Multiple Muse Disorder: 1970

Chapter 9: Up on the Farm

• 26 July - Saturday - Ann Arbor

[This chapter is where I am currently working.]

I woke up about 5:30 a.m. as it became light in the tent. Maggie and Sean were still asleep, so I lay there for a while, thinking, until the need to pee became too great to ignore. I unzipped my sleeping bag and sat up, which woke Maggie, who followed me quietly out of the tent.

It was fairly chilly just before dawn, and the car windows were fogged over, but we managed to see that Anna and Nan were curled up under the blankets in the back of the wagon, sound asleep. Maggie and I headed for the restroom and did our business, then sat on camp stools watching the sunrise and talking quietly.

Once it was light, Sean woke up. He headed to the restroom while Maggie and I rolled up the sleeping bags and began taking the tent down. When Sean returned, he helped us finish.

"Guess it's time to wake those two so we can have breakfast and repack the wagon," he said.

As expected, Anna and Nan had not slept very much and weren't pleased at being woken so early. We ate our cereal and fruit, then packed the car. Nan and Anna pleaded to be allowed to curl up in back and sleep some more.

"Absolutely not," I said. "You sit in seats and wear seat belts." They managed to fall asleep before too long, anyway.

After about an hour we stopped for coffee and soda pop. Kevin and Brigid were expecting us around noon, so our plan was to eat lunch with them.

— ∴ —

The farmhouse was not far off a two lane paved road a few miles northwest of Ann Arbor. We turned into the long gravel driveway a little after noon, then parked near a couple of other cars between the house and the barn. We all climbed out of the station wagon to stretch and look around. Off the highway it seemed very quiet.

We heard a door open and two people stepped out on the covered porch that wrapped around the front of the large old farmhouse. These must be Kevin and Brigid Davis. I had been expecting stereotypical college professors, but they each looked like they had grown up on the farm. Short, stout, weathered and dressed for the role, they were smiling and waving.

"Hello, hello!" said Kevin. "Come on in. Lunch is ready. We can bring your gear in later. I'm hungry."

Sean and Nan looked at each other, nodding. "Same old Kevin."

I, however, was quite certain I had never been here, and never seen these people. When Anna and Maggie looked at me, I shook my head slightly to let them know.

We walked up the steps to the porch. Kevin slapped Sean on the back and took him into the house. Brigid hugged Nan, saying that she must have grown two inches in the last year. "Lisa, how are you doing?"

"I'm okay," I said, my standard response to that query.

"Sarah told me a little about your situation. We'll have a talk after lunch. And these are your friends?"

"This is Anna," said Nan, taking her hand. "She's my friend now, too."

I put an arm around Maggie's shoulder and giving her a quick squeeze to remind her to let me do the talking. "And this is Maggie. She and Anna are friends from my theater group who also need some time away from Tulsa."

"Well, you all certainly can relax here for a few days. Come on in and wash up. I'll begin putting food on the table. Robert, our student boarder this summer, will help with that, so you just take care of yourselves."

We followed Brigid inside. Sean was talking with Kevin and a young man who must be Robert. Nan started to walk over to join them, but I tapped her on the shoulder. "Where is the bathroom?" I asked, using an unvoiced whisper.

"Oh, right, I forgot," she replied. "Let's go upstairs so I can explain the floor plan."

She headed for the stairs, calling out, "Wash your hands, Sean! We'll be back down in a couple of minutes."

At the top of the stairs, Nan pointed to the bathroom on one side of the hallway. "That's pretty much over the downstairs bathroom. Then there are four bedrooms up here. The master bedroom is downstairs, along with the dining room, kitchen and living room. There are big closets next to each bathroom. Kevin said that the house is so old it didn't have indoor plumbing, so what originally were parlors where made into bathroom and closet space. Except for the master bedroom, the bedrooms only have wardrobes, not closets.

"There's also a third floor, with dormer windows. It has a planked floor, but no walls. I always thought it would be a neat place for a writer's garret, though it's be awfully cold in winter and hot in summer.

"All the rooms up here have two beds, a dresser, a wardrobe and two desks. I'm guessing that Anna and I will share a room, you and Maggie a room, and Sean will either be on his own or with the college student."

Surprisingly Maggie didn't object, though she frowned. "I would like to know more about this college student."

"Yes," I said, "his presence could make it difficult for us to discuss certain things. For now, just don't say anything about you-know-what to them. We'll see how the conversation this afternoon plays out."

"I just remembered something," said Nan, opening one of the bedroom doors, then walking down the hall to open the door of the next room. "Yes! The two rooms on this side have a connecting door, and they don't appear to be in use. So we girls can take those two rooms. Okay, Maggie?"

"Thank you," said Maggie. "It will make me feel better to be able to get to you two quickly if anything should happen."

"We'll lock both doors at night," said Nan.

"These doors won't stop me," said Maggie, looking at the old fashioned skeleton key locks, "and they won't stop anyone else, either."

"On that cheerful note," I said, "let's get washed up and go have lunch."

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