Murdo Girl…I hear you

A short story about one of the entrants in the abandoned building/old barn contest. There is still time to enter. Email your photos to


Mindy thought it was a good idea. I wasn’t so sure. In the end, I agreed to make the twelve hour trip back to our old home town. Mindy was flying into a small airport which was on my route. The plan was for me to pick her up and we would drive the remaining two hours, together.

I was looking forward to seeing my cousin. At one time, we had been like sisters. We even lived across the street from each other all the way through high school.

Our mothers were actual sisters. At times they were close and at times…not so much. Mindy has a much younger sister and I have an older brother. I haven’t seen Bud for I don’t know how long. Our parents as well as Mindy’s have been gone for years.

As I turned into the airport, I tried not to think of the days ahead. I knew I would always remember this trip in terms of before, during, and after. I knew about as much as I wanted to about the before and I wasn’t too sure I wanted to experience the other two.

“Lana! I’m over here! We got in early.”

I looked over to see an attractive middle aged woman dragging a very large piece of luggage to the car. It was Mindy, of course. It had been ten years since she had come to visit me in Chicago, and I hadn’t seen her since, but Mindy always looked like Mindy. I, on the other hand, changed my look quite often.

I got out to help her with her suitcase which weighed more than both of us. We managed to wedge it into the trunk of my car and get in just as the cars behind us started honking.

“Why does everyone have to be so rude?” Mindy had her mask off and was repairing her lipstick. She looked around and seemed rather nonplussed that I had the top down on my old Chevy Impala convertible.

“You have changed everything in your life a hundred times except for this car. Why do you hang on to it?”

I surprised myself by answering her. “Because it was a parting gift from my dad.”

Two hours later, we parked in front of the only motel in town. After we checked in and unpacked, we were both so tired, we ordered a pizza and called it a night. I didn’t sleep much and apparently neither did Mindy. She was knocking on my door at 5:00 a.m. When I opened it, there she was with a box of donuts.

“Let’s go, she said. “We can grab a cup of coffee on the way over. I wonder if that little cafe attached to the filling station is still there. I can’t believe how much this place has changed in the past twenty years. Our houses might not even be there anymore.”

When we turned down the familiar street, I was taken back by the way all of the homes had been left to deteriorate. It looked like no one had lived there in years. I parked in front of my old house. Neither of us said anything as Mindy went to her house and I went to mine.

The front door was locked. I looked around and found an open window to crawl through. It was my brother’s old room. I decided I would save his room for last and walked on into the living room. The only piece of furniture in the room was an old piano. It had been my mother’s. I remember we let it go with the house when we sold it right after I graduated from high school.

I could hear the melody of Mom’s favorite song. “His eye is on the sparrow,” she would sing in her beautiful voice. “And I know He watches me.”

I wanted to stand there with my eyes closed and continue to listen, but the music faded and was replaced by angry voices. Dad was home and on his third beer, as usual. Every morning, Mom chastised him. “Do not bring beer home!!” He somehow always forgot what he had been told.

I thought they hated each other, but this time, I really listened to their voices seemingly coming through the walls.

“Fred,” I really wish you would clean up before you start drinking your beer. You smell like grease.”

“I don’t want to miss a minute of watching you cook for me, Gladys. Something sure smells good. Now why would I want to miss a bit of the smell of your good cooking?”

‘Oh, you’re full of beans. Don’t you know I can see right through you, Fred? You just like to sit there and drink your beer. It doesn’t have anything to do with watching me…does it?”

This time I could hear the smile in Mom’s voice. She said the same things every night and so did Dad. He never drank more than three beers before he gave in to her chasing him off to go wash up. The thing that upset Mom the most was that Dad had a way of winning an argument without arguing. Once again, the voices faded.

I heard their voices several times during my walk through the home I grew up in. There were confusing and sometimes scary times, but I was beginning to see and hear things differently, now.

“She’s gone, Lana. She died in her sleep,” Dad said. I was in the seventh grade.

I was back in my room, now. Dad was crying and I didn’t know what to do or how to feel. I was angry that he wasn’t helping me.

“Where’s Bud?” I asked. “Where is my brother?”

“He went to gas up the Impala. I think he just needed to get out of here.”

I was running out the door. I ran to Mindy’s house. My Aunt was crying, too. She cradled me in her arms and stroked my hair. I couldn’t remember my mother ever doing that.

A different memory replaced the one of me with my Aunt. I could see my Mom brushing my hair a hundred strokes and then braiding my unruly locks into two perfect braids. Was that the way she showed me affection?

The day I graduated from High School, Dad handed me the keys to the Impala Convertible. To me it was an old clunker, but it was Dad’s pride and joy. All these years, I had built up in my mind, things that weren’t true. I was convinced my parents had hurt me, but the truth was I had hurt them.

I heard their voices and I knew it was Mom and Dad. I realized they had done the best they could. I was glad that Mindy and I had come here. I heard things differently and I understood. Tomorrow, I would try to find my brother. Was he also telling himself lies?

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

One thought on “Murdo Girl…I hear you

  1. DIANNA DIEHM January 17, 2021 / 8:11 am

    Funny, it’s as if you knew my life story. I still live in what I call my home town, but all the homes where we lived are now gone, memories of which are locked away in my mind. Probably best, right? Not sure why the oldest child always seems to be the one to stay and care for the parents either. Fear? Intimidation? Love? That took years but it did end up because of love. As always MG thanks for putting my thoughts on paper. Love you Cimosabe! xoxo


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