Welcome to my blog

Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 3 - A Crisp Fall Evening

Halloween was two days away, and Molly couldn’t decide whether to bake cookies, buy candy, or sit the whole thing out.

She stared out the front window at the rustic gate, which cut her off from the outside world whenever she locked it. And from all those kids.

Molly thought back to last Halloween. The kids were nice enough. Parents even accompanied some of them. She remembered liking the huge mouse costume one young teenager wore. It was a bother, though, waiting for the kids to arrive, handing out the candy, making sure everyone got out through the gate safely, worrying that one of those costumes might harbor someone more dangerous…

It used to be okay, years ago, even fun. Her own kids, Howard and Sophia, were grown and long gone and with no grandkids nearby, she was alone much of the time and liked it just fine.

The neighborhood had changed in recent years, the children seemed less respectful. She remembered standing at the gate and seeing their staring eyes looking back at her. The younger ones were especially strange.

She walked to the gate, unlocked it and stepped out. The street was quiet. No children. No adults. No cars. She locked the gate behind her and walked to the sidewalk then shuffled the half a block to the little green park at the end of the street. She found a bench and sat. A cool breeze brushed her white hair. The sun lay low on the horizon, visible through a break in the trees.

“Miss Molly?”

She jumped at the tiny voice behind her then turned to see a girl about seven years old, arms at her side, smiling. Who is that? she thought.

“I liked your cookies last year,” the girl said.

“And what is your name, young lady?”

“You don’t remember me?” The girl paused a second. “I’m Patsy from across the street.” She pointed. “Over there.”

Molly squinted her eyes, trying to remember.

“Michael liked them too.” Patsy paused. “My brother?”

“Oh. Yes. Michael … he liked them?”

Patsy said, “Got to get home. Of course he liked them, all the kids liked them. Be sure to make more for us this year.”

After Patsy left, Molly sat in silence as the sun vanished below the horizon and the breeze grew cooler. They liked my cookies, she thought. Nobody ever said that to me before. Finally she stood and shuffled back up the sidewalk, unlocked the gate and stepped inside.

But, she thought, the kids were such a bother. Such a bother. They broke into her privacy and they never did anything for her.

And yet. Patsy, so innocent, liked her cookies. Michael (which one was he anyway) liked her cookies. Why hadn’t anyone told her before? She looked back at the locked gate, at the world it shielded her from, at the kids, like Patsy and Michael, that it shielded her from. In that moment she realized the truth. That gate shielded her from the bother and it shielded her from the kids and it shielded her from their compliments even, yes, from their love.

And what about her own kids, who rarely called? Were they blocked by her wall as well?

She walked back to the gate, unlocked it and propped it open. She made a mental note: buy cookie dough tomorrow.

Inside the house, she sat at the kitchen table, picked up the telephone and dialed Howard’s number.

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