My Twin and her family left about the middle of the afternoon. Their Ariel was having a hard time, so our Ariel was, too. And, I was quickly a wreck, crying pretty hard on and off, and having difficulty… Still, we tried to help our town through the end of a stinking hot day, and I thought we were doing ok. It was Sam the cook who came out, wiping his hands on his white thing… “I think Maude needs a break. We are closing at 5 again tonight, then I am going home.” Well, that was that; we couldn’t stay open without a cook. I jumped up and hugged Sam and thanked him. Then I got the two signs from yesterday, and Ariel went around and, wiping away tears, mentioned that we would close early again. Then we hugged together as a family briefly. We knew some weren’t fond of having to go elsewhere for dinner, but there was just nothing…
After doing all the cleaning (himself) and locking the door, Shysage drove his hurting girls slowly home. Half of the time I hugged my man, and half the time I hugged our Ariel. We didn’t talk much. Well, when we were just about home, Ariel asked quietly “Can we be ponies tonight?… Well, I really want to fly some more…” Shysage and I just smiled. I think Ariel realized that was a yes.
Shysage clearly knew we were both hurting inside. He chuckled though, and said “flying therapy.” I only vaguely understood that last word, but some time together… up in the sky… That would be amazing.
Once in the house, we opened windows, set fans up then walked out the back door into our wet oats. Ariel changed into her small horse form right away, and said “Lemme try this…” Before Shysage and I were able to even catch up, our daughter was in the air, pulling higher, laughing loudly. I guess that really is a Pegasus thing! Shysage and I followed our treasure of a daughter, and joined in on her slow huge spiral glide back down. It really was so amazing. And it was still pretty hot, but with the wind constantly blowing past… The sun was also setting so we would only do one glide that night. We all landed carefully and were quickly laying on our bellies in the nice oats as small horses, together. We just relaxed there as the sun slowly set behind us. It was quiet for a little while.
“Shysage, what happened, really… Why did everypony just… That makes no sense to me, for true friendship to just up and…” Well, I was crying by then and couldn’t go on. We didn’t ask for any of the harsh reality that was our last two or so years in my world, before being blasted here, abandoned alone as Bill and Maude, and Irene… We were just trying to help others… trying to live our lives trying to help others… It all seemed, what happened to us seemed… so wrong…
Shysage hugged me and I slowly calmed down. “True friendship has to be more than just talk, more than just lip-service. Otherwise, it won’t last.” Shysage said this, then was quiet briefly, deep in thought. “Beyond that, I have no idea. And I don’t understand how Cel could just…” That made us all cry for a while…
Out of the blue, I asked quietly “Shysage, can we go to Ed and Edna’s church tomorrow?” Shysage smiled, I saw that. It was a yes.
Ariel said excitedly “Oh yay, true friend…” I guess she had already made that connection.
Still, as small horses, we spent most of that evening talking to true friend together. When it was late, we then changed back to people and went to bed. Well, we hugged our treasure Ariel a bit at her door, then she headed into her room. Shysage and I got ready for bed together, and… My man could have done anything he wanted once we were naked and in bed, but I just wanted him to hold me. That is what he did until we both fell asleep.
We woke up on time the next morning. I guess Bill, er Shysage knew both when and where we needed to be in order to go to Edna’s church. I was pretty sure this would be an even more different day of rest, for us and probably for a lot of people. Ariel had already showered, put on work clothes (jeans and a the Diner t-shirt), and was calmly swinging on the front porch; I found her like that as I headed in to take a shower in the front bathroom. I had bedtime clothes on at least, so she and I hugged, then I headed for the bathroom. But as I showered… I didn’t think any of us should wear work clothes this morning. And when I was done with my shower and walked into our room, Shysage had already dressed in some of Ed’s “Sunday Best” Shysage said with a grin. Well the clothes he was wearing looked a lot like the clothes Ed was wearing in that picture of Ed and Edna we had at the Diner, the one Earl had given us. Yes, that was what we would do. And it didn’t take me too long, searching through maybe a hundred dresses in Edna’s closet, to find the exact same dress that Edna wore for that picture, probably taken over 40 years ago. The dress was fine, and I even found the same pair of shoes, I think. Of course, Shysage said I still looked so beautiful. Once I was dressed, I had Ariel come in, and we found a very similar dress for our precious daughter, and she picked out some shoes to go with it. Shysage left, and I helped Ariel get ready. Even in that probably 40 year old dress, our precious treasure Ariel looked so beautiful… I told her that, and she just cried, which made me cry… We cried together and hugged for a few minutes.
I guess Shysage was keeping track of the time, and said we needed to leave soon. Before he did that, he got one of Ed’s hats off the top shelf in the closet and put it on. Well, it was one of Ed’s, and it seemed to match the outfit Shysage was wearing, and it looked very nice. I could see Ed wearing that, although he had no hat on in the picture Earl had given us. And my man… Shysage smiled when he put that hat on. I think he liked that hat too! After we were all dressed, we made our way carefully to the Mustang, climbed in and got situated. Shysage warned me he would need to do a little more shifting, which he did. He wasn’t in a hurry, but he was soon driving his car through town. He didn’t need any help, and it was Ariel who noticed Delores’ mini-van following us! We pulled into the church parking lot, and Delores and I were quickly hugging, crying… Kacey and Tina were there too, as was Victor. Well, we just all visited briefly there in the stinking heat in the parking lot. Delores quickly rushed us inside.
Well, that… I have already mentioned how me being at Edna’s church, especially after her memorial thing, well, it made everyone we met want to cry, including me. The same thing happened that morning. And it wasn’t just because Maude was there. I guess the dress in the picture, the dress I had picked out to wear, well it must have been one of Edna’s favorite summer dresses; I heard a few ladies say that. Not only that, but… And I realized this from the picture Earl gave is… Our Ariel looked a lot like Edna did in her younger days. That part was just… bazaar! Many of the ladies would see Ariel, and cry, and have to hug Ariel and maybe cry on her shoulders. Then they would see me and… Well, there were just a lot of tears, because there were a lot of memories. And we were still just in the big entrance room for that church! I had to realize that Edna, aside from absolutely rescuing me, well she really had touched the lives of so many here at her church. There was probably far more that I just didn’t know. Judging from the tears we shared, everyone here loved Edna. And more people kept coming in the front door of the church, see Edna’s favorite dress, and our Ariel in another of Edna’s dresses, looking a lot like Edna, and we would all cry together some more. And the only reason we didn’t stay there longer was because church needed to start, and it was Delores and a few other ladies who helped herd us into the big room of the church.
Well, I liked the songs. And as Maude, my memories of this place were from Edna’s Funeral, then from the day my Bill and I (my Shysage!) got married. Well, my emotions were all over the place. The pastor, I guess, spoke for a while. Shysage had already explained to me that he would talk about the true friend of all true friends. I would listen to that! And Ariel already understood that, and listened attentively. And I learned this, that morning… True friend loved us! I had never thought about that, but after that service, I realized… True friend absolutely had to love us in order to be our true friend. I love him to!
And, I don’t know how or why, but at the end, the pastor actually asked me, specifically, if there was anything I wanted to say… Wow, I was definitely a mess when I realized what he had just asked… me… And I was looking for a spoon and an empty glass right away! Well, I tried… “I… Last summer, due to something honestly devastating that I really can’t talk about… Edna rescued… Well I could barely even walk, couldn’t remember anything… Edna just scooped me up, and did everything she could to help me. And I know that wasn’t easy. I couldn’t even remember my name… Edna gave me a new name, nursed me back to life, and spent a lot of time doing what she so enjoyed, reminiscing about She and Ed’s life together. I needed all of that… And then, losing Edna… That was hard, but I keep catching glimpses of Edna’s love for me, from many of the people in this room. Maybe it wasn’t just Edna… Well, I… And then you all helping me and my Bill get married again… Well, I just want you to know… I really appreciate… We… Our family really appreciates all you folks have done for us… A lot that happened that so devastated our family has been undone now, well not everything. But my family… We are back together again. And I surely know our true friend in the sky is behind all of that! Thank you…” That was all I could say, and I just cried quietly in Shysage’s arms as everyone sung one more song.
And we did spend more time in this other big room after the service, people talking, hugging, crying… Many people came up and thanked me for what I said, and for helping Edna (which made me cry really hard), for us helping with Victor, and even a few others we had helped in town that I didn’t write about. And I guess that Delores had already mentioned to Shysage that we would go over to her house for pizza again. Well, it was early afternoon, and I was hungry! When it was just our family and Delores’ family, we followed her in the Mustang to her house, and enjoyed some pizza together. Then Shysage drove us home. I was still crying on and off, but I think Ariel was too. Yes, it was an even more different day of rest for us.
1. CSR Maude: Revelations is copyright 2017 by Shysage. And “CSR Maude” is vol. 15 of the Chronicles of Summer Rain