They say I wander the roads in search of my lost lover, but sure it’s been so many years, lass, I hardly remember him. I may have been mad with grief long ago. I wouldn’t trade my freedom for him now. You might say it’s a hard life I lead, and it’s true, some days I’m chilled and weary to the very bone, but do you know what it’s like to awaken in a haystack, nothing but green fields for miles around you? The smell of wet hay and damp earth, the freshness of the cold air, the silver drops of dew sparkling on the grass? No, you won’t get that waking in a warm bed.
I wander for the gray skies and changing clouds above me, the hills and far horizons around me, the firm ground under my feet, the feel of the wind blowing my hair, the fine mist of drizzle on my face. The glory of God’s creation. I swing my arms and whistle a tune, no earthly possessions to weigh me down.
When you invite me into your cottage to sit by the fire, your cup of hot tea warms my cold fingers and empty belly, a blessing. I won’t say no to a crust of bread and bowlful of soup. Mayhap I’ll smile and tell you a story of Crazy Jane when she was young like you, before she loved so unwisely, before she lost everything and took to the roads. Perhaps you’ll pity me, shake your head and wrap your shawl tighter around your shoulders. But make no mistake, I don’t envy you neither.
Jacqueline Doyle lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has recent flash in The Collagist, Juked, and The Journal of Compressed Arts, and a flash chapbook (The Missing Girl) with Black Lawrence Press. Find her online at http://www.jacquelinedoyle.com
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