I loved being with my cousin who is my age. Unfortunately the last few times we visited, our good times were interrupted with dishes. For some reason, Pauline and I were expected to clean them. I have two older sisters and she has one, how did we get the job?
We discussed the pile of tableware created to feed thirteen people. We mulled over all the pots and pans used to cook one meal. On top of that, the food was served in fancy bowls and plates. Ridiculous. Before dinner we devised a plan in order to get out of cleaning them this time. Our older sisters deserved this honorary privilege.
Pauline and I agreed to remain silent and eat. When we both were done, we nodded to each other and quietly brought our dirty plates to the kitchen. We smiled as we darted out the kitchen door as fast as our feet could fly. We headed straight for the cemetery across the road.
Our friends told us that it gave them the jeebies to play there, but not us. Most days we rode our bikes around, but today we ran for our secret hiding spot. Smack dab in the middle of the graveyard was a huge tree with branches that hung low and formed a large gap near the trunk. It was difficult to be seen when we were there.
Pauline and I glanced around to see if anyone followed us. Once we knew no one had, we crawled through the limbs into the clearing. What made this spot extra sweet was the distance it was from the house. We waited and then giggled until our sides ached as we heard the faint sound of our names being hollered over and over. Our sisters were persistent, but finally gave up.
“We did it! It worked!” I said putting my hand high in the air waiting for Pauline to slap it.
So, huddled under the tree, we talked about the boys we liked. Pauline’s boyfriend was dreamy with eyes that sparkled like the Caribbean Sea. I drooled all over his picture she carried with her everywhere. The beau who had attracted my attention stood six feet tall and when wearing a slightly loose t-shirt revealed spectacular abs.
“Shhhhh! I hear someone coming,” Pauline said.
We suspected that it might be our younger siblings. With our hands wrapped around our legs, we listened. We heard a clip then a clop. The sun was beginning to set. It was getting harder to see through the branches, but we made out the two riders on horses.
“Don’t move, Pauline,” I whispered. “They have guns.”
We were scared. The two riders mumbled, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying. It sounded like they said, “Get ‘em.” Could they see us? I suddenly felt really cold and wished we had done the dishes. What was going to happen if they found us?
This was bad. Pauline and I didn’t move. How were we going to get out of this predicament alive? The riders dismounted their horses and came directly in front of us. We didn’t recognize their voices and wondered if they were the keepers of the cemetery. Would they shoot us for trespassing?
The two riders hobbled toward us and poked their guns in the tree. They knew we were here. I heard my own breathing, and thought they heard it as well. After poking around at it for a while, they sat down. What do we do?
We struggled to remain still. I felt a cramp forming in my foot. I slowly lifted it and straightened my leg.
Suddenly the riders jumped and looked at the tree. Instead of coming for us they ran like chickens to their horses. We waited. As soon as their voices disappeared into the distance, we flew toward home.
We stumbled into the house and were greeted with the glare of three older sisters.
“Where have you two been? It was your turn to wash tonight,” my oldest sister said to me with her eyes squinting and her lips looking like she just swallowed a lemon.
“We’re sorry. We’ll finish them for you.”
The chore wasn’t even half done, but we gladly finished the job.
“Pauline, what do you think those riders were doing?” I asked when our sisters were gone.
“Beats me,” she said. “But if they didn’t know Jesus, they shouldn’t be in a place where the dead in Christ rise first.”
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