She sighs at the smudgy sky, counts the days since she last spoke to someone — not the specific Someone Who Shall Not Be Named, any someone — returns her attention to the tangible act of twining wire fencing into bales nearly as large as she, mutant snails roaming her barren land.
Barren, when mere weeks ago farm interns and hired hands feverishly harvested. Hers, by abandonment until, if, when, she signs the papers. She shunts these wayward thoughs, wrangles the last of the wire, looks again to the sky as if to conjure a murder of crows.
Unruly migration this year, a weak wet fall limping toward sullen soggy winter, she is, at last, in perfect harmony with the weather. As she and her love once were, harmonious. Once, as in recent, not Once Upon a Time, theirs no fairy tale, despite her wholehearted belief, once, this was to be her Happily Every After.
She trudges to the barn, pockets a stray turnip. She will abandon nothing sprung from this earth, unlike some people who blithely disregard these precious gifts, fail to appreciate this labored bounty, people who have lived a life so blessed as to assume abundance. People who have the financial luxury of flitting from one utopian ideal to another, pollinating with their presence, buzzing to the next.
People who convinced others of the wisdom of buying a farm in the middle of the country, a land far far away from the Santa Cruz produce collective where they first flirted across piles of cabbages.
Sensible, buying a farm abut the family ranch of her partner’s childhood, built-in mentors willing to invest in them as they invested in the land, land from which they could travel during the fallow winter months, their claim stake watched over by benevolent eyes. The same eyes remain on her, now, awaiting her sensible decision to accept their reasonable cash offer.
Hard won, this land. The first months of dirt-meals-dirt-haul-hammer-dirt-shower-bed, conversation limited to the practical, jokes of becoming taciturn people of the land to break the silence. Miraculous moments: beds dug, plants planted, sheds propped, barn raised, produce to market. The second year a tornado whipped away the greenhouse and her tomatoes in one terrifying blast of air. But their sunflowers grew as tall and friendly as the familial community, birds returned each spring. Prosperous omens.
The farm, the ranch, indistinguishable from one another but for the erected barriers, as porous as they once were. They who birthed a dream, remodeled a ramshackle house, planted crops, shared a bed and meals and soap and underwear.
Boundary-less, until cleaved. She cannot feel the borders of herself, still.
Birds squawk overhead. They refuse to move on, despite what climatory pleasures await down South. They seem to prefer the known bitterness.
A sign for her to divine.
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