End of Summer
Sandy Steinman

The sweet smell of hay wafts into the open kitchen window. It’s the first Sunday in July. Scrubbed, combed, I’m dining with the Davis family on their dairy farm, my second summer here, a planet away from our dark Brooklyn apartment.  

I could hardly wait for school to let out and my parents to drive me here. My heart thumped and jumped all the way. I love it here. Two joyous months.

In Brooklyn nothing makes sense. What’s the point of school? Who needs logarithms? Farm life is purposeful. I’m needed. Planting seeds for corn to eat. Squash. Peppers. Beans. Feeding chickens, gathering eggs, milking cows.

I’ve my own bedroom. Yellow curtains with blue flowers match the quilt that the farmer’s wife sewed up.

Today I look across the dinner table at kind worn faces. Today I am part of this family, wish I could live here year round.

Suddenly, a strange noise. The farmer struggles up from the table, a croaking sound from his throat. He clutches his neck, falls to the floor. A stroke!

I am sent outside. “Out of the way, child.”

Sobbing, I hear snatches of hushed conversation in the kitchen. An ambulance whines. I am told to pack my things. My parents are on their way.

I am silent on the drive back to Brooklyn. Numb. Dirt streaked tears run down my face. Summer is over and it’s not yet the fourth of  July.

First published: May, 2014
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