The Village

The Village

By R.H.Ali

 

As she sat in her uncle’s blue pick-up truck driving with him down the main street of the village where her grandparents lived, Mary-Jane felt like she was in another country. Children gleefully played in all directions bustling with different activities. Some played hide and seek, others darted about expeditiously while playing catch. Mary rolled down the window to get a better look. Mounds of sand were scattered in between swings and slides where Blue Jays perched chirping sweet melodies. Elderly women stood at the sides of roads selling home-made cakes, pies and drinks. The aroma of it all made Mary’s mouth water. She stuck her head out the truck to get a better whiff of the goodies, much to her uncle’s dismay. She noticed that young and old alike, were enjoying themselves on that wonderful summer day. Mary had often heard people refer to the sun as ‘King Sun,’ and she always wondered why. Now, in this village, without all the tall buildings blocking her view, she understood. The sun was majestic, bright and beautiful; really a King Sun. It had come out in all its glory and in the distance she could see the progression of a football match by the youthful boys. Gathered to the side, girls chuckled and gossiped freely as they cheered on their favourite player. Their excitement was contagious and she found herself smiling from ear to ear as she watched.A clatter of metal caught her attention and she jerked her head around to see what the commotion was about. Middle-aged men were clustered around a tangled mess of steel working assiduously directly opposite the field. An inquiry to her uncle revealed that the village was building a community centre which would be the hub of activity in the village. Mary thought that was a great idea. However this didn’t hold her attention for long as a surge of exhilaration engulfed her as wild cheers emanated from the football field. Shrieks of delight filled the environs from the winning team. Even the other team was bubbling over with enthusiasm, congratulating their opponents. Uncle Timmy divulged that the winning team, ‘Warriors’ usually always win their games. It was great for Mary to see such sportsmanship, something she was unaccustomed to in the city. As they passed the field, Mary looked to the sky. Various birds flew over the paradise creating a beautiful kaleidoscopic scene. The clouds wisped and parted in harmony. The deep sea-blue of the sky played peek-a-boo through the cotton candy clouds. She noticed that dogs and cats ran about playfully as turquoise flowers and primroses untangled themselves. As the truck turned the corner, Mary viewed peaceful scenes of cows knee high in shallow sections of a stream and sheep grazing on the flower-dotted hillsides. Mary was utterly dumbfounded by the serenity of this place. Mary had always lived in the hustle and bustle of the city life and since her grandparents always visited in the city, it was her first time in the village. Accustomed to cars bumper to bumper and horns tooting everywhere, she was taken aback to see the amount of pedestrians and the way everyone knew each other and got along so well. It was beyond Mary-Jane’s wildest imagination that people especially youths would spend their Saturdays in the open fresh air rather than at the mall or movies. Huge sycamore trees stood rooted to the edges of the road spreading shelter all around it. Families started gathering under them for picnics. Her face held a constant smile as she cruised by. Dogs caught Frisbees that their owners threw for them while others tried to seal bits of food from picnic mats. Mary chuckled and pointed it out to Uncle Timmy. He laughed as well. She turned he attention to her uncle for a moment. She had not seen him in months, until he came to pick her up of course. From her observation he looked thinner from the last time she saw him. She wondered if it was because of stress. Since Aunt Krissy died in the accident she hadn’t ever seen him laugh his belly laugh again. He must really miss her. His eyes were filled with sadness but he tried to mask it with a big smile that he plastered on his face. Mary wondered about her little cousin, Joe, she was excited to see him. Uncle Timmy and Joe lived with her grandparents since Aunty Krissy’s accident. Uncle Timmy could not stand to live in the cabin without her. Mary wondered if he sold it or just left it alone; she was afraid to ask. Her uncle caught her staring at him and laughingly asked her what was wrong. She brushed it off and he turned into another street and pointed at her grandparent’s cottage house in the distance. Mary could not contain her excitement. She had finally reached. She stared out the window and absorbed the scene that met her astonished eye. Her emotions ran a constant loop as she peered out. She had seen this place in pictures, but no picture however great the photographer was could do this place justice. It was just the perfect little thing. The house was placed in what seemed to be the centre of the entire piece of land. Since her grandparent’s house was the last house on the street, you could see it as soon as you turned the corner. On the left side, as far as she could see, there was lush green grass. Animals were grazing in their pastures and Mary wondered who took care of them, and if she could help. On the right side of the house, there were rows and rows of various types of trees, and she was sure, spices of all kinds. Her grandmother loved spices. As Uncle Timmy drove closer to the house she noticed her grandparents opening their front door. She did not even wait for her uncle to completely stop the truck; she jumped out and ran into her grandparent’s arms. She felt like a child again.

 

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