December 27Posted on: December 28, 2012
We arrived at the township hall just as Clayton was parking their new snowmobile. He went over the controls with John; typical male, assuming John would be driving. I knew John had never ridden one before, being from the south. He did, however, have a motorcycle back home, and adapted quickly. I could tell he was going to have fun. I had thought of driving the car as far as the plowed roads, but I wasn’t sure how safe the car would be at that point, given the recent ‘uprising’ in town. John made a nice slow circle, drove around the parking lot a few times to get the feel of the machine. I took the towing sled out and tied it to the back of the snow-mobile, like I’d done a hundred times before in the woods, and I got on behind John.
Yes, he was definitely having fun.
The roads were fairly clear, but snow packed, until we got to the entrance to the Eagle Beach subdivision. From that point, it was close to a mile to the house that John had shared with his co-workers. The snowmobile took the drifts easily.
When we pulled up to the house, we sat there for a few minutes, taking in the beauty of the Big Lake. The wind had whipped up the shoreline and sprayed the trees, and the deck with the glory of Lake Superior. Icicles dripped from the handrails, and looked like shimmering Christmas ornaments. We let ourselves in thru the garage, where John used a hidden key to open the interior door.
It was SO cold in there! John’s room had been in the basement. He asked me to wait upstairs while he took a big duffle and a flashlight and descended into the gloom alone. I wandered the kitchen; ice crystals had formed on the metal faucets, but all looked neat and clean. It was obvious that anything consumable had been stripped from the place. The glass door commercial coolers that once were filled with all manner of drinks for the guys, stood empty. The nearby storage shelves now only held empty boxes.
After a few minutes, I called down the stairs to John, asking if he was ok. Moments later I could see the beam from the flashlight getting brighter as he made his way back to the stairs.
“Just took a little longer than I thought it would. Sorry if I alarmed you,” he smiled sadly at me, making me wonder what else was down there. “Let’s get out of here,” and he led us out the same way we came in, locking the door behind us and replacing the key.
He dropped the duffle into the sled, then questioned if it would fall out during the ride back. I grinned and pulled two long bungees out of my pocket, which got me a hug.
At home, he dumped the bag out in the middle of the kitchen floor. He had packed his pillow, cellphone and charger, a couple of books and clothes: t-shirts, jeans, a sweater, socks, underwear, and two pair of shoes. Good, I wouldn’t have to ask Tom or Jason for extra jockeys! I was avoiding that embarrassing moment.
“I think all the clothes will need washing. I’ll start the generator,” he seemed distracted. I’ve known him for over a year and could tell that something was bothering him.
I sorted the clothes and started the washer. When everything was in motion, I got the last beer out, handed it to John, and asked him what was wrong. He stared at the beer a long time then took a big swallow.
“Those last few days I was at the house, I slept on the couch, near the fireplace,” he paused and took another drink. “I didn’t know James was downstairs. He still is.” I wrapped my arms around him, thankful I didn’t venture down to the basement too.
1 thought on “December 27”
Like everyone reading the Journal I’m emotionally invested in the characters. At this point I’m very glad that John is with Deborah, that they have each other.
It seems like things are starting to get rapidly worse.
Here’s where prepping takes faith as well as work, faith that you’ll be prepared enough to withstand an uncertain future until you’re able to be self sustaining…doing everything you can now to be in that position. Not easy. Neither the prepping nor the faith.
Good writing Deborah, thank you.