Waiting for your voice to reach me,
I lay in darkness and hold my breath
To slow the pounding beat of my heart
Gracie perched on the wooden window sill with one leg dangling from the second floor. She stretched her bare foot and rubbed her heel on the rough brick. The maple tree shivered with the cool evening wind. Goosebumps rose up on Gracie’s skin. She leaned out and looked up the lane. Gracie saw only empty road. The sun threw long lines of gold across the fields. Jack had been out haying all day. The dust still hung in the air. A song came on the radio inside the room. Gracie looked down the slope of the porch roof below her feet to the yard below. The peonies had finished blooming a few weeks ago. The blooms were fading and the ants that helped long gone. Gracie pushed the window up as far as it would go. She bent forward and maneuvered herself onto the other side of the glass, holding onto the sill with one arm so she wouldn’t fall.
The farmhouse was surrounded on four sides by fields. Clusters of trees interrupted the fence lines, forcing them to zigzag around roots and trunks. An old barn, black with age, squatted behind the house and the dilapidated hen house beside it. They moved to the farm when Gracie was a year old. Gracie heard noise downstairs. She sat still. Seconds later, Lucifer, her Siamese came barreling through the door. She heard him crash into the corner and watched him jump onto the bed as though nothing had happened. The sky slowly shifted into the purple and blues of dusk. Small brown bats darted from the chimneys to the trees and back again, eating mosquitos and moths. Gracie eyed the peaked roof above her. She wanted to climb but she didn’t dare. The shingles were old and cracked in places. She could see places where moss had started to grow. Gracie saw the first star peek through the inkwell of sky. She closed her eyes tightly and made a wish. A sudden gust of wind came up and made Gracie sway. She gripped the bottom of the window, digging her fingers into the brittle old paint. She kept her eyes closed and wondered if anyone would notice if she fell.