Way out and deeper into the woods, lived a person in a hollowed out tree. The stars bent over the tree-limbed roof; smoke poured out of the chimney. I smelled beans and meat cooking from somewhere inside it. When she answered my banging at her door, she was silent. I liked that about her. I ran into the nearby bushes and hid there, at first. You see, I knew I was wretched, miserable and poor, a grieving ghost wandering through my nightmare life. I’d grown tired and more confused from chasing one falling star after another, until I was just ready to drop from exhaustion. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own story when I happened to bang on her door in the woods.
So, in the woods when the sun went down and I was sitting on the old rotting tree watching the long, long skies over her hollowed out tree home and sensed all that raw energy that rolled out of her cleared part of the woods and all her busy work around it and all her dreaming which created such a nice cut out of the woods sort of sweet place, and seeing it contrasting my thoughts that nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody except for growing old and death, I began crying and she must have heard me, sitting there just crying my grown man eyes out like I was a small child.
Finally, I move from my hiding spot and wonder about her as I do it. Does anyone care when she comes home? Does she have a father, a brother or an uncle? Does she have anyone who cares about her, and her only, who says to her, ‘I love you, Honey’? I wonder about lots of feelings all of the sudden and I feel a darkness hovering over me, the darkness I fight all the time, the darkness I can’t let fill me completely.
You see, guys like me have no families. We belong to no one and no place. We live an easy life, no people means no mess when we pick up and move on. But sometimes a guy needs somebody to be near him. The moment of moving out from hiding, to be seen by her, was one of those times for me and it settled and hovered and stayed for much longer than a moment.
She pointed to a picnic table, setting on it a big bowl of beans and beef. She said nothing as she motioned for me to come and eat. If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful woman for whom you have hoped and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless, if such situations have not yet been part of your experience, you likely won’t understand the generosity of what Ginger did next.
Reaching out, she first touched my shoulder, gently rubbing it as I ate. Then she pushed the glass of fresh water closer to me, lifting it and tipping it as I drank from it. She refilled my bowl three times and sat close to me without a word uttered between us. When I had finally finished eating, Ginger held me in her wonderful arms and rock me back and forth, while I continued to cry and finally fell soundly asleep on her shoulder.
At some point, during the night, she must have picked me up, carrying me to her bed where I continued to sleep until the next morning. I woke up, feeling better than I had felt in years, totally rested and ready to move on, once again. As I walked away from her home deeper in the woods, I turned back to say thank you and goodbye, but she was already busy cleaning up after me, yet her calm eyes seemed to follow me, thinking or saying something quite comforting back to me as I left her, untouched, forever there, in that nice little place. What were her eyes saying to me? I did not know and could not guess, for she was so much better than the likes of me.
As she watched the stranger leave, Ginger thought, to herself,
“I do not like that guy. I must get to know him better.”