Chapter 11

The Cut & Run

By 7:30, Lila was in the yard working in the flowerbeds, enjoying the early morning sun.  She and Amber used to plant flowers around the house that were so thick with color that the dirt was virtually undetectable.  The sweet fragrance filled the air to the point that it was almost intoxicating to swing in the rocker on the porch, which their parents did often.  Amber had been as meticulous with the yard and garden as she was with the inside of the house.  Lila was thrilled to be home and to actually have a place she could call her own.  As she sat on the grass, trimming one of the boxwoods that bordered the stairs, she saw a shadow of a woman fall over her and grow larger as she drew nearer.

Mrs. Schnettle, who had noticed Lila in the yard upon returning from her morning snoop, had come over to find out who the new gardener was at the Bott’s.  “What are you doing here?” she inquired curtly.  “Who are you?”  Her posture was rigid and offensive.

Lila twisted her head up and back to get a peek at her visitor.  “Good morning,” she said, standing and slapping her hands together to get the dirt off before greeting her new neighbor.  “I’m Lila Graham, the new owner.”  She smiled and reached her hand out in friendship.  “Do you live next door?”

“That’s right.  I’m Fran Schnettle,” she said curtly, “and nothing gets by me in this neighborhood.  Where are the Botts?”

“Well, apparently something got by you if you didn’t know the Botts were moving!”  Lila reached down to pick up her tools.  “May I offer you some lemonade?”

“Who drinks lemonade this early in the morning?”  Fran replied rudely.  “You’d better watch yourself in this neighborhood.  We don’t put up with any shenanigans here.”

“My goodness; you don’t even know me and yet you’re threatening me on my own property?  Some welcome!”  Lila crossed back over to the other side of the walk and sat down to trim the other bush.  “I can see we are going to be good friends, Mrs. Schnettle.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work.”

Mrs. Schnettle turned abruptly to make a dramatic exit when she remembered she had one more question.  “What happened to that young man that knocked himself out last night and had to go to the hospital?”

Lila turned and glared at her, irritated by the nerve of her new neighbor. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Mrs. Schnettle.”  Lila wasn’t sure if her neighbor was mentally deficient and she wasn’t about to put up with her pushy attitude for one more second.  “I didn’t see anyone or anything last night when I moved in and you’d do well to mind your own business from now on.  Good day!”

Lila went back to trimming the bush again.  Fran didn’t quite know how to respond to someone who could be as forward as she was.

“Well,” she puffed, “I never….”  When she turned to leave she had forgotten about the bucket of tools behind her.  She stumbled over it and tumbled to the ground face down.  Her dress flew up over her head revealing more than Lila cared to see.  The dress had wrapped itself around her head and arms, making it quite difficult for her to get free of all of the material.

“My goodness…are you alright, Ms. Schnettle?”  Lila jumped up to help untangle her.

“Don’t touch me,” she said rolling around on the ground, spitting as she talked. “I’m going to sue you for damages.”

“What damages?” blurted out Lila in disbelief.  “You’re not hurt!”

“We’ll see about that.”  Fran pushed the bucket out of the way, staggered to her feet and marched home at a brisk pace.

**********************

Trevor walked down to the sidewalk café where he and Mattie had their first and only date two days earlier. He pulled up a chair at the same table where they had sat at together, talking for hours.  In his mind he recalled the details of their time together and the more he thought, the more he realized how instant their connection had been.  “How weird is this?” he thought to himself.  “I hardly know these people and yet I’m supposed to marry their daughter after one date?  It’s insane!”  He ordered an orange juice and some pancakes.  He figured there was no need going hungry, just because he was supposed to marry a woman in a completely different dimension of time in less than three hours.  He didn’t know what to do.  Yes, he loved Mattie, which was really nothing new to him; he’d known that for quite some time.  He watched other women that were there for breakfast with friends or dates or family and even took the time to observe several of the waitresses as he shoveled down his pancakes.  He had to admit that none of the women he had seen since noticing Mattie in their senior year of high school could hold his interest at all when compared to her, including everyone at the café.  He sat talking to himself for over an hour, trying to justify a decision to run away and not look back.  The more he tried to defend his reasoning the worse he felt.  He kept returning to the same conclusion. He knew Mattie was the one for him and loved everything about her.  He knew he intended to pursue marriage down the road with her anyway, and he’d be lucky if she said yes to his proposal whenever he was finally able to work up the courage to ask.  He began to see how easy this all was in comparison to going through the long, drawn out process of trying to convince Mattie that he was the one for her, too.  He checked his watch to see how much time was left before it was too late.  It was almost 9:00.  “Oh, my gosh! I’ve only got an hour and a half to get married and save my wife from oblivion.  In 90 minutes she’s going to be 8 years older than I am if I don’t try to get her back now.”  With that astonishing thought he jumped up, pulled a $10 bill out of his pocket, threw it on the table and ran back to the motel, hoping Kash hadn’t left yet.

As he approached the door to the room he started yelling, “Dad!  Dad, it’s after nine! We’ve got to hurry!”

Kash was in the shower trying to wash away his sorrows in the steaming water.  His hands were up against the wall and the shower was beating steadily on his sadly bowed head.  He was deep in thought and couldn’t hear anything that was going on outside the closed door.

Trevor burst into the room still calling out.  “Dad, we’ve got to do this thing!  Where are you?”  When he stopped yelling he could hear the shower running in the other room.  He ran to the bathroom door and started knocking on it as he opened it.  “Dad!”

Kash jerked upward, flinging his hands out to the side in total surprise, ripping the shower curtain from the rod on one side and smashing his knuckles against the wall on the other.  Trevor realized what he had done and reached out to break Kash’s fall.  He pushed Kash back into the tub, wrapping the curtain around his head and pinning his falling body against the back wall.  Kash let out an “ugh” on impact.

“What…what!” yelled Kash.  “For heaven’s sakes, you’ve got to stop scaring the life out of me.  One of us is going to eventually get killed by the other!”  Kash wrapped the curtain around him and stepped over the edge of the tub.  “Do you think I could have a little privacy to get dressed?”

Trevor stepped out of the bathroom and pulled the door mostly closed.  “Dad, I’m going to do it!  I know it’s the right thing to do and there isn’t a lot of time left.”

Kash’s heart leapt inside.  He felt that hope was alive again.  “Are you sure?” he said with renewed enthusiasm.

“I’ve never been so certain about anything in my whole life.  What’s next…D-a-a-a-d?”

“You need to sit down and write a vow of your own on a piece of the motel stationary.  Afterwards we’ll transfer it to the book and head for the tunnel.”

“The one I found in the shed?”

“The one and only!  Now, get to it while I finish getting dressed.”

Trevor spent half an hour drafting what he considered to be the perfect vow for Mattie.  After all, it was the most important thing he’d ever written and he wanted it to be just right for his future wife and their posterity.  Then, as instructed, he wrote the final draft to the side of Mattie’s and signed it.

I Trevor William Karington, take Mattison Amber Bott as my one and only companion in this life and the next.  She is the light in my darkness, the peace to my soul and the one I choose to ride the rivers of life with.  My love for her runs deeper than the clear night sky and I promise to honor and cherish her always.  I will happily pay tribute to her heritage as I stand by her through her trials and responsibilities that she is called upon to bear.  I promise to understand and support Mattie in her destiny as she serves others throughout history to make a better world.  I pledge to provide for her and our family physically, mentally and spiritually in such a way that she need never be concerned about the welfare of her parents, husband or children for as long as we live.

This I covenant before the witness of my soon to be father-in-law, Kash Bott and my own heritage given to me by goodly parents, whose name I have always tried to honor.

Date:  Saturday, February 22, 1992

Trevor William Karington

He pulled a pocket knife from his jeans and poked a tiny hole in his left thumb to draw the blood.  He pressed it carefully over his signature and sealed the vow with his thumbprint.  “There,” he said in a muffled, thumb-in-mouth fashion, “it’s done!”

Go to Chapter 12…

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