...As told by Yard Yeti Emeritus Eunice Everlasting...
...to a small gathering of wanna be Yard Yetis...
...now only ordinary...
....but soon to be extraordinary...
...Daydreaming again. Her favorite. The vanishing into thin air fantasy. Here today. Gone tomorrow. A real life disappearing act. Eunice glanced down at her slicing hand, not the one gripping the cucumber. For a moment she thought she'd done it herself, sliced her right pinkie finger clean off. She dropped the knife and reached for the paper towels, for surely, there would be blood. Lots of it. Plus, there was a finger to locate. The reality of what she was staring at slowly sank in. No blood. No throbbing pain. Just no pinkie finger. Anywhere.
Eunice raised her hand up to the light streaming through the kitchen window. Thumb. Yes. Pointer. Uh huh. Index finger. Secure. Ring finger. Still ringed. Pinkie finger. Gone.
She waggled her four fingers, slid her reading glasses back up from where they had slipped down on her nose. As a final confirmation, an exclamation that felt like a scream, she raised her other hand and pressed her palms together. This is the church. This is the steeple. Open the doors and see all the people. Normally there were ten people in the pews. Today, however, only nine.
My. Goodness. Gone.
No. Misplaced, she thought. A careless error of a forgetful mind. Left somewhere waiting to be found. Why just hours ago she'd left her checkbook at the end of the check out counter. The boy, bagging her groceries muttered under his breath, "Ever heard of a debit card?" Eunice blushed and rushed her signature. She shook her head and smiled in apology for taking up so much of his time. In her rush to leave, left her checkbook behind. Maybe her pinkie finger was just sitting there near the pile of plastic bags. Eunice felt just a touch lighter, as though a piece of her went missing, right after she heard the boy follow up with "Maybe we need a special line for the elderly".
Well, no mind. If Eunice made a fuss, she'd probably be accused of talking to herself. Perhaps tonight at dinner, Harold would notice. She set the cucumber salad down. Just the way he liked it, cucumbers and Vidalia onions sliced paper thin with a touch of vinegar and a sprinkle of sugar.
The two ate in silence until Eunice decided to move things along. She would tell him the story, with flashing eyes and hands waving in the air, as he considered her to be a bit dramatic. A touch overly emotional. Easily ruffled. Usually riled.
Losing a pinkie finger, well that was definitely deserving of a few dramatic gestures. Eunice started her story, was just about to get to the good stuff, when Harold rolled his eyes. Her cue to stop. So she did. She folded up her nine fingers and sat quietly staring at her plate. All that was left to do was chew.
When it came time for bed, Eunice pulled the washcloth slowly over her face, patting at the puffiness under her eyes. Patting, not pulling, the magazine suggested. She patted her left eye, then stroked the cloth over her left eyelid. Something was not right. Her eyebrow. Her right eyebrow was gone. Every single hair. Ingrown and out. The very same eyebrow she arched so dramatically at the dinner table, right before he rolled his eyes. Her eyebrow must have rolled up like a window shade and disappeared into her scalp.
Eunice held her four fingered hand at brow level. First a missing appendage. Now an off kilter visage. She grabbed the sink to keep from wobbling. Miraculously, she teeter-tottered her way to their bed. She laid her head on the pillow and rested her hands on her stomach. She waited until she heard the snoring symphony erupt beside her. Once Harold fell into his normal sonorous rhythm, Eunice began an informal sweep of the premises. From head to toe, her eyes squeezed tight to help heighten her senses. Eyebrow. Pinkie. Gone. The rest undisturbed.
Her rest was not. Undisturbed. Eunice lay so still, afraid of slumber. Under the cover of night, a body part might slip out from under the covers and escape.
The shrill ring of the bedside phone startled her. She almost knocked over the alarm clock as she fumbled with her four fingered hand for the receiver. She breathed heavily and somewhat warily into the phone.
It was her son Ewald. Eunice straightened up in bed and launched immediately into "Oh hello dear, you'll never guess what happened to me today..."as she heard him clear his throat and gruffly ask, "Is Dad there?" She nudged the snoring lump beside her and handed over the phone. Suddenly very weary after a particularly wearisome day, Eunice fell back on her pillow and slept.
In the shower the next morning, her eyes stinging with soap, she fumbled for the faucet. She felt the spray sluicing over her face and dripping off her chin. The water was hot. Too hot. Eunice thought the word "Oh". When it didn't exit her mouth, she thought "Oh No". A drop of water dripped onto her chin missing her mouth entirely. For truly, it was her mouth that was entirely missing. As she stepped out of the shower, Eunice caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror. No eyebrow. No pinkie. No mouth.
Makeup, she resolved. I need makeup. I need to redefine the boundaries. A slash of bright red lipstick, a dark sable arching eyebrow. Dressed in five, tucked behind the wheel of her car, Eunice headed to the grocery store, setting her sights on the beauty aisle. However, halfway there, a car packed with teenagers passed her, giving her the finger she wished she still had. Eunice was so angry, she lost her head.
She put the car in park, left it by the curb and trudged the remaining few blocks to the grocery store. Eunice was furious now, fed up to what would have been her solitary eyebrow. She was returning to the scene of the crime and planned to give the check out boy a piece of her mind. Wherever that was.
She only needed a paisley scarf to toss jauntily over her shoulders to distract attention. This time she was armed for battle. Eunice had cash in her pocket.
As she strode confidently into the 10 items or less line, a woman with a loud face and an even louder voice shoved past her and slammed her basket on the conveyor belt. Eunice would have raised an eyebrow if she had one. She would have thrown back her head in disgust is she knew where it was. Instead, all Eunice remembered as her body melted to the floor, was the man behind her yelling "Woman, have you no spine?"
Eunice dissolved into a neat and tidy puddle of sinew and skin on top of her sensible shoes. The man stepped over the puddle and claimed her space as his own.
For one cataclysmic moment, it seemed all was lost. Literally and figuratively. Then, in that moment of wizened whimsy, Eunice realized she had become her own favorite fantasy. Not a leg to stand on. Neither head nor hair. No show of hands.
Eunice felt her spirit rise and float through spaces and places she'd never seen before. No excuses. No pardon me. No waiting and tapping her foot. She would never again have to be "just a minute" or "we'll be with you shortly".
She felt light. Not a care in the world,
When the wind picked her up, Eunice let herself, her true and very visible self, get carried away.
She alit in the midst of a vast and magnificent garden. Bountiful blooming buds, soaring trees, abundant foliage. She stood, equally magnificent in garden gloves, yellow wellies and upon her head, a preposterous pompadour of Everlasting curls framing her face. Intact. Eunice was not only physically intact, but so overcome with the joy of hearing her own voice, she puckered her lips and whispered that once elusive "O".
That tiny little "O" drifted far and wide, to be heard only by other women, Yard Yetis to be, standing on the rim of the canyon between Here and There.
Eunice Everlasting, hysterical headdress framing her tiny "o" shaped mouth, folded her ten fingers into her lap and solemnly nodded at the faces surrounding her in rapt attention.
"Here", she whispered, "Here in the garden is where I go to remind myself that there is in the earth, hope. Wear your floral coiffure with flair. Believe the "o" in wonder. Strut proudly in your yellow wellies.
For here, in the garden, live the Yard Yeti Women,
Seasoned and reasoned and ready to grow.
Eunice lifted her pinkie, raised an eyebrow, nodded her head, straightened her spine...and giggled...rising into the night sky like a fiery ball of light. Visible to all the women below.
...The once ordinary...
...Yard Yetis of Lore...