There I sat, listening to the sad man tell his story.
It appeared to me that he had gone back at least twenty years to start the story. I was beginning to worry about gathering any more mushrooms or leeks. However, if anyone needed to tell his story it was this man.
And he continued telling me about the pretty little blond girl that lived down the dirt road and the day she first spoke to him.
“Hi” she said quite spritely.
“Hello to you also” I answered.
“We became friends and spoke with each other often. She appeared to be quite interested in me and asked many questions regarding how I lived, what I ate, what I read and what the inside of my cabin looked like.”
“The questions were easy to answer; well – – – all of them except what my cabin looked like inside. It was quite a mess. Besides, you really can’t explain what your home looks like inside. You have to show people what it looks like. And I was not about to let her inside my cabin.”
“It wasn’t just because it was a mess. There was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. It was an uncomfortable feeling; almost a sense.”
“We saw each other very often and she would insist on bringing a book for me to read.”
“Hell, I couldn’t read. Even if I could I wouldn’t. Why would I waste my time trying to assemble letters into words only to be forced to assemble words into sentences? After that I would have to put it all together to form a thought.”
“Why would I do all that when I had the woods, the stream and my logs to split?”
“Once she realized that I was not going to accept her books she started working on my appearance.”
“First it was my fingernails. She said they were “filthy” and started cleaning them with the little blade on my pocketknife. She would do this a few times a day.”
“Then it was my pants. She would always notice the little things like rabbit blood or fish mucous. Where was a man to wipe his hands, other than on his pants?”
“Then she started on how I lived. She insisted that there were good things to purchase in the farmers’ market. Now I ask you, how was I to buy anything without money? I had no money. I had no need for money. Everything I needed was in the woods, along a stream or in my cabin. I had more food growing wild than I could ever eat.”
” She seemed real anxious to get into my cabin but I put a quick stop to that notion.”