Thursday, December 23, 2010

Southbound


Harry B. Sanderford

Maggie leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the Greyhound bus window. Over the river and through the woods, she thought watching the snow west of Interstate 95 melt away into skinny pines and palmettos. 
Brunswick 2, Jacksonville 70, slid by riding a green rectangle.
It had been fifteen years since she’d been south of Atlanta, twenty since she’d been home. A lifetime, she thought shifting position to stretch her legs. As a young girl her curiosity and ambition had been far too great to be contained in any small town. Maggie grabbed her diploma, loaded her Corolla and left Middleburg and everyone in it behind like shoes that no longer fit, to run barefoot out into the world.
She flipped a coin at Interstate 10 to choose between Hollywood and New York City. Heads, the Big Apple. Tails, Tinsel Town. Heads it was, so she stayed on 95 North and headed for the Empire City.
She did ok there too, better than most. A pretty girl and smarter than some, she found work right away. She modeled for catalogs at first. An agent spotted her in J.C. Penney Ready To Wear and soon a couple of local commercials, then a part in a sitcom pilot came her way.  From there, she was off and running. The good life came easy, but it did not come free.
 Big Talbot Island State Park, I-10 Baldwin, Maclenny 2
Maggie arched her back and rolled her head side to side working out a kink. She’d been to so many exciting new places and met so many new people. She’d fallen in and out of love maybe a time or two more than she cared to recall. In the end, how much of it really mattered? Her name was short for Magnolia, not Margaret like most would guess. All those winters spent with the terribly cool and sometimes the down-right cold, had taught her one thing; not every tree is meant to drop its leaves and stand stoically awaiting the arrival of spring.
Lakeside, Middleburg 3
Florida was a coin she tossed. How could it now be burning a hole in her pocket? All she knew was, the closer she got, the more she just missed home. She wondered how home might feel about her. She had not called ahead so nobody met her at the depot. It wasn’t so far now.  She picked up her suitcase to walk the last leg of her journey down the dirt road that led home. At the crossroads where her daddy’s property began, she sat down on her suitcase and lit a cigarette. Maggie had seen the foot-lights on Broadway, the bright lights of Time Square on New Year’s Eve, and surely the lights of Paris brought a tear to her eye, but it was a thousand feet of Christmas lights strung on a barbed wire fence in the middle of nowhere Florida, that finally made her break down and cry. 


18 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

Nice work Harry. Merry Xmas.

Steve Green said...

A very nicely written piece Harry, home is, and always will be where the heart is, and I guess this girl had it brought home to her.

Merry Christmas Harry.

Mike Handley said...

Awesome, Harry. The "green rectangle" might be one of the best lines I've ever read.

theothersideofdeanna said...

Oh this is fantastic Harry! I want to know more about this poor woman, which I hope you'll take (and accept) as a hint.

Merry Christmas!

julito77 said...

Love the coin toss line with Florida, nice way to put that. This character definitely has regret.

Kevin Michaels said...

Well done Harry. An excellent and well written story. Beautiful!

Sugar said...

Love this, Har! A journey through time with a heartfelt last line. Merry Christmas!

John Wiswell said...

I want to ride a green rectangle...

Laurita said...

Excellent story, Harry. Beautifully written, with some lovely phrasing. That last image really lingers.

Happy holidays, my friend.

Marion Morrison said...

I've said it before... I'll say it again... My brother should write a book!

Roy Sanderford

eb said...

you made me teary-eyed, harry! had just gotten done writing about heading to my small home town tonight. i'll be looking at some barbed wire myself this eve.

Eric J. Krause said...

There's just something about home for Christmas. Good story!

Gita Smith said...

Fine writing, Harry. It has brains and heart.

Stephen said...

So much truth here, Harry, and the piece really gets us into Magnolia's character. It leaves me hopeful that her father will greet her with open arms. It sounds like she needs a giant hug.

Harry said...

Thanks alot everyone! I hope everyone got to their "home" for Christmas and I hope you all have an excellent New Year coming your way in 2011!

Jodi MacArthur said...

I lved ths line "She wondered how home might feel about her." I wonder teh same thng too smetimes! It's a fntastic story, Har bro. The last line is the clincher.

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

You have such an honest, earthy writing style and when you're writing women, you have an admiration that makes them pretty and fresh in all kinds of new ways.
This one was winsome and wonderful. Happy holidays, Harry!

The Blue Jay Cafe said...

Loved it.