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Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: Ann Marie Saarelainen-Simard

Title: Late Harvest

"Did she wake you up just to tell you that / It was only a change of plan... / Dream up, dream up, let me fill your cup / with the promise of a man" {Neil Young / "Harvest"}

We had had discussions about moving back to the golden African bushveld or the great North-American country, settling down down in that positive adult way where you know you have at last arrived somewhere, but it is only the beginning of a new life - in short, all the parameters of the eternal settler dream and theme. The idea was as simple as they come - leave the dusty city for the prairies, start a vineyard and maybe a farm, while living off the land and affording, at last, to retire at an early age to write and write only.

Well, that was just a dream. Always up in the air, and that discussion extended over a whole decade - I kid you not. In the meantime, there was always something more important to do, like finding new girlfriends for my partner, and working on a new eternity project for me. From "In and out of Africa" it became "Just out of Africa", full stop. Besides, I never stopped doubting the feasibility of such a project and labelled it utopia, to be finally filed away in my mind to the heavy and dusty dossier of All the other projects that will never come to fruition". I do still not know what he did with his dream, but my guess it that he just ran away with it in a getaway car and another girl.

I still felt that the time was up and that I was finally ready to assume my true vocation and stop forever pretending that I was not really a creative person, that I was just slumming and hanging with that crowd to get a holiday from myself. But starting packing in by myself and get going who knows where? Maybe not. But it was still true that all my life I had been living in somebody else's skin, on other people's conditions, dictating me how to be and what was right, in more or less subtle ways. Besides, I was married to a very kind and cerebral man, but who could not be exactly be described as right or wrong, but certainly disenclined to make any major changes in his stable, working and reading-the-papers, sitting-by-the-fireside kind of life.

That leaves one. Me. The enfant terrible, terribly refusing to abdicate my right to make changes and turn everything upside down like you turn an autumn leaf on the ground, or a sheet of paper. Refusing to swear allegence to the crowd marking time on the same spot invariably occupied every dying day. I wanted, at last, to harvest some of the accumulated love on life's invisible account where all the lost and lovelorn deposit unwittingly every day of suffering. I wanted to turn that leaf on the ground and make it part of my life. I wanted, I want, to give at last.

And then I stopped wanting it so damn hard. Because the sky was rosy and gold, because of that smiling love in my childrens' eyes, because I did not feel any more like that fish out of pond, I just knew it was happening because I had changed, and the wind had too. I printed out the pages I had harvested so hard and in harsh conditions during the last decade, and it looked like a book. I could almost read the font type on the final proofread version. I could almost write the script for the rest of my life. But I won't. It is too interesting. Now I am sitting here at the house where I have my office looking on the orchard, almost feeling at home. But not exactly. I still have time to make a few paintings as a dowry to this life and write a few lines, or just play with the pen and paper.

Because now my name is on the line. And the phone will ring soon.

The road home has started, actually it started a long time ago, maybe even before I was born.

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