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Monday, July 6, 2015

Living Next-Door to Baba Yaga



He came home from the morning worship services at church and slept in his bed for four hours and was still tired.  Exhausted, really.  Earlier that morning, he’d drank a cup of coffee before driving with his family to the church building.  He shuffled through the dark hallways, turning on lights and unlocking doors.  When other members of the congregation began to arrive, he snuck off to his study with another cup of coffee and secreted away another 20 minutes of sleep before the service began.

After his nap (still tired) he ate a small reheated lunch (the rest of family had eaten without him while he slept) then sat outside in the backyard with a book of science fiction.  He read and dozed fitfully in the shade.  It was still warm, but not unpleasant.  A light breeze moved the air around and he never felt stuffy, or that he couldn’t breathe – just fatigued in his muscles and bones.

And there was something about the house next door that disturbed him.  What could he say about his neighbor’s house that hadn’t already been said (in terms of outrage and disgust) by the Neighborhood Executive Action Committee?  The offending house was painted mauve, orange and pink; the roof was shingled with bright blue slats.  All of that could have been overlooked if it weren’t for the scrawny, yellow chicken legs upon which it stood.

Maybe it was no wonder that he was so tired, that he slept, but never rested, that he slept but was never refreshed. Was he cursed, living next door to Baba-Yaga?  Could that explain why his eyebrows were growing out of control? Each hair, unruly, asserting its own direction and unsustainable lengths.  He cut them; they returned.  He cut them, they came back redoubled. Was he, could it be that he was cursed, living next door to the boney-legged woman with a Slavic accent?

She’d moved this house again and again-whenever she grew bored with her surroundings.  She lived, at times, next to the Great Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, the Nasca Lines, and the solemn silent heads of Easter Island.  Now the house stood, and scratched in the dirt, in central Iowa and he was restless.

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