Depending on how you look at it, I’m either one of those lucky few who live on a beautiful farm with country charm surrounded by peace and solitude, or I’m one of those unlucky few who live a quarter mile from the nearest neighbor, and ten miles to the nearest Wal-Mart. I prefer to view myself and my family as lucky. My family and I are surrounded by natural beauty and enjoy a peace that most people can’t imagine. I love it – most of the time.
I live with my dad and mom, my two sisters, and my grandma. Our house is a big typically styled farm house but even so, with the addition of grandma a few years ago we ran out of bedrooms, so my sisters had to share. The living arrangements are an odd mix of spacious solitude and warm family time. Unlike, it seems, so many families these days, my family actually enjoys each other’s company. So, even though we have acres of land and a large house, we usually find ourselves congregated in the same area, and that’s usually the kitchen.
Last summer everyone but my sisters were gathered in the kitchen. Grandma and mom were making dinner, dad was bottling his latest batch of homemade beer, and I was just enjoying the company and talking with them about my plans since I had graduated college earlier in the spring. Dad wanted me to take over the farm one day, but I wasn’t interested. We had a small argument, as much of an argument as my family ever has, and the sound of our voices coupled with grandma and mom’s cooking sounds, kept anyone from hearing the front door open.
When my sister, Clair (14), tickled my sides, I about jumped out of my skin. Clair and Sara(17) spent the long summer day at the town pool, which is about eight miles from our house. Sometimes they ride their bikes, but on that day Sara drove. The girls sat and chatted for a few moments in the kitchen with everyone else and then went upstairs to their bedroom to change.
The rest of us continued talking, and cooking, and bottling the beer. Out the kitchen window the sun was just beginning to set. Suddenly, we hear a scream of “What the fuck!?” I could tell it was Clair’s voice, and it wasn’t unusual for her to swear, but the quality in her voice betrayed her fear. I rushed upstairs, and knocked on their door asking if they were okay. Sara said that there was a man in the yard looking at them through their window. I enter their room and look out the window and see a man running across the yard, toward a field of corn stalks, only knee high at that point in the summer.
I ran downstairs and told mom and dad what had happened, and then I began to run for the family rifle. (Side note: stereotype that is true? Country folk own guns.) My dad stopped me, and told me to call the police instead. I did, and they came out about twenty minutes later and offered next to no assistance. Here’s the craziest part. Sara said that she recognized the man from the pool. This means that this sick creep followed my sisters from the school all the way back to our house. The thought occurred to me later in the night, as I was trying to fall asleep, what if they had ridden their bikes instead of driven?