Tuning In [11]

Something about me that is a small superpower: I am keenly observant and intuitive when I want to be. When I’m not shutting it down and trying to hide from it. It gets very weird sometimes, which is why I tend to close down my field of awareness and operate in “tunnel vision” a lot.
What was it Ole Gravelpants said to me? “Stop tuning things out. You can’t afford it.”
I looked around and found a long log to sit down on, and thought for a second. I decided that either we were going to establish a healthy, secret-free relationship, or there could be no relationship here.
So rather than politely squelch what I was extrapolating from the Long Look between Albert and Grace, I took a chance.
Speaking in a rush, I said, “You two are much older than you look, aren’t you? I say that because you have the kind of wordless communication that only occurs between old married couples. And the fact that you’re exchanging one of those looks over my question about how you know all that stuff from the 1950s tells me that you have a secret that you’re afraid to share with me. And given the fact that the entire universe is slowly dissolving around me, I am going to apply Occam’s Razor here and assume that you two have been involved in all of this crap for a very long time. Also, your names are TOTALLY two centuries ago. And normally I wouldn’t say any of this out loud because I’m pretty sure Albert’s gonna shoot me for it, but Pebbles said something about ‘not tuning things out’, so… I’m just going with it. Because blatantly honest seems to me like the only way forward right now.”
As the words poured out of me, they began to look- then stare- at me and their eyes got increasingly larger the longer I went on.
There was a long silence, and I stared hard at the ground, feeling like an idiot or a delusional old bat. But, I told myself, everything is crazy right now, so… who cares?
Finally, Grace came over to sit next to me.
“You’re rather bright, aren’t you?” she asked, with a small laugh in her voice. I dared to look in her eye. There was a twinkle there, and smile creases at the corners.
Albert dropped his arms, gun dangling in the casual way cowboys in old westerns sometimes did, pointed his chin at the sky, let out an exasperated “GUFF”, and then stomped around in a small circle, shaking his head and rubbing the back of his neck.
“He doesn’t like it when I take in “strays””, she laughed, conspiratorially. “He dislikes complications.”
She leaned closer to me and took my arm and hugged it, the way grandmas will sometimes do with kids.
“I promise I’m housebroken,” I said to Albert. “Well, MOSTLY.”
He stopped, shot me a cross look, and then cracked up. We all laughed some more.
“Yes. Ok, yes. You’re right. We’re young compared to some of us, but we grew up in Kansas when there were only 25 states in the Union,” he said.
“WHAT?”
“Yes. I was born in 1855 near Shawnee Mission. Grace was born in 1857 near Lawrence.”
“The Civil War? The Lawrence…Massacre?”
Grace sighed, deeply, and let go of my arm. “Yes, I was just barely six years old when Quantrill came. Daddy was away with Colonel Montgomery. Mama and my brothers and I ran off into the corn field and hid. They burned our house, shot the cow, and took our horses. They killed the neighbor boys and their dad.”
Albert growled, “Bloody Bill. That pig.”
I tried to recover my dropped jaw, but I was completely stunned. “I’m… so sorry, Grace!”
She patted my hand on my leg. “It’s fine, dear. It was a longgg time ago.”
Albert smiled and the look between them now was loving. “And yet only a moment.”
I blushed and looked at the ground.

Published by goddesswest

I'm a painter and am writing something now. People keep asking me to put it together in an easier to access place, so here I am. Plan to get some of my artwork in here too, eventually.

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