This story was originally published in the Warrior Writers publication on Medium.com
Graham loved their visits to the farm.
He didn’t know why his mother was friends with the old couple who lived there. Nor did he know the back-story of how his mother had first met Mrs. Simpson in town and exchanged pleasantries, which led to recognizing a familiar accent and school scarf from the old country, and from there a strong bond in an unfamiliar land.
Graham didn’t know any of this. Nor did he care.
Graham just liked eating Mrs. Simpson’s home-baked ginger snaps at the old wooden table in the large farm kitchen, beside the window which overlooked the vegetable patch and the verdant fields beyond. Graham liked the cozy, old-fashioned feel of the place. And he liked kindly Mr. Simpson who let him tag along while he did his chores about the farmyard, and didn’t mind when Graham wandered off to explore, once the farm work no longer fascinated.
Graham’s favorite spot was behind the barn where a tangle of long grass and weeds housed a grave-yard of rusting farm equipment. In the middle of this odd assortment of strange and intriguing devices was an old tractor. It may have been red originally but years under the beating sun and the gradual spread of rust had turned it to mottled shades of orange and sienna.
Graham loved the rows of rounded bolt heads along the top edge of the tractor hood and down the sides. He liked to run his hand along the rumpled surface, rough edges briefly catching fingertips.
But most of all, he liked to sit in the molded metal seat and imagine himself driving the beast. His arms could barely reach what was left of the steering wheel and there was no way his feet could reach what would have been pedals, if the pedals still existed. But that didn’t matter. Graham’s vivid imagination took care of filling in the gaps in reality.
Inevitably, Graham’s mother’s distant call would break his revery. He wouldn’t immediately respond because he knew this call meant it was time to end his imaginary game and head back home. Back to the busy town where he lived. Back to the grey paved streets and brick walls. The honking cars and choking fumes. The hurried people rushing by with no time to tell a small boy the proper way to milk a cow, or how to tell when cucumbers were ready to pick, or offer him a plate of ginger snaps and glass of milk.
The town so far from the green fields and forests he loved.