talked. But more often than not, Maggie and Castel would sit on the fire escape to have some time alone. Tajo would come and mind the children when we couples needed a break or when we wanted to go on a date.

Most sadly, I did not see much of Spot during that time. I heard from Tajo that someone important from Spot's past had showed up and that she was taking up most of his time. Tajo didn't have many of the details, because Spot didn't talk about it. But from what Tajo could gather, Spot's cousin showed up with a former girlfriend of his and it was causing many problems for the family.

Things continued in this manner during the fall. Once winter came and the snow fell, things changed. I suppose I should have been expecting it at that point. Castel and I had been away from home for about three months when I realized we were being watched. I was playing at Medda's one day when I noticed a man at the back of the theatre. After the show he came and introduced himself to me as Mr. Snyder, asking for my name. Feeling uneasy, I told him it was Ally. After that day, I saw him around several more times.

"Are you sure he's following you?" Race would ask me every time I mentioned it. I always answered that yes, I was sure he was following me and that going to the bulls wouldn't help. And then one day, I saw Mr Snyder there with another man and a woman. A man and woman who looked like Mama and Papa.

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