The Farmer, the Skeleton


The window over the sink, the one with a late-day sun coloring the kitchen. Through it, the farmer watched the small girl. She sat in the tire hanging from the branch of the largest elm. To and fro, rocked herself and the beagle in her lap. Her little feet barely touching the ground.

Behind him, he heard the seamstress rummaging in the hallway closet.

‘Whattaya think she wants to be?’ asked the seamstress.

The small girl gently placed the dog on the ground. Then, stood and proceeded to climb the tire. She perched on top of it, swinging herself. Like a jungle primate.

The farmer answered, ‘… Hmm?’ Still, he stared through the open window. The breeze moved the thin curtains, and he tied them off to the sides.

In the yard, ‘Ya! Benny!’ shrieked the small girl. ‘I’m a woman of the Amazon!’ She pounced from the tire swing and chased the beagle away from the tree. They ran until they reached the pumpkin patch.

The farmer had to pick the perfect one soon. It was almost time to carve for All Hallows’ Eve.

The seamstress closed the closet door and came to the kitchen. She dropped her sewing supplies and fabrics onto the dining table. She started sorting them out.

Again, she asked, ‘Whattaya think she wants to be, Jon?’

The farmer’s bad eyes followed the quick movements of the small girl and her dog as they traipsed between the pumpkins.

‘Hmm,’ he began, ‘I surely don’t know what she wants to be – she’s always pretending to be something – but, I know I only wish her to be well every day. I know you wish the same.’

The seamstress stopped her sorting and looked over to her husband. ‘For Hallowe’en, Jon. For Hallowe’en. What she wants to be for Hallowe’en…’

The farmer waved his hand at his wife. He said, ‘I know, I know. It’s just… watching her out there…’

The small girl and beagle ran up one path then another, chasing each other among the pumpkins. ‘Raa! Run, Benny!’ The words echoed over the acres of farmland.

The farmer pushed the hair off of his forehead. ‘I want her to feel something worth feeling every single day.’

The seamstress put her hand on a large cut of lavender-colored fabric. Lifted it, held it up to the light coming through the window. Her husband’s silhouette cast on the piece.

He turned to his wife, the fabric obscuring her face. She put it back onto the table, and there were her features. The new lines and old lines. He had held them all in his hands at some point, but she had drawn them. The seamstress’s brown eyes spoke without saying anything and also everything. They were the amber of another time, another place.

Now, the farmer asked her. ‘What do you think she should be? For Hallowe’en?’

His wife touched the lavender fabric. ‘I think this color calls for a princess, no?’

He smiled. ‘And, me?’

‘What’ll you be?’

‘That’s right.’ The farmer racked his brain. ‘I’m thinking a king. And a skeleton.’

The seamstress thought, then said, ‘The King of Bones.’

The farmer turned halfway around, glancing out of the window, again. The small girl and dog sat in a dusty path of the pumpkin patch. The girl kissed the beagle’s nose over and over.

He looked back at his wife. ‘And, you?’

The seamstress smirked. ‘Queen of Ghosts, of course!’ She went back to the closet and dug out a large, white sheet. Sitting at the table, the seamstress began working on the costumes.

The farmer closed the window over the sink. He came to his wife, kissed the back of her head, her hair smelling of faraway fruits.

‘I believe we’re the monarchs of death this year,’ he laughed.

‘With a princess in waiting.’ The seamstress cut, cut, cut at the fabrics.

The farmer walked to the back door and stepped outside. He made his way, sauntering, over to the pumpkin patch. When he got close, the small girl looked up, a grin across her face. She jumped to her feet. The beagle fell from her arms, landing beside her.

‘Run!’ she commanded the dog. ‘Run, Benny! A skeleton-monster is coming for us!’ The beagle took off, careening around the many pumpkins.

The farmer raised his head, laughed into the orange and pink sky. The small girl giggled and ran after her dog.

At the dining table, the seamstress could hear riotous laughter and roaring and barking coming from the yard, from the pumpkin patch. She fashioned a king’s crown from yellow plastic and snipped eyeholes into the white sheet. She stood to give her painful back a break, and peeked out of the window over the sink.

Outside, she saw, a skeleton chased a princess.




  1. I had no idea where this one was going to end up. Beautiful tangles here (but then I’ve always loved the idea of the 3 Fates measuring, sewing, & cutting life’s cloth), such that I’ll have to read again to work my way through them.

    Liked by 1 person

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