Rounding the bend near the end of the lane, Joyce saw at once that the cars were still there sitting like a permanent part of the landscape in the place she’d remembered. When she was a child she had gone missing for an afternoon after she had crawled in through a broken window. She’d brushed the tiny pieces of glass off the seat and onto floor of the car after slipping a few pieces of what looked more like diamonds than broken glass into the center pocket her blue jean overalls. Always a petite child, she’d dropped easily into place behind a steering wheel that would seem huge compared with those found in modern cars today, but back then even sitting up as big and tall as she could, she had barely been able to see over the wheel. Tilting her head back so that her nose pointed up she’d struggled to see over the cracked dashboard of the abandoned car. After a while her neck had begun to ache and she diverted her attention to what was easy to see and close enough to reach. Picking at the peeling strips of interior paint, she tried to tug a piece loose scratching at it gently the way she might pick at the scabby places she always seemed to have on her knees.
Joyce had disappeared that day, lost for what her foster family would say seemed like most of the afternoon and evening. Sitting in the remains of someone else’s dreams, she been lulled to sleep by the heat of the afternoon sun which even in late summer was still baking hot and only bearable because of the cars position under a leafy canopy of trees. Walking through the tall grasses was easier at her age now as she made her way over to the shell of what had been her first mode of transportation. This old wreck of a car had never actually moved from its present location not with Joyce in it anyway, but looking back she remembered the places she’d traveled in her mind while sitting on its worn front seat using her imagination as a roadmap to all the places she would go.
Seeing the tireless rims of what had been her spaceship to the moon and an airplane built for one, she thought about the times when she had pretended that this old car had special powers that could protect her from the evil outside forces that threatened her daily life. Outside evil forces was the name she given what she couldn’t understand and it was the comic books that taught her about superheroes and their powers. She’d found them stuffed inside an old cardboard suitcase almost too small to contain them all. One day while hiding in an old shed behind the barn, she had made herself as small as she could and pushed in behind a dusty tarp. Backing up against a wall, she’d bumped into the suitcase that held what she would come to think of as her handbooks for survival.
Joyce shifted a bit, restless with the discomfort caused by old memories and the weight of the box she held in her hands. It had been so long since she was last here that she wasn’t sure where the path was anymore. As overgrown as it was now, she couldn’t quite see it and tried to remember with her feet instead of looking with her eyes. She knew that the last member of the foster “family” had died not long ago. The old man had held on to his miserable life long after she wished him dead for the first time and now years after she’d left this place which was never a home, she finally felt safe enough to return.
The air was so hot that she could barely move feeling like it took too much effort to even walk, but she was on a mission to return what she’d taken years ago even though it meant going back to the place where she’d found it. A friend that she’d confided in had suggested she sell the contents of the box, after all there was a huge market for old comic books. Joyce had explained as patiently as she could that these well-read worn out pages had no value to a collector in their condition and that selling them would be like selling off the stuffed Pooh bear her friend had treasured since childhood. ” These Masters of the Universe belong to another world ” she’d said, while thinking quietly to herself…a world that I am finally done doing battle with.
Thanks to Karen Caterson for her suggestion that I used for this week’s TMAST. Judy Harper joined me again in writing a story for TMAST and her story can be found on her blog here. Please take a look at the pictures for next week’s TMAST and offer up suggestions for topic sentences based on the photographs. Thanks for reading and commenting and please consider writing along with me next week.