The Corn

It was a cold, bright day in harvest season when I met him, and I am still unsure if it was a dream. I woke and do not remember dressing. I was in my parents’ house, and I was late rising. The sun was already crowding in through the windows, through the rippled glass of the internal doors. The smell of coffee filled the kitchen; someone had left a jug to fill in the filter percolator and I took the opportunity to have a cup. It tasted of warm toast and hazelnuts in Winter.

I took the cup in both hands and drifted through the rooms like a ghost. I could hear voices, but it was the radio, my parents were out in the fields. Through the distortions of the glass door I could see a man, sat on the sofa. I didn’t know him, by his shape, but it was like looking through the surface of disturbed water.

He looked up as I entered. He was a large man, but not bulky. Tall, with a long face. His forearms rested on his thighs, relaxed. He wore rich blue denim overalls, a white shirt with broad red checks, practical boots. His face was friendly and clear. His hair was corn, a sheaf of real cornstalks sprouting tall from his scalp, rising high and tumbling like sparks from a fresh-blown fire. He was a man, there on my parents’ sofa, and he was the harvest, I knew, and he was good.

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