I’m behind the house playing in the dirt with my trucks. I’m tired of that. My brother Terry told me if I cross the road and go through the big ditch and if I just keep going along the side of two corn fields, I’ll come out at Walker Road. That’s the road my gramma lives on. I like going there. She makes good donuts. So, I decide to walk there.
My mom is busy with my little brother and sister so I don’t tell her. I cross the highway and go down into the big ditch. It’s almost dry. One frog says hello, but I don’t stop. I go up the other side of the ditch and into the cornfield. Terry told me to be sure not to go into the corn because I’ll get lost because the corn is taller than me. Terry is smart. So, I just follow the little ditch along the field.
I like the sound of the crows. I can hear another bird, too. They’re keeping me company. I look back. I can’t see our house anymore. I keep walking and get to the second corn field, just like Terry said I would, so I keep going more. This is the farthest I’ve ever walked. Even more than to the back of the cemetery. I like the sound of the wind through the trees and the corn.
I can hear a road ahead and soon I can see it. It must be Walker Road. But I’m not sure which way to turn and I can’t remember what Terry said. It can’t be down that way because I can see the drive-in and the stop light by the butcher shop where my parents buy meat. Gramma’s must be the other way. So, I cross the road and go that way.
I like the fields better. There’s no corn or crows here. But walking is easy on the gravel. And I like it when some of the trucks honk at me. This is taking a long time. I just keep walking and I come to another road but it’s not a big, paved road with lots of cars and trucks.
I think the house I’m passing is where my Aunt Kate lives. She makes really good buns and bread. My uncle Fred smokes a pipe and is very quiet. Their house is long and white. They’re old like my gramma.
Across the road there are three ladies sitting on a porch. They are all looking at me and one of them shouts something at me. But I can’t hear what she said. They all look just like my gramma. They are all old. They all have white hair. They are all smiling. They all wave. I wave back. But that can’t be my gramma’s house. Her house doesn’t have other houses next to it.
So, I keep walking. Then I see my gramma’s house ahead and I am really happy. I run up the driveway, up onto her porch and into her kitchen. My gramma is really surprised. She kind of shouts and her face looks funny. How the dickens did you get here? I walked gramma. I followed the fields like Terry told me to.
My gramma goes over to the phone right away and picks it up and turns the crank. Jean, Jean, you will never ever guess in a hundred years who just walked into my kitchen, all by himself! Michael Yes! Michael! I can hear my mom’s voice through the phone. I think she is happy, so she shouted too.
Gramma tells her I walked through the fields. Yes, Jean, it’s a very big surprise. No, he’s fine. OK, I’ll have Joe pick him up on his way home from work.
Gramma goes out to the road and puts a red rag on the mailbox. She does that if she needs my dad to stop when he drives by. I think that is very smart.
I ask if I can have some water. We go out onto the back porch. Can I pump, gramma? She holds the dipper and I pump the handle. It’s hard. It takes all my might. But soon water comes out. It’s really cold, colder than at home and it tastes really good. She doesn’t have any donuts though.
My dad stops later and is really surprised too. He said I walked almost two miles. At supper my parents tell my brothers and sisters about me walking to gramma’s. I’m surprised they are so surprised, even Terry is, and he was the one who told me how to get there. Nobody is mad at me, but my dad said I should have asked my mom if I could walk to gramma’s. But she would have said no.
Michael Turton is a reporter for The Highlands Current, an award-winning weekly newspaper in Cold Spring, New York. He also leads a Flash Writing group in Cold Spring through the Julia L. Butterfield Library. Members of the group submit works of fiction and nonfiction with word counts usually limited to exactly 75, 150 or 300 words. He is currently developing a collection of stories about his life growing up in his hometown of Oldcastle, Ontario. He wrote his first story while in grade three, a one-page episode of Wyatt Earp, a gift for his sister Nancy who was in hospital having her appendix removed. Turton recalls his sister saying she laughed so hard her stitches almost burst. “I was somewhat offended; I wrote the story as a drama,” Turton said. “But I was glad she reacted; ” he said, adding that
for a writer, the worst reaction of all is no reaction.