The stars shone brightly above, twinkling in soft whites, reds, blues, and greens, the breeze was gentle and refreshing on his skin. The moon, looking like a crescent of white bread fresh from the oven, was smiling down at the world. Logan was laying in the field of grass and wildflowers, daydreaming about his perfect love. Well, since it was late at night it wasn't daydreaming, and since he wasn't asleep he wasn't dreaming. The stars and the breeze rejuvenated his spirit, his mind, his soul.
Logan loved this area far from the lights of the city. Here it was dark and quiet. Peaceful and solitary. The air, fresh and crisp, not the stinky exhaust-filled stuff in the city that blackened the lungs and made people cough and wheeze. He would spend every day and every night here if he could. Logan loved this meadow where he could let his mind run free, away from the busy life of running the farm.
He had gone to the university in the city. Cities - he has no love for cities. The tall buildings block the sunlight from the little bit of actual earth left in them. They reflect the sunlight, intensifying it, making everything hotter. The concrete cooks all day long, then bakes the city all through the night. Just about every inch of earth is covered with concrete which just forces any rain water to flood the streets. Cities…not his favorite place to be.
Brooklyn, a pretty woman who lives alone in the city, was born in the city, and has never left the city. All she knows is the city she calls home. The smells, the sites, the tastes, are the only smells, sites, and tastes she knows. If the city is polluted she doesn't smell it. If the city is no more than canyons of buildings, one after another, she doesn't notice it. If the tastes are of concrete and metal, it's all the same to her. Her life is in the city, she doesn't even know what's outside of it.
She often went to the park, with it's spotty grass, well, more weeds than grass, and few flowers and trees, and thinks she's in heaven. She would sit on a bench and watch people walk by, busy people, talking people, excited people, lonely people. She imagined what might be going on in their lives. That woman, hmm, maybe she broke up with her boyfriend of 5 years, she has a kind of sad look, but also, the way she is talking to the man she is with right now…I think they are a new couple. Those old people over there…they're talking about what to do with the bank accounts when they pass on in the not-too-distant future…should we give the money to the grandkids? Or to charity? Or to the cat?
There was a woman walking along the path and she was wearing some strange kind of clothes, what is that? She wondered. The woman she was watching was wearing grey overalls and boots. She appeared to have just come from a farm. Brooklyn looked in wonder, and watched her as she approached the bench.
"Can I sit down here?" the woman asked.
"Of course!" Brooklyn was excited by this encounter, a chance to talk to someone dressed in something she's never seen actually worn in the city before.
"My name is Brooklyn," she smiled and reached out her hand, "but you can call me Brook".
"Okay, Hi Brook, my name's Savannah," and they shook hands.
"Wow!" Brooklyn was looking Savannah up and down, admiring the unusual clothes.
"Hehe, what is it?" Savannah asked.
"I've never seen clothes like those before, well not here in the city. They're, hmm, different. Must be difficult to manage when you have to use the bathroom." Brooklyn giggled a little.
"Huh? Well, yeah, I suppose. But these are the normal daily clothes I wear. I live on a farm."
"A farm? Where? There's no farms in the city."
"No, silly, not in the city. Outside the city. There are many farms."
"Really? I've never been outside the city."
"You should come visit me at my farm, I think you'd love it."
"Wow! I don't know about that, I've never left the city. What's outside the city? Farms? Animals? Sounds scary."
"Trust me, there's nothing to be scared about. It's beautiful.
"But, this park is beautiful! There are trees and flowers and birds here. There's even a couple squirrels in the trees."
"Oh, you do need to get out, darling, because this park is nothing compared to what's outside the city."
They exchanged numbers and promised to get together again. And the small talk continued for a few minutes longer before Savannah would leave to finish her chores in the city.
The idea of leaving the city, of going to a farm outside the city, was a little unnerving to Brooklyn. She never really liked surprises. She grew up in a family where her older brothers, and even her father, would do all sorts of things to her as "surprises" and she never liked any of it. Sometimes they hurt her. And her mother did nothing to stop any of it. Her mother was completely controlled by her father, the man had complete and full control over all of the family and everything they did. So now, grown up, she doesn't like surprises. But she was also just enough curious to want to go with this new friend to a farm outside the city. But, could she actually get up the nerve to do such a thing?
Outside the City
Savannah visits the city once or twice a month to pick up supplies for the farm. Since meeting Brooklyn the two have been getting together for lunches when she was in town.
"Brooklyn, do you have any plans for next weekend?" Savannah asked, knowing about Brooklyn's insecurity about going outside the city.
"No, I haven't planned anything, yet, why?"
"I'd like you to come out to the farm with me. I have to come back here next weekend to pick up a crate with a generator in it, it's quite large, it's for the farm. Anyway, I want you to see the farm and the countryside outside the city."
"Oh, wow, that sounds wonderful! But, you know, I'll have to think about it." She couldn't get up the nerve to simply say Yes.
"Oh, come on, girl! It'll be fun! You'll see, it'll be a girls weekend. And you can finally meet my brother and little sister. They'd love to meet you, too."
"Have you told them about me?"
"Of course, silly. They want to meet you, so please say yes."
"Oh, my goodness, this is scarey, but, okay, if you promise me there'll be no surprises, no wild animals, nobody with guns, none of that stuff I've seen in the movies."
"Oh my god, you're are so much in need of this weekend away!"
The day finally came - Brooklyn was going to the farm! She was a little nervous, a little afraid of what might be out there in that land she has never seen. That land outside the city. What will it look like? Will it be like the pictures? Will the animals be friendly? What about the people? Do they all wear those overalls things? They're not the best looking clothes, she thought.
Savannah drove her old farm truck, a sturdy old pickup, somewhat beaten with not a single straight panel on it, a cracked windshield, and one of the door windows missing. But it was mechanically perfect and it was the perfect farm truck - oh, did it get scratched? Who cares? The back of the truck was loaded with boxes of stuff she had bought during her visit to the city, and one crated generator.
Brooklyn looked at the truck and asked, "we're going in that?"
"Of course! It works perfectly!" Savannah shouted back over the noise from the city traffic passing by, and it might have been a little bit of an overstatement. "Get in! You're going to have the time of your life!" And that was definitely an understatement.
Nervously Brooklyn opened the door, with one finger and thumb because of the dirt, looked at the dirty seat, then closed the door, with her still outside.
Savannah laughed, "what's the matter? Afraid of a little dirt?"
"A little dirt? You call that a little dirt? I've never seen so much dirt in one place outside of the park," Brooklyn replied while peering in through the opening where a window should have been. She shook her head, opened the door again, brushed some of the dirt off the seat, and slid into the cab of the old truck, trying to not touch anything.
"Girl, you're crazy! It's just a little dirt, wait till you get out on the farm! You'll see what dirt is!"
"Oh, great, thanks. Did I wear the right clothes?"
"Yes, those'll do."
The drive was bumpy, the truck's engine might have been perfect but the shocks, well, not so much. They slowly made their way through the city traffic with lots of stares, glares, and generally unapproving looks from other drivers. Every pot hole resulted in a puff of dirt flying off the truck. Savannah just smiled and drove, even waved to some of the worst of them.
"Look up there, you see that sign? That is the city limits, I've never been past that sign."
"Really? Seriously? Never?" asked Savannah, surprised that such a thing could actually be true.
"Yeah. I've never had any reason to go out there. And I don't have a car. My family doesn't have a car."
"No car? How do you go anywhere? Like shopping?"
"Everything is close enough to walk or use taxi's or buses. A car isn't necessary. And usually it's faster to walk anyway."
"Wow! That's weird! I can't imagine not having my truck to get around in, especially on the farm."
The drive went on for a couple hours. Brooklyn spent the whole time amazed at the sights of the "country" outside the city. She was a non-stop question machine - what's that? Oh, look at that, what is it? Where are we now? How far is it to the farm? What's that tall thing over there? What's the name of this place? Is this a farm? Is this a town? Non-stop questions to keep the two busy for the 3-hour drive out to the farm. Savannah loved it, Brooklyn was like a child seeing everything for the first time.
Savannah turned off the paved road onto a dirt road, and it was a soft dirt that created a huge dust cloud behind it.
"Wow! Look at the dirt! My god! Shouldn't you slow down?" Brooklyn had never seen such a sight before.
"No, of course not!" And she pressed her foot down on the gas pedal and went even faster. Brooklyn grabbed onto the dashboard with a surprised, almost shocked, look, and within a few more seconds she, too, was smiling and laughing. They sped down the long dirt road making as much dust as they could.
Way down the road was the farmhouse, and standing on the front porch was Logan and his baby sister, Dakota. Dakota was just a spring chicken at five-and-a-half years old. She was full of life, loving and enjoying every minute of every day, exhausting Logan and his twin sister Savannah. Which is what led Logan to the meadow and the solitude for a while most nights, it was his time to recharge from the day of taking care of Dakota, Savannah, and the farm.
"Logan! Look! Savvy's coming!" Dakota called her older sister Savvy. Nobody else could, though. Only Dakota.
"How do you know it's her? All you see is dust." He was smiling because he knew how she loved to drive that old truck as fast as possible on that dirt road, creating a dust storm in the process.
"She always drives like that, Logan. It's fun!" Dakota was excited that her sister was home, she always missed her sister when she made those trips to the city for supplies. One day she would get to ride with her older sister in the old truck to the city, one day…
Finally Savannah brought the truck to a dusty storm-cloud stop in front of the farmhouse, receiving lots of smiles from Dakota and a frowning, unapproving look from her brother.
"Savannah, it's one thing to drive like that out there, where there's nothing but open land, but here in front of the house? Really?" Then he saw Brooklyn climb down out of the old truck, and said, "Oh, of course, you're showing off to your friend."
"Oh stop, Logan, I wasn't showing off. Come here, Brook. I want you to meet my brother, Logan. Logan, this is my friend, Brooklyn. She lives in the city and this is her first time outside the city. And this is our little sister, Dakota."
Logan interrupted before Savannah could even say hi, "Really? You've never been to a farm before?" he asked. He hadn't been sure if his sister was telling him the truth when she talked about Brooklyn after her previous city trips.
"No, I haven't, but more than that, this is my first time outside the city," Brooklyn replied a bit sheepishly, ashamed to admit she'd never been outside the city. "Oh, and you can call me Brook."
"Brook, you've never even been outside the city?"
"Yeah, well, that's where my life is, okay?"
"Okay, excuse me, I'm just surprised that somebody could spend their entire life in the city and never leave it."
"Well, I haven't."
Savannah took Brooklyn's hand, gave her brother a dirty look, and the two young women went into the house. Dakota ran after the girls into the house, leaving Logan out in the dust to ponder his not-so-gentlemanly introduction.
"Oh, Logan, can you unload the truck, please? I'm going to show Brook around the place."
"Already on it, sis." He drove the dirty old truck around the house and out to the barn where he could use the forklift to get the big generator crate off the back of the truck.
Brooklyn noticed the two of them looked an awful lot alike, "Are you two twins?"
"Oh, yes! I didn't tell you that, did I? Yes, we're twins, though you wouldn't know it by they way he behaves. You know, boys will be boys, even if he does look like a girl!" They both laughed and little Dakota joined in, not fully understanding them.
"Well," Brooklyn said a bit softly, "I think he's kinda cute."
"Oh my god! Seriously?"
"Yeah," Savannah said as she put her hand out for Dakota to hold as they walked out to the back of the house. "Oh my god! Look at that!" She was getting her first view of the farm proper, behind the house, in the glow of a setting sun. The site was striking, the horses, cows, chickens, roosters, with a backdrop of sky colored in oranges and yellows. She stood still and stared at it for a minute or two. Her mind was thinking she was looking at a photo in a book or on the internet, but no, it was real, and she was standing at the edge of this amazing picture.
Then Brooklyn caught site of Logan unloading the truck of the crate and boxes of stuff. She liked what she saw, and Savannah noticed that.
Brooklyn finally said, quietly, "Dakota, pinch me, am I dreaming?" Dakota pinched her on the side and it was a firm pinch, at that. "Ouch! Hehehe,"
Savannah said "Dakota, that's not proper, you shouldn't do that, never!"
"But sis, she told me to pinch her," Dakota, so innocent and unknowing, was completely at a loss of understanding.
"Oh, it's okay sweetie, don't worry. I did ask and you did what I asked."
Savannah then explained to Dakota how that expression works, as the three of them walked out into the farmyard. The chickens and roosters scattered as they walked towards them, a dog came barking from somewhere, and the horses stood and watched the three approach to pet them.
"Tomorrow we can go riding," offered Savannah.
Brooklyn looked around, then at Savannah, and asked, "riding what? And where? You have bicycles? I don't know how to ride motorcycles."
"Silly girl, no, we'll be riding these horses, out there," and she pointed out towards the horizon and the setting sun. "Oh, you've never ridden a horse before have you?"
"No, I've never even touched one before."
"Hey girls!" Logan shouted from the house, "Dinner is ready!" And he rang the farm bell to get their attention.
"Let's go, I'm starving!"
"So am I!"
Logan liked what he saw when he looked at Savannah. But she wasn't the least bit impressed by his brief and embarrassing introduction. He realized that and was hoping to make amends with the meal he cooked.
"Wow, look at all the food! You didn't cook all of this, did you?" Brooklyn couldn't believe the spread she saw in front of her.
"Actually, yes, I did cook all of this. Somebody had to, you guys were outside wandering around, talking to the animals probably. So I cooked." He was smiling and speaking very sarcastically so they all knew he was just being funny.
Savannah broke in, "He's a very good cook, actually. I prefer his cooking over mine."
Dakota said, "Yeah, he cooks gooder basquetti."
"It's spaghetti, sweetie, try to remember that, okay?"
Brooklyn finally asked a question she had on her mind but the right moment just hadn't come up yet, "Hey guys, where are your parents?"
They other looked at each other and Savannah started to tell her the story of how their parents are no longer with them, "Two years ago they had gone on a vacation, their first without us kids. First they took a cruise down the coast to Mexico. Then they flew to Costa Rica. They spent a week hiking and exploring some old ruins and had a great time. But, when they were back in the city the day before they were to fly home there were some gang bangers fighting with a group of local kids. Apparently the gang bangers came from Guatemala and were looking for one particular guy. Our parents' taxi got caught in the cross fire." Her voice trailed off.
"Oh, wow, I'm sorry, I had no idea," said Brooklyn, quietly, and she put her hand on Savannah's.
They all continued to talk, changed the subject, and had a nice meal.
Logan asked, "Will you be spending the night with us? Oh, hehe, of course you will, it's too late for a trip back to the city now." Now he was a little nervous with Brooklyn, he wanted to impress her, but also tended to trip over his own sentences.
"Yeah, I'll stay, I suppose I can sleep here on the couch, it's comfy enough."
"No you won't!" said Savannah, and she took Brooklyn by the hand to showed her to the guest room upstairs, next to Dakota's room.
"I'm going for a ride, be back in a while," Logan called out to the girls as they climbed the stairs.
"Where's he going?" asked Brooklyn.
"He goes out almost every evening, usually before sunset, but tonight he's late because of us having company, you, here. Anyway, he goes out to a meadow. He rides his favorite horse, the big black and white Paint you saw earlier. His name's Thunder."
"That sounds really nice. Where's the meadow?"
"It on the other side of that little hill, see over there?" They looked out the window and saw Logan riding off into the distance, towards the hill. "It's a beautiful meadow, full of wildflowers, a few Cottonwood trees, and quiet. It's so quiet you can hear the bees. I love it out there, but it is his private place."
"I see, I wish I had a private place like that. In the city there's nothing like that. The parks are full of people, the noise from the traffic and the dogs barking. Hear the bees? What bees? I haven't seen any bees in the city. Look out there, Savannah, what do you see? You know what I see? I see another world. A world foreign to me. And a little scary."
"I see my life, my farm. To you it's another world, a new scary world, to me, well, it's my job."
"I suppose that's why Logan has to get away for some private time," Brooklyn said softly, thoughtfully.
Out at the meadow Logan was laying in the grass, listening to Thunder's soft noises, the bees flitting from flower to flower around him, and thinking about the girl, Brooklyn. He couldn't get her off his mind, yet he knew he really needed to.
What's the problem? Why should thinking of a girl be so bad? I have a life, and needs. And I have two sisters and a farm. But, I shouldn't have to sacrifice my life should I? No. Of course not. But I can't do anything that would hurt Dakota and Savvy. They are my responsibility. They have to be first, no matter what. But I would like to have a woman to share my meadow with, to share my thoughts with. But certainly not some city girl who knows absolutely nothing about farms or farming or life on a farm. Not some girly-girl who's afraid of the natural world. That just wouldn't work.
The next morning the roosters woke them all up, the dogs were barking at the chickens, all of them running around in the hazy light of the early morning. After a big breakfast that included fresh eggs from the henhouse, ham from their own hog, and potatoes from their own garden, they all went for a ride. It was Brooklyn's first time ever riding a horse, and it showed. She was clueless. Even little Dakota on her tiny pony was better than Brooklyn. But she soon came to grips with the big animal below her and managed to somewhat control it's general direction, or more likely, it simply followed along with the other horses.
They rode for over an hour, then they stopped by a stream for a picnic lunch.
"This is such a beautiful place! My god, it's like a picture!" Brooklyn was in awe by the scene she was sitting in.
"This is the back edge of our property. It extends that way, along the stream, for a couple miles. And that way, upstream a ways, then turns in toward the hill and the meadow," and she stopped when she said meadow, Logan gave her a look like he wanted it kept secret.
"Wow, you guys have a lot of land. A lot to take care of, too, I suppose."
"Yeah, that's the tough part, but we're doing all right," said Savannah, shifting gears to avoid anymore of those looks from her brother.
"Shouldn't we be getting back? I suppose you need to drive Brook back to the city this afternoon, right?" Asked Logan, though with a little hint of sadness that she might be leaving his farm. He has started to take a liking to this city girl. But only a liking, nothing more. He wouldn't let himself get carried away with such things, he has bigger concerns, such as the farm and his sisters.
"Yeah, that's right, I almost forgot about that," laughing, they all got up, gathered their things and rode back to the farm.
Back at home in the city Brooklyn again felt like herself, breathing the sometimes unbreathable air, looking out the window of her 15th story apartment at a hazy city, but the haze here was caused by exhaust from all the traffic and smoke from the factories, not from the natural dust in the air out in the country (partly caused by Savannah's driving). But this was home. It was here that she was comfortable regardless of the negative points.
She left the apartment, caught the bus to get to the subway, then the subway to get to her office. She worked as an accountant. But even more than that, she was responsible for all the accounting, finances, human resources, and just about everything else in the small company. Without her they probably wouldn't even exist. Seven o'clock in the morning, coffee and donuts for the crew, and coffee for herself. Lunch at her desk, usually. Lock the doors and go home at 6pm. It was a long, tedious day, often stressful, always exciting in one way or another, never boring. And no, she didn't love it. It was her job.
The days passed and she exchanged a couple of messages with Logan and a few messages with Savannah. Two weeks passed and more messages exchanged. She missed her new friends and looked forward to the next time she would be able to visit them. But when? She had no way to go out to the farm, so she had to wait until one of them came back into the city, which wasn't often.
"Hi Brookie sweetie!" the message started, it was from Savannah. "I'm coming into town in two weeks. I'll need to pick up a couple things at the home store and a crate at the port. I hope you will be available, will you?"
Oh, I'm so happy she's coming back! Brooklyn was excited by the prospect of seeing her friend again. It's not like she didn't have friends, she did, but they were mostly work friends, not close friends. And for family, there were no other family members, not any more. Her parents had passed on years ago, and her older brother died in a motorcycle crash while desert racing in Baja, Mexico.
She told the guys at the office she was going to take a long weekend, she wanted to have extra time out on the farm, and to get to know Logan better. They had no problem with it as long as she took her laptop with her so she could stay up on some of the daily tasks. "Sorry, guys, there's usually no internet access out there, I think. I didn't see anything that might actually use the internet when I was there. But, just in case, I'll take my laptop. And, I'll hire a temp from the agency, to handle some of the simple things you guys need help with, hmm, actually, that's quite a few things." They all laughed at that last comment, but they were satisfied with the plan.
Savannah called Brooklyn as she was entering the city so they could arrange to meet at a restaurant for lunch. After lunch the girls went out to do the shopping and then off to the port to pick up the crate.
"Sorry, lady, it's not cleared yet. I believe it will be late this afternoon. Give us a call later," the port man told her.
"Oh, that's no good! That means I'll have to stay the night," she wasn't so happy about that prospect.
"Hey, it's okay! I'll take you out tonight, dancing, and you can stay at my place. I have plenty of room," an excited Brooklyn was happy for this turn of events. Now it was her turn to show her friend a little of the city she calls home.
"Well, okay, that sounds great!"
That evening they went out for dinner in a nice restaurant, then to a movie, then out to a disco for some dancing. Of course Savannah had no change of clothes, but she was the same size as Brooklyn so that wasn't a problem.
After the movie Savannah called the port man and was told her crate had been cleared and she could pick it up in the morning. That gave her a big sigh of relief.
At the disco the girls danced together, then a couple of young men asked them to dance. And so the four of them shared drinks, chatting, and dancing for several hours. Finally around 2am the girls went back to Brooklyn's apartment because they needed to get that crate first thing in the morning.
The next morning before going to get the crate Brooklyn showed her the center of the city, the big city park, the fountain park, the area with most of the discos and bars. They walked around, talked and had a great time, but Savannah sure didn't like the smell of the city, which encompassed even the few green spaces, the parks.
With the crate loaded, as well as all the other boxes of stuff, the girls climbed into the cab of the dirty old truck, and away they went! Driving that worn-out truck through the city was an adventure in itself, and the girls were laughing all the way through the city, not paying any attention to the looks they were getting from everyone else.
The Shrinking City
"I'll tell you, Brookie, I don't know how you can live in this dirty, smelly place," laughed Savannah, one arm waving bye to the city as the finally drove past the last of the suburbs.
"Yeah, I know what you mean, now that I've had a small taste of the world outside. It smells out there, too, you know," and they both laughed at that last comment.
"Yeah, but it's natural, the way nature intended. This," pointing back at the city shrinking behind them, "that place, well, that's just not natural. You need to get out of that place, girl."
"Well, if I could, where would I go? And what would I do?" She was watching the city shrink in the mirror.
"What do you do? At work? You told me some of it, but exactly, what does your job include?"
"Accounting, finances, human resources, customer service, and just about anything and everything to keep the business in business."
"You can do those things anywhere, Brooklyn."
"Maybe, but I don't remember seeing much in the way of businesses out where you live. Nowhere in that whole part of the state."
"Oh, I think I can help you find something, if you want that is. I'd love it if you were out there, closer. I don't have many friends out there, you know." Savannah sounded a little sad at the end of that, with the "you know" trailing off.
"I'm sure," Brooklyn was beginning to understand that life could be lonely out on the farm, even if it was such a beautiful place.
The rest of the ride was quiet, except for the squeaks and creaks from the truck.
Brooklyn was thinking about the conversation. What if I could move out of the city? What if there was a job for me out here someplace? Where? What would I do? Where would I live? How would I get around? There's no subway, no buses, no taxis. I'd have to buy a car, but that would require actually learning how to drive. Now that's a frightening thought, even more than the first time riding a horse. At least that was fun. Driving? No way! That is scary! All the other cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, bicycles, and runners, on the roads, how on earth does a person concentrate on driving the vehicle when you have to be watching for all those other distractions?
But, say I do learn to drive, why not? It's possible! I rode a horse, right? Yes! I took eggs from under a chicken! By god, I can learn to drive a car! Okay, so that's decided, I should be able to learn to drive. But then what? I still need a job. That's the problem. And a place to live. That's the problem. Hmm, those are the problems, and big ones at that. But, maybe Savannah is right, maybe she can help me get a job somewhere out here in the wide world of farmlands. Oh, and that means, yes, I like this, that means I would be much closer to Logan. But, I don't think he likes me much, being a city girl, knowing nothing about farms and farming. Well, I can learn, just like I can learn to drive! I'm gonna show him I can be every bit a farm girl as his sister! I think. It can't be that hard, can it?
"What have you been thinking about all this time, Brookie?" Savannah turned the truck off the highway and onto the dirt road that leads to the farm. And put her right foot hard to the floor.
"Woohoo! Hehehe, oh, nothing much," she smiled at Savannah. They arrived at the farmhouse and Logan was waiting for them. When Brooklyn saw him, she said, "I like it out here."
And Savannah looked at her, looking at Logan, and smiled.
Logan helped with unloading the things from the truck then informed the girls, "I'm going off for a while, I'll be back in time for dinner."
Savannah, not at all surprised, "Ok sweetie, you go relax for a while, us girls will hold down the fort! Dinner will be ready about seven."
Brooklyn watched Logan mount his steed and ride off. She was becoming smitten with him.
"You like my brother, don't you?"
"Huh? What? Oh, no, really? Hie's too smug for me. Look at him, so tall and tough in the saddle, like some kind of John Wayne. Really? Me?" Her words were coming out just a little too fast to be convincing.
"Uh huh, you, girl, now come on inside, let's see what Dakota's up to." They both laughed and bumped each other's shoulders as they walked into the house, to a big mess of toys everywhere.
"Dakota! What on earth are you doing?"
"I'm cleaning my room, sis," the words were so sweet and innocent and honest the girls couldn't help but smile, even while looking at the catastrophe in front of them.
"Did your brother tell you to clean your room?"
"Well, okay, good, I'm glad you're doing as he asked, but did he tell you to do it this way? You can't clean your stuff out into the living room." She asked while waving her arms around at all the toys scattered across the floor.
"No, I think it's the better way. Get them out of my room. Then put them back in." She had a smile that would steal the heart from the grumpiest of grumps.
"Hmm, I suppose you have a point there. Please, continue, and get these things back into your room, okay? We have company, see? Brook is with us for the weekend."
"Yay! Hi Brook!" she ran up to Brooklyn and wrapped her little arms around her.
"Hi sweetie. Oh, thanks for the big hug!"
"You're welcome. Now I'm going to put my toys away."
"Okay, you do that."
And not more than 10 minutes later Dakota came running into the kitchen, all excited, "I'm done! Come and look!"
The three of them marched off to Dakota's room to a sight for all to see - toys everywhere except where they were supposed to be, but none were on the floor.
"Dakota, what is this? You said you cleaned your room."
"I did, look, the floor is clean. No toys on the floor."
They all laughed, shrugged their shoulders, and went back to the kitchen to continue cooking dinner.
"Can I help? Please?" Dakota wanted to help everyone with everything, all the time.
"Well, I suppose so, why don't you start by washing those vegetables, okay?"
"Hey, can I get some more?" One thing Dakota loved was the vegetable garden and picking, and eating, the fresh vegetables.
"Sweetie, right now we have enough for dinner, so just wash those in the sink, okay?"
"Okay," Dakota stepped up onto the little stool and started washing vegetables like a little soldier.
Savannah quietly said to Brooklyn, "She can be very helpful when she wants to be. But usually, she just gets under our feet, you know?" The two girls laughed.
Dakota said, "I don't get under your feet, that would hurt."
"You're right, sweetie, that would hurt, if you were actually under my feet. But that's not what I meant."
"What did you mean? Oops," Dakota dropped a potato on the floor. When she stepped down from the stool she stepped on the potato and it squirted out from under her foot and got under the feet of Brooklyn.
"Well, it means, kind of like that potato right now, you see? It's under us, kind of getting in the way of our walking, and just being a little bit of a disturbance."
"So, I'm a diturbance?"
"No, no, of course not, you're not a disturbance, that was a bad choice of words. It's just that sometimes I'm trying to do something, and you want to help, which is great, but it is, sometimes, easier for me to do it without your help. Do you understand? You're not a disturbance, sometimes it's just easier if you are out, in the other room. But not right now, right now you are a good helper."
"Okay the potatoes are washed," well, they were mostly washed, "can I wash the carrots?"
What do you think, Thunder? She's going to be here for a few days. I know Savvy and Dakota have taken to her, and become good friends. I'm glad for them. I like her, I guess, she seems nice enough. And she's certainly pretty enough. She has a nice smile, I like her eyes. Do you like her? But what does she know about the country? What does she know about farming? She could barely ride Arrow the last time she was here. And Arrow, well, she's the easiest of all of you guys, isn't she? Yes, she is. And that girl nearly fell off, what, 3 times? Poor Arrow didn't know what to do with that woman on her back. Hehe, it was funny…hmm, Thunder, I must admit, since the first time I saw her she's been on my mind…You think I should give her a chance? Give her more than just the time of day, huh?…I suppose so.
Logan continued talking to his steed, a perfectly marked Bay, as if Thunder understood everything he said. Then he rested for a while, soon he fell asleep.
Savannah, Brooklyn, and Dakota had rode up the hill. The three were on the top of the hill looking down into the meadow, Brooklyn finally remarked, "Wow, it's beautiful, no wonder he loves it here."
They got off their horses, wrapped the reigns around a tree branch, and quietly walked down to Logan. He was asleep so he hadn't heard them coming through the soft grass. They sat down around him, looked at him peacefully sleeping, and then Savannah touched a blade of grass against his nose, very softly. He wiggled his nose a bit. She did it again, this time he swatted at an imagined fly. The girls were having a fun time teasing him and he didn't even know it. She pushed the grass blade just a little into his nose and he jumped, "What the hell?" While slapping at his nose. The girls cried out in laughter, rolling in the grass.
"Oh my god! Savvy! You did that?" He pushed her, gently, in the grass and they wrestled a little, then Dakota jumped onto Logan's back, riding him like a horse. Brooklyn watched and laughed, wishing, wondering, Do I dare join in with them in their fun? But she didn't, she watched and laughed with them.
After a couple minutes they settled down and sat in the grass, breathing heavily, laughing. Logan looked at Brooklyn, smiled, and said, "Well, my new friend, welcome to my meadow". Then he gave her a little push so she rolled backwards onto her back, laughing. And the wrestling started again when Dakota jumped into Brooklyn's lap and tried to wrestle her.
Finally getting little Dakota off her lap, Brooklyn, smiling and looking directly at him, eye to eye, said, "Thank you, Logan, I'm so glad you are willing to share your meadow with me". She had put her hand on his, and he smiled and did not remove his hand.
Savannah smiled at both of them, hoping to see this move on to more than just friends. Savannah stood up, took Dakota's hand and the two of them walked quietly back to their horses. They quietly walked the horses a short distance then rode back to the house, and finished preparing dinner.
Brooklyn couldn't help but think "Oh my god! His hand is still under mine! He hasn't pulled it away, that means he is interested in me! Yes!"
They stayed there and talked for a few more minutes before they, too, headed back to the house for dinner.
That night dinner was wonderful in more ways than just great-tasting fresh food, and they all had that same feeling. The evening passed quickly with Brooklyn and Logan sitting on the porch swing, talking, all the rest of the evening.
The weekend and Monday passed even quicker. Brooklyn didn't want to return to the city, the smell of exhaust fumes, the dirty parks with more weeds than grass. But she knew tomorrow she would have to, she would have to leave this wonderful farm that she was falling in love with.
At breakfast they talked about the possibilities for Brooklyn outside the city. They talked about where she might live, where she might work. There weren't a lot of possibilities out there in that part of the world. Just lots of farms. But Logan was formulating a plan.
"I have an idea," said Logan while eating some eggs with chorizo.
"What?" asked Brooklyn, drinking her coffee.
"I have to check into some things first, so I'll tell you later. Can you come back here in, oh, say, two weeks?"
"Two weeks? I want to come back next weekend!" Brooklyn said after gulping her coffee.
"No, sweetie, two weeks, okay? And I'll have some news for you."
She frowned, a flirty little frown, "Oh, okay, if you insist".
Brooklyn's job keeps her busy enough that she can't spend much, if any, time thinking about Logan, Savannah, Dakota, and the farm. Only the evenings crawled by slowly as she let her mind wander to the farm, to Logan, to what might be in her future. And her imagination took her to many places, all with Logan of course.
The business was getting busier and she had to hire another worker for the crew. This task took up her attention for the next week and a half, even her evenings were spent reviewing resumes and calling contacts. Days were spent in interviews as well as her other many daily tasks. And she couldn't help but think how nice it would be to have a less stressful job, especially outside the city. She had begun to notice the big differences between the air quality, the noise level, of the city and the country. And she wasn't liking what she was awakening to - the city isn't such a beautiful place, after all.
Thursday she got a call from Logan and of course they talked for some time before they arranged the time for Savannah to pick her up on Saturday morning. She was so looking forward to a relaxing weekend with Logan. And Savannah and Dakota, of course.
Eventually she came to a decision about who to hire and spent Friday afternoon with the crew foreman and the new employee. She couldn't stop thinking about the farm.
"Brooklyn, Brooklyn", the foreman caught her daydreaming while he and the new employee were talking about the job duties he would have.
"What? Oh, excuse me," she said a little embarrassed.
"Are you okay?"
"Yes, I'm fine, just tired, you know, it's been a stressful couple of weeks, with all the work of the office and the extra work of interviews and hiring."
"Yeah, no problem. I think we're finished here." And he took the new guy out to the shop and then showed him around the offices.
At the end of the day she saw the foreman again and said, "I'll be back on Wednesday. Have a good weekend."
"Hey, Brooklyn, what have you been doing on all these long weekends, anyway?"
"Oh, visiting friends. Outside the city, on a farm! Can you believe it? Me, a city girl with friends on a farm. Unbelievable!"
"Come on, Brookie, it's not that unbelievable, is it? Nothing special about farms. We get our food from them, you know, farms and ranches. What would we do without farmers and ranchers? Anyway, I think it's great that you have friends outside the city."
"Thanks. You're right, of course, about them. And it's such a beautiful place!"
The foreman smiled, turned and walked out to the shop, Brooklyn left the office, smiling. She thought, "He has no idea what's going to happen, well, I'm sure he and the guys will be fine without me. They'll just have to find another 'me' to run the office."
She had already come to the decision that she would be leaving the city and living somewhere out in the country, but she hadn't talked to Logan about any final details, yet.
The past two weeks Logan was busy asking around at all the neighboring farms and ranches and in the town not too far away if anyone had any need for an accounting person who could manage all the tasks needed to run an office. At first it was slow going, but then he came up with an idea.
He found that many of the local farms were handling all their own accounting, often needing help that they would get from various sources on the internet. Logan thought that Brooklyn could set up an office and offer her services to all the farms and ranches, helping them in any way they needed with their accounting and financial needs. She could go out to the farms and ranches, talk to them, give them personal help, so they wouldn't have to rely on online help.
He spoke to many of his friends on the other farms and ranches and they thought that would be a great idea. The work from all of them combined would be plenty to keep her busy and help her earn a decent living doing it.
And he discovered several small businesses in town that were interested as well.
So, that was it, the plan. Now all he had to do was convince a city girl to trade the city for the country. Oh, and teach her how to drive, and find her a place to live, and introduce her to all the farmers, ranchers, and business people. That's all. Well, he'd have his chance soon, she would be arriving for the weekend in just two days. That was sufficient time for him to take care of finding her a place to live. And a car for her.
With that part taken care of there was the little bit about a place to live.
"Logan, what about the old guest house? It's not been used for anything in years," a hopeful Savannah suggested at breakfast.
"Well, that's a possibility, but, it would take some work to get that place cleaned up, patched up, and made livable, again."
"Yes, but it is possible, yes?"
"I'm sure it is. After breakfast let's go over there and take a look at it. I haven't been inside there for a few years."
She was all smiles, "Cool! I'm sure it will be fine for Brooklyn. What do you think, Dakota?"
Dakota, between spoonfuls of cereal, "mmhmm!"
It turned out just getting into the old house wasn't as easy as simply turning the doorknob and walking in. There was a very old padlock on the door, and as far as either of them could remember, they didn't have a key for it. So, right from the start, Logan had to pry it away from the doorjamb with a crowbar.
Finally, inside they found the old, rundown guest house wasn't quite so bad as they were afraid it might be, but it would still require a fair bit of work to clean and repair.
Logan came up some estimates and made lists of supplies, Savannah made a list of things needed inside the house, and Dakota supplied them with cookies and milk, but ate most of the cookies herself.
The next day Savannah went to the city to get Brooklyn. This time it was only a short visit - pick up Brooklyn and leave. No need for any shopping.
The talked all the way back to the farm, but Savannah said nothing about the guest house. That was going to be a surprise in the coming months, after they have it fixed up.
The weekend included proper horseback riding lessons, her first attempts at driving, and lots of time just keeping busy with farm duties.
The next week Logan and Savannah began work on the guest house. First a major cleaning so they could see what they were dealing with, which wasn't quite as bad as suspected.
Within a few days the door, and several windows were repaired or replaced. And in another week the electrical was all repaired. Still, the plumbing, the roof, new paint inside and out, and furniture (there was some, but it was in bad shape as well).
It had been about two months of working on all these projects and Logan was just about finished with the little house on the farm. It was about a hundred feet from the main farmhouse, so that gave everyone some privacy, yet not too far away. Two bedrooms, bathroom, living room and kitchen, wrap-around porch, typical for these old farmhouses, and a little flower garden behind it.
And for these past couple months Logan and Savannah, and Dakota, had said nothing to Brooklyn about the guest house. Logan planned on handing her the key to the new door as a surprise when he also told her about the farmers and businesses in town that are interested in hiring her.
Another two weeks and another trip to the city for a few more supplies, and Brooklyn. She could see Savannah wanted to say something but was holding back.
"Savannah, what's on your mind? You look like you want to say something," Brooklyn was prodding, hoping to get something out of her.
"Oh, well Brookie, you'll find out when we get to the farm," she could barely suppress the smile, almost giving away that there were big things happening, and they would be a surprise.
"Savannah, you know I don't like surprise!" scolded Brooklyn.
"Yeah, well, you'll just have to live with the fact that this is going to be a surprising day, okay?
They arrived at the farm and Dakota ran out to meet the truck even before it was stopped, in a cloud of dust, "Brookie!" Waving her hands in front of her face to try to push away some of the dust cloud, Dakota wrapped her short arms around Brooklyn and gave her a big hug.
Logan also gave her a hug, "Brooklyn, we have a lot to talk about, something exciting, and something to show you. But first, let's eat, I'm starved! It's been a busy day today." Logan and Dakota immediately went into the kitchen and took care of setting the table while Savannah and Brooklyn talked about girl things.
At dinner Logan told Brooklyn all about his plan for her to work as an accountant for many of the local farmers and ranchers and some of the businesses in town. He told her how they agreed on a fee that would be reasonable for them and allow her to make a decent profit. They talked about him and Savannah teaching her how to drive the Jeep after she is comfortable in the truck, and that they would be helping her get a car.
"Oh my god! Really? You've done all that? There really are enough people who can hire me, so I can live here? You're going to teach me to drive you Jeep? Wow! You guys are the greatest friends anybody could want! Thank you so much!" Brooklyn was just about in tears with joy.
They finished eating, cleaned up the remains, the dishes, and the kitchen and took a walk. When they came past some trees and large shrubs Brooklyn saw the guest house, now looking much different from when she last saw it, many months ago, broken down and unused.
"Wow, look what you've done to the old guest house, it's beautiful. You must have been working every day on this old house," Brooklyn was saying as she was looking at the renovated guest house.
Logan started, "Brooklyn," he held out a set of keys, "this guest house is now your house."
Brooklyn couldn't believe what she had just heard, "What?What are you talking about?"
"This house, sweetie, it's yours," Savannah told her as she put one hand on Brooklyn's back and gently pushed her towards the front door.
"But, no way, seriously? No, it's not possible…" She put the key in the doornob, unlocked the door and opened it. "Oh, my, god! This is amazing! You guys! How did you do this? Why? I could've gotten some little apartment in town, but this! This is too much! You didn't have to!"
"Brooklyn, darling, this is for you because you're our friend and we love you and want you to have a great new home, out here, on the farm, in the country."
Dakota was all excited and running around inside the house, "Brook! Look, over here!" then she would run to another room, "Look at this room Brook!"
Logan reached out and grabbed little Dakota's hand as she ran past, again, "Dakota!" laughing, "You can stop running around like a chicken with your head cut off and just let Brooklyn look at the house at her own speed, okay?"
Dakota finally stopped, "Oh, okay. Brooky, you look at the house your way," and now with permission from Dakota they walked through the house, talked about the work, sat down and relaxed. Dakota climbed up onto Brooklyn's lap.
Savannah took her by her hand, "Dakota, sweetie, you should be sitting on Brooklyn's lap. At least, not right now, sweetie, okay? She has a lot to take in - this house, the new work. It's a lot to process."
Brooklyn climbed down off Brooklyn's lap and sat next to her on the couch.
Finally, Brooklyn said, "Thank you, wow, thank you, so much! I'm still in shock, guys. You've put so much work into this! It really is amazing!"
As the weekend progressed so did lining up clients for Brooklyn's new accounting business. She could use the extra bedroom as an office, at the beginning, then later get an office space in town to cut down on the driving. That was the plan for that part of things.
The next task: start learning to drive. Savannah would start by giving her a lot more time in the old truck. Since it was an automatic it would be easier to learn to drive first.
The weekend passed very quickly. Brooklyn was still in something like shock on Tuesday morning when she and Savannah headed back to the city. And Brooklyn was given the driving duties for parts of the trip. She loved it and she hated it - she loved the parts out on the country roads with very little traffic, usually no traffic, she hated the parts on the city roads with many other cars and trucks. But she was learning fast.
Leaving the City
At the office Brooklyn started the task of finding someone to take her place. She interviewed 8 people and finally decided on who she would hire. The new gal, Brenda, another life-long city girl, would start work the following day.
For that week Brooklyn trained Brenda in all the various tasks she would be responsible for, which is basically everything other than the work the guys on the crew do. And the final day of working there was coming up fast.
On her last day at the office the crew had put together a party for her. They even had quite a few of their clients at the party, it was a great send-off for Brooklyn.
During this time she had been selling some of her furniture and things she wouldn't be taking out to the farm, and many things she donated to a local charity.
It took her a couple weeks to get all of this in order and also to get her head wrapped around the idea that she, a city-girl her whole life, would be leaving the city, and going to live on a farm. This is something so strange to her that it hadn't been easy to come to terms with. But she was on her way! She was going to do it! She was determined and had her mind set on this new page in her life.
The weekend arrived, and it would be the last weekend of living in the city. Savannah arrived her at her apartment and helped her load a few things, suitcases, and bags into the truck, then they went to a restaurant to eat and walk around the not-so-pretty park, for the last time.
"It's very strange, you know, the idea of leaving this place. I've come to realize just how dirty, smelly, and not friendly, the city really is. I had no idea it was so different from anywhere else. But then, I hadn't been anywhere else, so how would I know?" Brooklyn asked, not really expecting an anser.
"At times it's almost been like I was outside my own body, watching me go through these motions, doing all those things to get moved away. At times it's been very strange. Why did I never leave? Why have I never even gone outside to see what's out there? What's wrong with me?"
"Nothing is wrong with you, you simply had a life here, and you lived that life the way you knew how to live it. You depended on public transportation to get around, you walked. I suppose that makes it less likely that you would have gotten out to see anywhere else," Savannah said, trying to understand it herself, how someone could never leave the city, to see what's outside of it.
"But there are buses that leave the city, I know that, but I never even thought of taking one, I never thought 'where do they go?'. I just grew up in this neighborhood, got a job in the next neighborhood, and lived here. Now I see that I missed so much, that I could have had a much richer life if I had only taken a few steps that, I suppose, I must have been afraid to take."
"Oh, I don't know if it was about being afraid," Savannah was trying to come up with something to help her put this all in perspective, "maybe it was simply that you were taught that this is your life, here in the city, doing a job, and never expecting anything more. Maybe something like that?"
"Hmm, maybe, but, well, no, now it's time to move on with my life, to something new and different. Now it's finally time to learn that I'm more than just an office girl doing everything that everyone else wants done."
They climbed into the truck to drive out of the city and into a new life for Brooklyn, with Savannah driving, "Yes, you are starting a new chapter in your life and it's going to be exciting! You'll see out in the country, life on a farm, is never boring."
Within a year Brooklyn was living in the farmhouse with Logan. Savannah and Dakota were spending more and more time in the guest house. Logan's Meadow had become Logan and Brooklyn's Meadow. Brooklyn was finally comfortable riding the horses, and the horses were finally accustomed to this somewhat clumsy city girl sitting on their backs. Life was good and they were all happy with how life had brought them together.
Logan and Brooklyn lay in the grass, under the stars, twinkling in soft whites, reds, blues, and greens, the breeze was gentle and refreshing on the skin. Holding hands and staring up at the stars, the moon a crescent of white bread fresh from the oven, they talked softly and planned their wedding.