Here is the final part of Pittown (Book 5 of the Waldmeer Series).
Chapter 36: Barcodes of Life
In Store Creek
The winding country road between Store Creek and the highway was the best part of the two-hour drive to the city. Merlyn watched the morning light skip along the trees. The thin branch-shadows on the road looked like a long line of barcodes. The mysterious barcodes of life, thought Merlyn. She felt content because, after all, who could not be at peace on such a beautiful morning? She remembered an Edgar Cayce saying that Enid often quoted,
Happiness is your choice to make. How happy or how miserable do you want to be?
She was on her way to Enid’s house for one of her regular catch-ups with Edgar which, in his ever-efficient way, he combined with checking on his mother’s house. They met there and then walked around the corner to Pittstop. Although Enid had been in the nursing home for over a year, Edgar had only recently put her house on the market. Merlyn did wonder if, once the house was sold, she and Edgar would find a new place to connect or if their friendship would fall into the pit of memories along with the house. She recalled another of Enid’s beloved Edgar Cayce quotes,
We are attracted to another person at a soul level because by being with that individual, we are somehow provided with an impetus to become whole ourselves.
As Merlyn pulled up at the house, she smiled at the hundreds of pansy seedlings which had been planted at the beginning of winter. The house would be sold before the pansies had a chance to show their value and, anyway, the new owner would probably pull them all out because who has time for gardening these days? Nevertheless, Edgar planted them as Enid had done for decades. Edgar was not a sentimental sort of person. Intelligent people don’t tend to be sentimental. But there stood the neat rows of little flowers patiently waiting for winter to pass.
Chapter 37: Natural Order
As Merlyn said goodbye to Edgar and was leaving Pittstop, the owner fumbled some of the plates and then, somehow, managed to catch them again.
“Good catch,” said Merlyn.
“Yes, I’m a good catch,” smiled the owner.
Merlyn laughed more heartily than the joke deserved because the owner was a good man and that was a worthy effort from him.
The crossing to Edgar’s Lake, at the bottom of the hill, was a busy intersection. Drivers in Pittown weren’t normally polite. When Merlyn lived there, she heard them all day long honking their horns at the smallest indiscretions. However, when Merlyn navigated the crossing to the lake, she often met with gentlemanly behaviour. A truck driver, from the quarry, stopped for her and nodded as if to say, Why, of course. How else would one behave?
Spotting the parent swans, Merlyn recalled the six cygnets that she knew so well during her year in Pittown. She barely saw this past year’s babies and now they had grown and gone their separate ways. Strange, thought Merlyn as she looked at the parent swans, how something can be fiercely protected with one’s whole being and then life changes and the valued thing is no longer a vital and intrinsic part of one’s consciousness. For swans, it is the natural order. For people, it may be natural, but it isn’t love.
Deciding to walk the long way around the lake, Merlyn saw, in the distance, that Tom’s unit was for sale. She hurried over as he was getting in his car.
“I thought you liked living in Pittown,” she said, although, even as the words came out, she realised that Tom had never inferred that he liked Pittown.
“It was necessary,” said Tom, “but it’s time to get out of the pit. Rybert is semi-retiring. He said that he wants more time to go places and do stuff, so I’m going to Wurt Wurt Koort.”
“What places?” asked Merlyn. “What stuff?”
“I’m not sure,” said Tom. “He mumbled something about the mountains.”
“Which mountains?” asked Merlyn.
“He said the ones near the border,” said Tom. “Don’t ask me. He didn’t make sense.”
“If you are in Wurt Wurt Koort, you will be near me in Store Creek,” said Merlyn clapping her hands. “At least, while Ben lets me live there.”
Chapter 38: The Marias
Maria overheard her father and grandmother talking quietly, one evening, in the lounge room.
“I’m surprised Gabriel hasn’t already returned to Waldmeer,” said Malik.
“Me too,” said Faith-Amira. “He was dreaming of it many times,” she added with one raised eyebrow. After a while, she said, “I better go back and see how he’s going.”
Maria burst into the room and sat on her grandmother’s lap. Although at thirteen, she was really too old for such things, she was such a slight girl that she easily fit on anyone’s lap. Her young appearance and gentle, unassuming nature lulled one into the impression of her being much younger than her actual age.
“I’ll go too,” exclaimed Maria.
“Absolutely not,” said Malik. “Off to bed.”
Faith looked at him. There was a streak of panic in his eyes. Maria sprang up and ran to her father. She tried to convince him that she would be safe and that she had always dreamed of going to a different place in the mountains. She had often spoken to her parents about the faraway land that appeared in her dreams. Every time she mentioned it, another thread grew in Malik’s protectiveness of her. Perhaps, also, another thread grew in his subconscious acknowledgement of the inevitable.
“Don’t worry, Malik,” said Faith trying to pacify her son. “She can’t come. We don’t know if the portal will remain open, so anyone who goes doesn’t know when they can return.” She would have added “if they can return” but Malik was already upset enough.
The next morning, Maria came from her room a different person. “Dad, I have made my decision,” she announced as if she had been asked to make one. “I’m going with Nannie.”
Malik went into the back garden to remove himself from the conversation and his fears. He sat in their small orchard. It had been planted by his Earth-grandfather, Lenny. Lenny also had a Maria who took her own path in life. That little Maria eventually turned into Malik’s mother, Faith-Amira. I suppose if grandfather Lenny could let go of his Maria, thought Malik, I can too. It would have been harder for him because he knew nothing but here. Earth is not my native home. Malik felt humbled that after his spiritually-privileged upbringing and training, he was in the same position as his grandfather who had none of that and met the same challenge, in the same house no less, with instinctive wisdom and love.
Chapter 39: Winter Solstice
Back in Pittown
The winter solstice was a few days ago. It was mid-afternoon and Merlyn felt that she should return to Store Creek so that she wasn’t driving on the country stretch in the dark. What was delightful in the morning was less so at night.
As she got to her car, she took one final look at the pansies. They seemed so vulnerable; all spaced out, with no connection to each other, and nothing to protect them. You would think that it would be better to plant them in spring and then they wouldn’t have to suffer through winter, she thought. But, maybe, that’s how they get strong.
As she pulled up at Nanna’s House, the last light was disappearing over the farthest hill. Jumping out of the car to open the gate, she quickly got back in again to avoid the blast of cold air. She wondered how long it would take her to get the fire going. Maybe, she would just turn on the electric blanket and sit in bed. It had been a long day.
The End of Pittown (Book 5 of Waldmeer)