Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pablo Michael Week 126: The Kessler Farm

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Pablo Michael’s Picture Choice: Both

Title: The Kessler Farm

Arriving at the Kessler farm, I parked the car by the driveway outside the property. Lights shone within the house, but I needed time to gather my thoughts and stretch my legs after the long drive. I watched the man on the crescent moon reach for the glow of Venus, the brightest star, half the distance away to the horizon of the dark, early morning sky. I never had noticed Venus so far away from the moon as I did now. It was similar to the distance between Keith, my half-brother, and me. We had been bonded by our blood, Indian style, when we both slashed a cut in our first index fingers and pressed them together, pledging our vows, never to allow anyone or anything separate our souls, especially after we fell in love. We had ground dry, brittle apricot tree leaves to powder. Packing our magic tobacco into a corncob pipe, we sealed our brotherhood by inhaling the serum of our imaginary peace deep into our lungs, only to choke, and cough up white clouds of smoke.

The crow of a rooster jolted me from my walk through the memories of my childhood. The sun had risen, shedding the first rays of dawn on what remained of the harvested fields of the Kessler Farm. Kessler Farm, somehow that name didn’t sit well with me any longer. I walked through the garden, amongst a few pumpkins scattered through the fading greenery. I liked the green and hints of orange striped gourds left behind, probably for the absence of a more desirable vivid, bright orange coloring. I wanted to pick one and put it in my car, like Keith and I did, when we stole something from the garden before harvest.

But that wasn’t why I had returned to the farm.

A voice called from the distance. I turned around and looked back across the field. Denise, Keith’s sister, waved, motioning me to come back to the house. She kissed and hugged me. My hands held her head as she nestled it in against my chest.

“I didn’t expect you so early.” She took my hand and pulled me inside the house. “You can help with the food for the reception.”

“How many people are coming?” I didn’t expect anyone more than the immediate family, Kevin, Karl, and Denise, and me.

“Kevin and Karl, and their families of course. Richard is coming. He’s bringing a few friends of Keith’s.”

“How many?” I wasn’t expecting Richard, a mutual friend from our adolescence, and more people from our past.

“He didn’t say. Come in the kitchen and help me with the vegetable appetizers.” Keith was not the only family member born with a gene for creativity. Denise consistently, proved hers with her culinary skills and gardening. The vegetables had to have been grown at the farm. Denise ran the farm after The Kessler parents had passed on.

We prepared strips of potatoes, carrots, squash and other vegetables, wrapped in Phyllo, sprinkled with sesame seeds, to be cooked.

“I’m glad you came. Keith would’ve wanted you here.”

My heart raced with the mention of his name, remembering how we grew through puberty together through finding our sexuality in the barn as passionate lovers, late at night. A burning pain tied my stomach in knots, like the days during our first year of college when Keith joined the army. He had wanted me to enlist with him, but I knew there was no way I could shoot a gun, let alone kill another human being.

The army had split our lives, like when an apple is sliced in half with a knife. I will never find out if the military devoured his portion, preventing us from sharing each other’s fruit of passion. The torturous hours, days, and months, after Keith was deployed, burdened my heart with a heavy weight and chain, until the phone rang. I had not been the same since Denise unloaded the news, submerging my heavy soul into the dismal, subterranean depths of woeful misery. The army had spoiled my half of our apple. My heart was mush, but I could not cry. I had hoped it had all been a bad dream.


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Pablo Michaels writes LGBT fiction and has published with Naughty Nights Press, You can follow him at @bell2mike


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