by Ron Van Sweringen
Her name was Evie Adams and she lived up the street from me. The house wasn’t much, mostly covered by an overgrown garden and an enormous shade tree. I used to see her sitting under it occasionally when I passed by. She even waved to me on occasion.
I wondered about her. She seemed to live alone, my never having seen any other member of her family in the garden. I did notice some animals–a goat, a cow and some chickens which seemed to roam at will. I found the bucolic scene charming and actually more than that, enchanting.
One sweltering day in August I lingered a bit longer than was necessary when passing her garden. My reward was the unusual sight of her dancing in the water from a lawn sprinkler. Her hair was golden in the sunlight and she wore a white bathing suit. To say she was beautiful to my 18 year old eyes would be an understatement. When she noticed me and waved, motioning me to come into the garden, my heart tripped. What had I done to deserve this?
The gate on the white picket fence opened easily. The air in the garden was noticeably cooler than the street. I could hear her tinkling laughter as I slowly drew near on the long path. Flowers of every sort grew in profusion; it seemed to be nature gone wild in the most magnificent fashion. It occurred to me this might be a dream, maybe I’d overslept that Saturday morning–but no, I decided it was much too real to be a dream.
Her voice was delightful, seeming to float softly on the air. We talked for a moment. I told her my name and she told me hers. Then she asked me if I’d like a glass of iced tea. Of course I accepted as an excuse to stay longer in paradise.
I took a seat on the ground beneath the shade tree and watched her dance away toward the house. Birds were singing and I was about to close my eyes when I noticed it in the ivy. She returned a few minutes later with a tray and the glasses of iced tea. I stepped forward immediately to prepare her for what had happened, but she saw it before I could speak and dropped the tray.
“I’m sorry,” I said, “the snake was so large I had to kill it.”
Tears filled her eyes as she sank down on her knees. A moment later she wiped her eyes and looked at me. Speaking softly she asked, “Does this mean you’re not into apples either?”