Originally posted February 21, 2012
The chair rocked back and forth, back and forth in the ruts worn into the porch boards. Lizze’s feet hit the smooth impressions created by her feet hitting the same spot innumerable times over the years. The lines in her face told of a long life full of many hardships. The twinkle in her brown eyes and the ever-present smile on her lips told of how she had faced it all with grace and wisdom.
Lizze was born to a generation of that lived through a time with more changes than any other; through wars, depression, the dust bowl, global warming, and changes in transportation. When she was born, families were fortunate to have a horse. Who could have imagined the fine automobiles that exist today or that men would fly?
Through it all, Lizze carried a secret. Her expressive eyes slightly revealed the pain for a split second just thinking of it. It was time for her to tell her story.
Jed, her son, had traveled the 150 miles to see her as soon as she called. He had heard the slight strain in her voice and knew it was important. The screen door closed with the familiar bang as he came through it carrying two glasses of fresh-made lemonade. Lizze made it earlier knowing it was his favorite. Once settled and sipping the lemonade, he waited knowing whatever she wanted to tell him, she would do it at her own pace. Ten minutes passed before she began.
“I want to tell ya a story about somethin’ that happened when I was a young girl.”
“OK, Mom. I’m listening.”
“I saw a murder when I was nine years old.”
Jed gasped as he looked into the eyes of his mother. So many questions running through his mind.
“I was on my way home from school. You know I had to walk a far piece. Screams from toward the river, I heard. I should have ran to tell someone. Instead I moved toward the ruckus. My palms were sweaty.” She looks at her hands like it was happening now. ” I was scared but just kept moving closer. I peeked through the bushes. There was one man standing over another. He had a shovel in his hands. The yelling and cussing was followed by begging and pleading. The man on the ground threw dirt in the others face. ‘Run’ my mind told me but I was froze. The two men scuffled. Punching and rolling. Before long the first man, the shovel man, pulled out a knife and stabbed the other. I must have made a little sound ’cause he looked my direction. I hunkered down forcing myself to be still and quiet. He listened a while – seemed all day. When he was satisfied there was nobody there, he pushed the other man’s body into the water. That splash still wakes me sometime. I waited until I was sure he was gone and I hightailed it home. I didn’t recognize either man. I ran right to my room and lay there shaking and crying until I was called to supper.”
When Jed found his voice, “Did you ever see the murderer again?”