Hospitality Pt1

Sharon’s Notes: This story is born of the idea of very interesting conversation I had with my husband. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what it was. It’s fairly disappointing because I’m sure it would have been awesome to share. Warning: If you you have a good idea, write it down.

I had no idea what I was going to do with Nana’s house. It was a lovely property on the edge of a national forest. The house was a little small, under a thousand square feet, but it sat on five acres of land. Nana had spent all her life turning her property into one big garden, planting it with lavender and daisies, and other wonderful things. 

It was a beautiful place that I had a lot of good memories of. It was also over a three hour drive from my house and job. I had a hard decision coming up. Standing in the back yard that I’d spent almost every summer of my childhood playing in was making it even harder. There was even a mushroom circle in the middle of the yard. 

Whenever it rained, rings of mushrooms would spring up by morning. Nana would send me to kick them over so the fairies couldn’t escape. Tears welled in the corner of my eyes. Nana had a lot of stories about fairies. She said they were passed down from her grandmother’s mother. 

A lot of summer nights she and I would sit out on the porch. Nana liked to have a cold beer and she would make me a glass of chocolate milk. I walked over to the little glass and metal table that stood a little lopsided, and sure enough, the little clay pot in the center had a half burned citronella candle. Leaning over to take a deep breath of it’s familiar scent, memories flooded over me. It felt like I was choking on them. 

Nana, sitting with me on the porch, telling me about the rules of hospitality. Eagerly watching as she pulled fresh loaf out of the oven as she made me recite the importance of salt and iron and bread. Sneaking out late at night to watch the fireflies, and watching them carefully to see if I could tell which ones were fae. 

I cried and laughed outright then. These days I tried to make it to her place at least one weekend a month. Last month had been a real mile mark. At twenty seven years old, she had finally decided I was grown up enough to have a beer with her. Dear God, I missed her so much. 

But should I stay here or go? It would physically hurt to have a stranger living in Nana’s house, but it wasn’t really Nana’s house anymore, was it? My grandmother was gone. But I loved the house . . . I didn’t have to decide right away. I had taken two weeks off so I could give myself plenty of time. 

During the last week, I had cried a lot. Nana had always told me that tears were fine, but after each time you cried you had to find something to be happy about. With a deep breath I stood up straight and squared my shoulders. I smirked as I tore off across the yard and punted the largest mushroom. It exploded in a shower of spongy white and brown chucks. I held up my arms and roared like Godzilla as I stomped the next one flat. 

In a few short minutes I had laid waste to every mushroom in the yard. The carnage of fungus was a truly glorious thing to behold. Their destruction was wonderfully cathartic. Chuckling to myself I wandered inside to have a cup of tea. I was more of a coffee girl, but Nana didn’t drink “bitter bean water”. At Nana’s house, you drank tea, unless it was night time out on the porch. Tonight, I would sit outside, light the citronella candle to keep away the mosquitoes, and drink the last beer in Nana’s fridge.

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