The Lonely Tree House- Written by Evelyn Rodriguez-Lallave Author/Blogger
As I walked through the old path that once took me home on foot so many years ago, before I was 17, I rubbed my left knee with one hand and with the other I rubbed the tears from my tired eyes. 24 long years have passed since the last day that I walked these dirt roads and grassy path. Twenty four long years since I went away and got married to my high school sweet heart.
Was it that a good choice. At time it seemed it was. My childhood had been hard to deal and cope with, with many siblings and only my mother as a single parent to care for all of us, with odd jobs, no child support, no welfare, and only a small social services check and food stamps to go by. There were time when we cried for food or argued about it, because it wasn’t enough for everyone so we had to share the little we could. I never realized how much people can you feed with only half loaf of bred until I saw it happening during a weekend morning breakfast once.
I sometime imagine that that’s how the French invented the super tiny food portions they serve in many of their chick debonair restaurants. Someone might have copy the poor’s food ration system or maybe they copied it form the time of the depression era. I’d have to research that later some time soon. We aren’t French. We are Spanish which to some is almost the same, but with less class. I guess we are the getto or hillbilly cousins. But ironically my husband’s last name is Lallave. And I was told by a Frenchman that Lallave was a “Francoise” surname. He is not sure if that’s true but he doesn’t really know if his last name is French or Italian. He did looked Italian to me when I met him and immediately fell in love with him. But to marry him mainly to leave my childhood problems and home behind wasn’t really the best and smartest choice I’ve made in my life. He’d broken up my heart so many times, broken my spirit too. Looking back at my childhood it sometimes makes me think that it wasn’t as bad as it had seem to me at the time. But it really was. I was a almost feral child with no one to watch after me the right way.
Most times, I felt unloved and abandoned and lots of the time I felt that I was a nuisance to my mother, that she would have been happier if I wasn’t born or if I ran away. And I sort if did many times. I ran away to hide in the woods or at friend’s and relative’s houses hearing her cry my name multiple times for until she got tired of calling me an sent one of my siblings or cousins to go look after me and try to find me wherever it was that I had gone to hide. My sister, the one that was only a year older than me, always found me. And I was kind of happy when she did, and kind of sad too, because it meant that it was time to say good by bye to my roofless three house and the clouds my true only confidant and best friends. But my sister was always there for me to listen, to protect me, even when she had no idea what I needed protection from, she was willing to save me. I knew it. She knew it.
“There you are! I found you! Mom was calling you for almost an hour. Why didn’t you answered to her, our brothers were calling you and me too. Everyone was worried for you, you know! We always worry when you disappear like that. I’m afraid that one day I may not find you ever! “, “I don’t believe you. But I’m going home now. So stop bothering me and getting so sad. Besides you will always find me. You know that. ” She smiled and sometimes even tried to hug me. She knew where to find me at any given time. At least most of the time she did.
At times I felt that no one cared for me, not even her. Specially the time when she left home to go college with some bight student’s scholarship and I stayed behind. All alone, with my mother and my younger siblings, in that gossipy small town that was drowning me in it and eating me alive. Hence the feeling of loneliness and abandonment alone hidden inside a makeshift tree house lost in the woods to escape my reality. To write poem there and stories while imagining myself to be Emily Bronte or some other known writer. I would hid to read on the dark isles of my town’s public libraries as many fiction and police drama stories that I could get my hands on. I had access to four libraries in my childhood, one was from a private University who allowed me to borrow books there because my cousin, who obviously had a better life than I did, went here for her English teaching major and told them about my early curiosity for reading and writing. They would renew my books with one single phone call, I didn’t even had to go physically to the libraries for the Librarian to stamp by book, as long as I wrote down the due dates for them they would take care of the rest when the book was finally return. They never mind the lateness, nor the food or dirt marks in them. They did minded me bending the pages and were always on my case about it, until one of the handsome young librarians printed a pink and blue card board to make a book mark for me and gave it to me as gift. The pink on that book mark was almost as pink as the car he used to ride to work. It was a pepto color pink and I always made me smile seeing it in the library’s parking lot or passing me by because it reminded me the stomach ache medicine with the same color. The young librarian always waved at me. He was much older than I was but I knew by a trustful source that he had had a crush on me for a while.
“I heard that you don’t like guys from this town, and that you said you will never marry one from it. Is that true?” He once asked me all of the sudden when I was returning a book I had finished reading. “That’s right! Is very true” I said looking at him in the eyes defiantly, like a little brat. “I will never date or marry anyone from this town. I hate it. Is a whole in the middle of nowhere, like a volcano waiting to explode and I’m going to be out of here soon. To never come back. You’ll see.” “But what about your mom and your siblings? They all gonna miss you if you leave them. You’re the youngest girl in your home, your sister’s will be very said if you leave them and they don’t know where you go. Have you ever thought of that?” He seemed very angry at me when he confronted me about what I said about leaving town in the near future. He was angry at me and sad too. “I’m not going to vanish. I simply want a better life and there’s nothing for me here. You don’t know it, cause you have everything. Your nice car, a very sweet mom, and your nice pretty girlfriend. But I have nothing or no one. So I’m finding my someone and I’m leaving with him one day very far away. I’m going to places and I’m going far. You’ll see. Nothing can’t stop me. Not even you. Not that you will want to try to stop me.” I said that in a challenging but sad tone. Maybe he felt sorry for me, because he leaned forward and planted a small soft kiss on my cheeks. I blushed and turned away. I saw him once more before I left town. That time I knew that it would be a really long time before I see him. He was engaged to his girlfriend and I dating my future husband not sure yet if he was the one, but knowing that the librarian with the pepto car wasn’t the one. And we kissed good bye. He wished for more than a kiss but I was saving myself for the one, the charming prince in the white horse who will whisk me away to a far away land and maybe to a castle or a mansion one day. But my prince charming took forever to whisk me away and choose me over all the other damsels that were after him and waiting for him to also choose them, so I met a frog who pretended to be a prince, who lied and cheated me out of my most precious treasures and left me, for a wife and her castle. She was his queen and I was less than a maid for him. Finally my prince charming decided to come for me and forget all the other damsels that fought for his affection. He dropped one knee in front of them and proposed to me. He chose me. I was the one for him. I was above myself that finally someone had chosen me first and to be his wife. I extended my not so princess like hands with stubby small fingers and said one word. “Yes!” He couldn’t believed it. He couldn’t fathom that I would say Yes to him, but I did. “You said Yes? Do you really want to marry me? Are you one hundred percent sure? Don’t go changing your mind later! If you say you will marry me we are going to marry very soon. No next year but this same year. ok?” I didn’t understood his urge to marry in less than a year but I agreed to marry in 11 months. I met his ogre father before the wedding and I realized that my 18 year old Prince was also running away. We should’ve eloped as we initially had planned, but things weren’t so easy, so we put on our best gowns and married instead. My mother had to give consent and she reluctantly did as I said I would run away with him if we weren’t married, because to me he was already my husband. She agreed as she thought the best of him and signed. And we lived happily ever after. Until now when the problems began, mostly money problems and none of us know how to get out of the whole where we got ourselves into. So he works and drinks to forget. I drink with him and write to forget. Or to remember the things that were once forgotten, like my youth, my childhood years, the people that are gone to never come back, like my mother and my brother, and the people that once cared about me like my old school friends, including the librarians who were always very fond of me.
Remembering all this I looked up the hills, knowing that behind one of these hills the house of my old librarian friend is still standing, and the house of all my other childhood friend and relatives are still there, even after the hurricane Maria, wearing and waiving its colors like some sort of independence flag. I see the houses, some tiny, some very large. His was humble and a moderate large home. I stop and take a deep breath of fresh air and my eyes dries finally as I stare at the immensity of the blue sky above, with its round voluptuous cumulus clouds. They haven’t lost their glow nor their youth. “Holla! Welcome back home Eva!”, they seem to say. And there’s an eco coming from the mountains repeating my name, “Eva, Evaa,Evaaa!” They cloud me and happily, like a dog watching it owner coming home after a long day at work, they turn around and around dancing holding hands and forming bunnies, elephants, air planes and all sort off odd silly shapes while they wink at me mischievously, because they recognize in me their old little feral Niña, their little wild princess and friend who played hide and seek with them so very often that they missed her greatly when she was gone.
To the clouds she was gone for good. The poor clouds believed that something really bad had happened to their old friend. Their little indian princess girl, as they called her. They believed she was taken away by a mean caravan of toothless Albanian gypsies or by some greedy old evil man with not so good intentions. But now that they devised her in the distance, approaching the long abandoned wood tree house, climbing through the same old green hills and walking through the same old dirt roads as she always did in the past, on foot, they knew that their little indian princess was back home to her lonely tree house hidden in the woods. And they were very happy to see her. So happy that they showered her with the first spring drops of rain as a sign of good luck. It was the 1st of May, and a folklore’s tale says that if you go under the rain in the fist of may or the first day of Spring then you have good luck through out the whole year.
“Eva, Evaa, Evaaa. Here is your Sring gift. Here is your fists drops of rain come dance with us under the rain, or let’s play hide and seek. You hide and we find you along the road, like we always did.” And I ran not letting the clouds get me and we all laughed even a wild dog ran next to me laughing too and barking at the clouds. And as I’m running hiding from the clouds and their gift. I finally reach the lonely house on the trees. To my surprise there’s a pink rolls royce parked right at the end of the dirt road, as if it was waiting all these years for me to return back home.
To be Continued…