Before I get into this weeks’ story, I just wanted to clear up a possible misconception based on the title of these posts.
I call this ‘Memories of Aiyana’ because it’s me, remembering her. It’s not because anything has happened to her! However much time I spend here, in your time, I’m back home every day about ten minutes after I leave then.
These are just my stories, my memories, and you have to remember I’m now looking back a couple of centuries in my personal timeline. It’s a bit remote, so the title seemed right to me.
Anyways, enough of my blather.
Memories of Aiyana, Part 4
I’m going to bore you some more, I think.
How interesting can it possibly be to read about two little girls growing up in the back end of nowhere? I mean, we loved it, but then we had each other and our families and all the things that can fascinate a kid.
For example, Aiyana’s parents grew all their own vegetables; they had a greenhouse, which was actually bigger than their home, and so she grew up with fresh anything all the time. Since I was her best friend and lived next door, I got all the same stuff. Boy, was that a shock when I moved away and had to go shopping for myself! I mean, strawberries in December ought to be tender and sweet and juicy and beautiful ruby red, right? Yeah, those things in the market aren’t strawberries, I don’t care what they call them.
Fresh fruit and vegetables all year, and we always just went in and helped ourselves to whatever they had marked off for us. They were good about that; they didn’t want us randomly grabbing whatever, but they also wanted her to have good, fresh food, so they would open up an area for us. Anything there, we could have.
If it was a century earlier, they would have been called hippies. They were on the grid, but they had a solar farm which was big enough to power the entire place and then some. After Cass and I started hanging with each other, they added more to their farm and hooked my folks’ home into their grid, so we never had a cold, dark, powerless winter night again. That was nice; it was fun snuggling with my dog under the covers, but not so much fun seeing my breath in my bedroom.
They also had chickens running around, eating all the scraps the family produced, plus bugs and frogs and anything else their tiny tyrannosaurus beaks could catch. During the winter they stayed in a barn with the rest of the livestock. Oh, none of the animals ever got killed for food. They ate eggs, and milk from the cows, and they sheared the sheep and got what milk they could from them; have you ever tried to milk a sheep who didn’t want you to? They’re mean!
It was a fun place to visit and hang out, and we girls had the run of it.
One day, it must have been early spring because there was still snow on the ground, we were playing in the barn. There was that lingering smell of animals, cut by the cool spring air and overlaid by hay, and we were running around in the loft. I think we were playing tag.
She said, “I’m thirsty. I’m getting a drink.” We had drinks down below.
“Aww, I was about to tag you!”
“I’ll be right back, and I’ll be it, okay?”
I lit up at that. I could keep away from her just about forever; she was taller, even then, but I was faster.
She was heading for the ladder, and I turned to tell her that was fine so I saw what happened. She wasn’t looking at where she was going and she put her foot down right on a patch of old hay, dusty and slippery, and her leg went out from under her. Naturally, she fell, but she fell right past the hatch to the ladder and towards the edge of the loft and over!
“Kendra!” she screamed as she fell.
She managed to catch the edge of the floor with one hand, then tried to grab with the other but kept snatching hay.
“Kendra!” she yelled again.
I broke out of my freeze and sprinted, then dove flat-out for her hand, sliding on the same hay. Yeah, I know now, dumb, but I was five. I just knew that Aiyana was in danger and I had to get to her, fast, and jumping seemed faster.
I reached for her hand with mine, grabbing it as her fingers let go and clasped around my wrist, then dug my other hand’s fingernails into the wood of the floor so I didn’t go over too. We hung there for about half of eternity, one hand clinging to hers, one hand splintering wood.
“I’ve got you,” I panted.
“I knew you would,” she said. “Pull me up?”
“In a minute,” I said. Rescuing damsels in distress was something new for me and I hadn’t worked out all the details.
“I don’t think I can,” I finally said. “I’m not strong enough.”
“Kendra, let your arm come down,” she said. She’d been thinking too, you see.
“I need you to swing your arm.”
“Swing my arm? You’ll fall!”
“No, I won’t. You’ll see.”
I inched along the boards until the arm holding her was all the way over, both of her hands now on my wrist and my hand wrapped around her right wrist. My body was parallel to the edge, and that was as close as I wanted to get.
“I’m going to start swinging now,” she said, very calm. “You help me with your arm.”
So we started her swinging, and each time she got a little bit higher.
Just when I thought my arm was going to give out, and I was going to tell her, she said, “Next one, biggest swing you can do, all the way around!”
She had a plan, so I did the biggest swing I could, and up and over the edge she came, letting go of my wrist at the top of the arc and going sailing away from the edge to land in a thump.
“You okay?” I asked, scrambling over and away from the edge.
She was giggling.
“That was fun!”
“Fun? You could have fallen! You’d be in big trouble with your dad!”
Hey, I was five, remember? Broken bones are nothing compared to the Wrath of Dad.
“No,” she said. “I knew you wouldn’t let me fall.”
The rest of the game was played on the lower level, that day.