Jonathan Abernathy is a man tormented by pain and addiction to laudanum. He faces life with regret for all he has lost and finds no pleasure in his existence. That is, until on one fateful day when he takes a train rides home and finds himself in Cottonwood Springs.
As the train slowed Jonathan noticed a sign slowly inch into view from his window.
The bright white sign had the words neatly and boldly printed in black, “Welcome to Cottonwood Springs”.
He turned and addressed Ben as the man entered the small compartment. “Why are we stopping here?”
“Oh, just a short delay. We have a problem with the engine. Wont take long to remedy, but there’s time if’n you’d like to get off here and stretch your legs. Several of tha other passengers have decided to go into Cottonwood Springs and have a bite of lunch. I know your knee pains you. Maybe a little walk about will help.”
“Is it lunch time already?”
“Very well, I am a bit hungry.” He patted his pocket before raising an arm for Ben’s support.
Ben helped him to the nearest exit. “You just wait right there for just a moment while I jump down and place tha steps for you.”
Jonathan watched as Ben placed the steps. “Don’t you have others that require your help, Ben? It seems to me that every time I turn around you’re right there.”
“Oh, yes suh. I help a lot of good folks, but I especially like helping you.”
Jonathan frowned, as he reached out to accept the man’s support. “I can’t see how that could be, Ben. I don’t recall saying anything nice to you in a very long time.”
Ben patted his arm, “Oh, that’s okay, suh. See, we’s friends. Have been for a long time. I knows your leg pains you, and your mind is all troubled. But ya know, friends are always there for each other. Good times as well as bad. You understand ‘bout bein’ there for tha people you care ‘bout. Just like you’re there for your parents.”
“A man would think you enjoy helping others.”
Ben laughed that rich warm laugh of his. “Yes, suh. I truly do.”
Jonathan turned at the sound of laughter. The pristine little town that sat before him amazed him. A few steps down the small rise from the tracks lay a wide red brick road. Across the road was an array of small shops, the windows of each displaying a sample of what could be found inside. Each storefront was clean and neat beyond description. Pedestrians walked slowly, stopping occasionally to peer through a sparkling glass display. The smells from the bakery floated on the breeze and his stomach growled. How long had it been sense he had felt true hunger? He patted his belly instead of his pocket and chuckled happily. It was a wonderful feeling.
He glanced over at a young woman standing at his side. She’s lovely, he thought. She wasn’t what one would call beautiful, not in the classical sense, but she possessed a warmth that reached right out to you. She tilted her head and her warm, honey colored eyes twinkled.
“Hello.” He answered, feeling a little awkward.
“There are several nice cafes in town,” she raised a basket she held on her arm. “But I just happen to have a picnic lunch all packed, and I always pack extra.” Wavy light-brown hair caressed her cheeks and rested upon her small shoulders. “Would you like to join me?”
Jonathan glanced at the basket and then back to the beautifully warm eyes. “I thank you for the invitation.” Say more. It hasn’t been that long sense you’ve spoken to a beautiful woman. A pesky fly landed on his nose and he swatted at it. Oh, God. She’s smiling. Smile back you fool! He felt his lips twitch nervously in the execution of such an unpracticed skill. On God! Oh God! She must think me an idiot.
“My name is Rebecca. What’s yours?”
“Jon--Jonathan.” Oh,God! He nearly groaned.
Cottonwood Springs is available in Amazon Kindle