a Sultry Land

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Good Grievences


Her first time driving the path to her inheritance, Meridian notices her neighbors stare from afar. She wound the private road green with life that had taken her family, and friends back and forth for what looked like a few generations. The bungalow, a summer retreat, had a warm feeling, it set off the main roads deep within the grassy woods, with street lamps few, and far between properties. Her lush green lawn is overgrown with weeds, some dried and smashed from season’s gone. Meridian looked around, and had a lot of space to garden.

She was happy she could cook outdoors, entertain and lounge underneath her huge weeping willow’s both up front, and outback.The trees seemed promising on the lawns, on hot summer days, and thought the bird bath out back was precious too. She had not yet seen all her property, and the land was filled with morning dew, and there, already a new spring season started approaching. The sultry lands felt like summer to her coming from so much snow and ice.

She seemed to finally feel calm come over her, and stood in silence. She closed her eyes, took a deep cleansing breath, and opened her eyes to the sound of the first bird chirping on the lawn tree, and then a few sang. She moved past three grape vines overgrown over time. Looking further, Meridian found an old shed outback of the large property she would love. Seeing how much space she owned, and how much brush developed, she felt she could cut paths, or camps, out in the woods. The shed in the backyard contained garage tools and an old heavy metal push lawn mower, which needed to be cleared of cobwebs.

There was a brand new tricycle plastic wrapped, and a few new toy boxes, she thought, some little girl would have been lucky. Meridian found, beautiful Christmas ornaments protectively stored in plastic, covered by sand of breezy wind gusts. She owned a pier out through a few of the paths she imagined once cleared. So in the sultry lands, Meridian would have plenty of fresh air to breathe. She was thinking clearly, and rest could do her well. In the fullness of summer’s approach, the cottage is sure to green with camouflaging foliage.

Meridian sobbed about the Derck’s all through her trip, and not having them next to her that very moment caused her to lose it outside, and then, the thought of having so much to do would end her confusion, with Max gone, and her hurt thoughts subdued for a while. At her solidly built cottage bungalow, she could really take her mind off the pain she had. Meridian felt detachment from her ancestry because she’d been adopted. She went through the manila envelope and came across the special attachment, containing the keys to her new home.

The main, back, and side doors of the villa stayed secured for all those years, and no matter how bad she felt, she could only wonder what lay inside. At the airport, she left her bags at baggage claim, and then bought a used car from the lot across the street, as Dr. Reddy suggested. He’d taken vacation there. In no time, Meridian acquired a used vehicle, and that morning, taxied her way around the warm, friendly, blue water, green leafed, sunny place, although filled with grief. She had not much to carry, only the things she brought with her from winter recess.

Everything she took fit in the back seat of her car. Suffering sleeplessly, Meridian couldn’t return to the empty home of her, and the Derck’s, and people she knew all her life were indifferent, and unkind, so she set forth on a journey she never knew. She used to be happy in her life, and had not sought change, but thanked God that this change was good. She had never been to a place so tropical in comparison to where back east, New York she’d come. What should have been the dead of winter, in the Sultry Lands, was a tropical green paradise.

It was a blossoming sight for sore eyes. If she stayed at college, she’d suffer many more nightmares or sleepless nights, had not Dr. Reddy given her a supply of mild sedatives before she left. Meridian had no appetite. It was many hours, and she still had not felt like eating. After she learned of her adoptive parents, she gasps, and in despair, her entire life revamps. The Derck’s death seemed cold. She was handed a manila package, and that was that. Meridian sobbed in the women’s room in the airport before her way to her new home.

Alone in the world, she cried hard for the only parents she knew. They were so very kind to her, and loved her with all their hearts. The Derck’s were once there to ease her pain, but they were gone, and the fact frightened her, and she cried again, spooked, realizing another set of parents specified in the manila envelope haunted her more. Meridian cupped her hands over her face, and cried until she remembered the sound of Max’s voice once saying, “Aw, chin up Pin. It’ll be alright.” Maximal Indigo, the rock of her reality, and whom she felt comfortable, missed. He thought she was only as large as a pin needle.

Max cared if she lived or died, which made her cry a little harder. Afterwards, she pulled herself together again, and tried to remain tough. For Meridian, no one close to her was for her sorrows, and any strangers that day, hadn’t noticed her. Max was away somewhere pilot training with the military, therefore she had to deal with her situation alone, and pulled herself together again for the fourth time. In approaching her journey alone, with her adversaries, no bother for her at any point. She dressed from winter snow boots, to autumn clothing.

Meridian traveled six hours by airplane, and another forty-five minute drive to get to the designated place. Her used blue Mazda had little mileage, character, and was previously owned by an elderly couple who took great care of the car, and then stored it. It was a very pleasant ride to the place she would live, and she hoped her new home was as lovely as the weather, and landscape. Driving the winding suburban roads promised spring almost too soon to receive, and anxiously drove ahead, and wanted to get to the place she’d be, and had become tired.

Little hunger, and a half hour put her in view of neighbors, stretching their necks from afar. Staring, it was a long time since they’d seen anyone deliberately drive up that private path. The road to the path had taken family, and friends back and forth for what looked like a few generations, and Meridian was tired from the flight, and lucky to find a car that would run for a while, and had gotten a warm feeling. The private entry, and her house set deep off the back of the main roads, within grassy woods, and saw much potential in the property.

She walked almost all the way in the back, found a shed containing gardening tools and an old heavy metal push lawn mower, looked over, and saw a brand new baby’s tricycle and a few new toy boxes in a plastic bag faded with time, and thought, some little girl would have been lucky. She saw beautiful Holiday ornaments protectively stored, covered by gusts of sand. Coming from the beach less than a quarter mile behind her property, she will have plenty of fresh air to do her well, and Meridian’s private beach needed sprucing.

The shed had cobwebs everywhere. It needed to be cleared, and the cottage she would enter was somewhat secluded. She sobbed a little still, walking the long way back to the house, feeling her life turn into change, but having many things to do could keep her hurt thoughts subdued. Why would her parents give her away? In the sturdy old, and very picturesque cottage, Meridian could really take her mind off the pain she is going through, including a feeling detached from her ancestry. She smiled a little to herself about Dr. Reddy.

He was so kind, and helpful, and the campus doctor for many years, came highly recommended, and remains compliantly the head physician as others come, and go.

“Besides,” he said, “I can’t remember everything.” In other words, private investigation had not been the Dr.’s occupation. I wish you all the luck, and happiness. There are colleges there too. Look into them, come back any time, and do take care,” and they hugged, and shook hands after he gave Meridian his business, appointment card. Meridian skimmed over the documents inside the manila envelope again. At her destination, she retrieved the keys from inside it.

Of the quaint Victorian style cottage she might like, she had to make an exception. She would never again see the Derck’s, and most of all, and so suddenly, realized another set of biological parents. Meridian looked around, and solemnly, the trees were already budding, and the moist grass turning green, it seemed a place she could live peacefully. The grounds were spacious. Meridian knew by the style of the house, it had many possibilities. Her front entrance is on the side of the house, which gave sunshine, and privacy, and she frightened a flock of birds feeding. She slipped the first key in the lock, and the birds flew ferociously, frightened her.

Dead leaves clogged the bottom of the door frame, and crackled when she pushed it open. Dust streamed down on her and swirled in the air. The massive black wooden door was secured, but creaked a little. Not expecting to see what was actually inside, she thought the space might be empty. The space was sun captured. Meridian stepped back, and saw the house was fully furnished. Meridian would not pull the sheets, having a lot of walls, molding, dusting, and polishing to do first, and had zesty thoughts. She peeked at a few furnishings covered and smiled to see her favorite wood underneath, mahogany.

It was sturdy, and a nautical styled brass cornered, furniture that was preserved as well as all the brass knobs. She saw the great front door, which had brass kick plates, but they’d been tarnished even inside the sturdy structured built frame. From outside, the cottage looked much smaller than it actually was, and a family of five could comfortably live inside the space she saw. The floors, cherrywood on concrete, and a gorgeous adobe fireplace practically ran wall to wall with a brick ledge, useful for seating, and then her second thought, a pizza oven.

She felt that whoever preserved the cabin, was precious, and she felt a part of a whimsical fairy tale, but Meridian had a hard time seeing herself as the princess, and in the quiet of her grief, and the cabin all too surreal. Curiously, she pulled a sheet from a living room window, stirring more dust, unveiling streams of light through beautiful stained glass, and heard squirrels rustling around outside. She opened another window, it was covered with bushes on the outside, and a fresh breeze blew in, forcing the front door shut. She walked through to the other end of her living room, and re-opened the door for fresh air, since that winter was quickly fading into spring.

To her, the slight nip in the morning air meant nothing, so she opened an opposite window. The mildly cool morning breeze blew through, flowing well enough to move the tops of the evergreens surrounding the hilly land. Meridian took a deep breath, and felt better that someone had decent plans for her mysterious life, and as the fresh air came into her home, it cleared her mind, as she looked around to discover that place her own, took a deep breath, and walked through opened doors. She peaked around corners, and the place was distinctive with all else surrounding it.

She would dust, strip the walls from top to bottom, and paint. She tried a light switch but no lights came on, found, and checked the fuse box, and there was no luck there either. She would go into town to have electricity connected before the evening settled in, thought the town simple enough to get around easily, and thought to also pick up a few candles just in case, and was glad for clear running water. The cute cottage bungalow sat alone on five or more acres of land, and just needed a touch. Meridian found comfort seeing plenty of wood chopped, and sticks out back she could use that evening if needed.

That morning, her eyes wide with wonder, satisfied with the beautiful house laced with bay windows at the opposite end of her living room, Meridian finally felt hunger. The discovery excited her, and she had not thought as far as her basic needs, but aside from food, she didn’t have to worry about much. Her home came equipped, so before she traveled to find electricity, she’d been thankful to find more welcome discoveries on the other side of her pantry, a door through a spacious corridor, though swathed with spider webs, and dark, she spotted candles. She picked up the matches beside them, and anxious to light her way through what looked like a hallway.

Meridian had an optimistic smile on her face, liked her surroundings, and started to think that she may like her new beginnings as well. Through the pantry door she could see a washing machine, and a dryer covered in a sheet, and shelves for storage in the lovely private space. The entire scene, breathtaking, no wonder the backyard sloped. By the side of the brook the house extended further than it looked sideways. Excitedly, she drove into town, and noticed it just at the full swing of day. Her town was upscale with exclusive shops, quaintness, and the people seemed normal which made her both glad, and sad inside. What in her town was not to like?

There was no one she knew, and no one knew her. Meridian passed the public library, towards the post office, and finally found the electric company. The building was a storefront in a plaza next to a pizza shop. She, next in line, hadn’t spoken a word in almost twenty four hours, and then walked up to the clerk who smiled.

“Hello,” Meridian practically choked a crackle of speech. She had to clear her throat since she hadn’t spoken in a while.

“I’m name is Rebekah Derck. I need electrical service at my address,” she said half-asking, partially telling. She handed the clerk her address.

The clerk could not seem to connect her name with the address, and became suspicious. She listened to what her supervisor suggested.

“What again, did you say your name was?” Meridian by then was hungry, and thought the woman slow, but in a split second, realized her mistake, and said, “Oh, I am sorry. It’s just that sort of morning. My name is Meridian Michel’. My girlfriend Rebekah is coming into town today, and I was thinking of the time. I’m supposed to meet her.”

The clerk seemed to understand the mix up, and pulled the Michel’- Meridian’s account, stamped a document, and then showed how credited the account was. Meridian wouldn’t have to pay an electric bill for some time, the account was financially secure. The clerk assured Meridian her service will be connected before that business day, and she thanked the woman, and moved on. She saw road signs leading to colleges, and universities, which were prominent, and local enough to attend.

She did not know it yet, but that house was meant for her to stay while she went through college, and the cottage was in her name since her birth. Her great grandmother was happy to have held Meridian before she passed away, and loved her parents since the first time she met them together. Meridian took a scenic route home, saw another beautiful park, with outside barbecue stands, and the delicious smelling food freshly cooked, and hot. She bought the take-out. It was good, tender, and hit the spot as she traveled to a food market. She bought pine cleaner, oil soap, remembered window cleaner, bleach, and floor cleaner.

Meridian shopped around the entire store, and found laundry soap, making certain she would not have to go out again for another day or two, anxiously getting back to revisit what she left behind.

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