I stooped in my Saturday mornin’ rose garden, nostrils flaring, fingers bleeding.
Someone tapped my fence with a fisted hand and rasped loud, “You are some kind of lovely.”
As I stood, I looked but I could not see his lips because they were buried beneath a silver handlebar mustache. I didn’t speak against his brash, rather I just stood there, mouth agape.
“Indeed! Oh, indeed!” he said as he leaned too far over my driftwood fence, poking his hairy face into my yard. How dare he?! This fool man is too close. Too close indeed! His breath was tainted with coffee and his clothes wreaked of cigar wisps, a brutish man, to be certain. The olfactory essence of him rolled over me and my darling roses.
Aghast at his bold disregard for polite and proper etiquette, I ignored his very presence. Back to the man. Face to the flowers.
After he vanished, I sat on my secluded sitting-on stone and bunched my long skirt and apron in one fist. I yanked off my long stockings and poked my bare legs into the dawn’s dewy mist, tilted my head back and sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. Sunshine walked up my back.
Two hours later, wrinkled aprons and assorted, wet underthings hung on the line. As I bent over the wicker for more unmentionables, I heard a familiar voice cut through my seclusion, “My oh my, what a sweet spot. And dearie me, that’s surely a site for sore eyes.”
I grabbed a driftwood stick to beat Mr. Mustache out of my yard and back to his gentlemanly senses. This has gone far enough! I’ve had my fill of his ogling my roses and my laundry and my such and suches.
I whirled, not unlike a dervish, but not exactly like one either, and I swung my makeshift bat as only a woman gone mad could do. I cut the air with nary a thud. And to my surprise, Mister Mustache wasn’t behind me, rather he was inside my rose garden — bare feet thrust atop my sitting-on rock, with his back on the mossy walk. His closed eyes pointed heavenward.
Big ole shoes and mismatched brown socks lay in a heap by his side, white cane, folded, on top.
“Whatever are you doing in my yard?”
He jerked upright and said as he sat, “I thought this a park, so I let myself in. Oh my! Oh my! I have committed such a sin. Please forgive me, a blind man such as I.” As he spoke his voice transformed from a raspy, ghastly brute to that of an awkward boy.
“Nonsense!” said I as I waved my stick with one hand and waggled the fingers of my other just in front of his eyes.
Oblivious to my gestures, and unbeknownst to my awestruck disbelief, his mustache shrugged up and down as he said, “I stopped by earlier and reminded your roses of their beauty. Do you think they heard?”
“Oh, I reckon they ate your kind words, dear sir.” My earlier angst rolled all the way out to sea, to the place where the horizon drinks placid waters.
We talked until the sun burned high noon hot spots on top of our heads; the damp morning long since had dried of her mist.
And when he asked what was flapping in the wind over yonder, I said with an outright lie and a blush that only my roses could see, “Oh that? It’s merely an old woolen coat and dish towels drying on the clothesline.”
To which he replied, “What’s that you say? And old goat and assorted roses are dyin’ on the line?”
I laughed and laughed and shouted toward his ear, “Mister Mustache, your sniffer works better than your hearer. To be sure you understand all that I say, dare I ask if you will let me draw nearer?”
“Dare you ask. And do as you please,” he said, winkingly to me.
I scooted closer in my Saturday mornin’ rose garden, nostrils flaring, fingers bleeding. Heart beating.
He said aloud, “You are some kind of lovely.”
* A version of this creative writing story previously has appeared on my site.
I’m re-running it today with a bit o’ defiance against the April storm that’s piling snow on my posies.