Sunday, October 31, 2010
The Witch's House
When I was a boy growing up I had to walk to school. From the second grade through the sixth grade I walked the same route every weekday to and from school and yes, it was uphill both ways. I'm sure that it wasn't as far as it seemed back then but then again, maybe it was. At any rate the highlight (or lowlight) many of those days was the passing of the witch's house that sat on the corner (don't they always?). This particular witch's house was a tiny rock house that sat back on a fairly small lot that seemed to always be overgrown with weeds and was thick with overhanging trees.
Now one might think that the reasoning behind the popular belief that this was a witch's house was already apparent. But actually an old woman did live there and she actually did resemble the conception of what a witch might look like. She was old (ancient to us), she had long gray hair, her dress was loose and drab and occasionally she would even scream at one of the children that ventured too far into her yard on a dare.
As I've looked back through the years and recalled the little old woman we called the witch and her dark little house I've often wondered what her story really was. Was she having a blast scaring the bejabers out of all those kids year after year or were they really driving her crazy with their endless taunts and ventures onto her property just to claim the right to say that they did? I'll never know but I do know that one day she just quit being there. Rumor had it that she had died. Maybe she did, maybe she didn't. I personally have always hoped that she just moved to a more friendly neighborhood. I guess that I'll never know but I do know that on one particular day on the way home from school I looked up just in time to catch her gaze as I passed her house alone. I could barely muster a shaky "Hi" as I hurried my step trying not to freeze and not daring to look away.
Then she said the craziest thing I could've ever imagined. She stared straight into my eyes and and as a grin spread across her chin she said..."Hi" right back at me. A few days later she was gone...