I dragged myself sluggishly out of bed and instinctively reached for my phone, then I remembered: there was no cell coverage or wifi.
I wasn’t used to waking up this early. I didn’t think anyone would be used to waking up before dawn, but apparently Sarah was.
“We have to beat the summer heat” she had told me “And there’s a lot of work to do”
I helped as much as I could, she told me the proper way to feed the animals and clean them, but I couldn’t get a hang of milking the cows, so I just watched her deftly do it. She had on baggy trousers and a loose-fitting long sleeve shirt. A headscarf and niqab covered her hair and face.
I was surrounded mostly by flat farmland but there were a few hills in the distance. Cows, goats, and a few horse wandered around lazily. It wasn’t until I got here that I realised how polluted the city air was, the air here was clearer and felt better to breathe in. Each breath also filled my nostrils with the smell of manure that had been spread over the fields.
By the time it got too hot to be outside I was completely shattered, but Sarah was still going strong, and started to do some household chores, as I lazed around. She rarely spoke when I she wasn’t answering a question, and at time the silence was deafening. I had no idea how she managed it, no people, no computer, no internet, and the electricity was only on a few hours at night. Although the work seemed to keep her busy, I was sure I’d be going crazy.
About an hour before nightfall we got onto the horses to ride out to one of the hills, she told me it was one of her favourite places to be. We rode bareback, I had only done that once before and it felt strange not to have a place to rest my feet, and was a lot more strenuous on my butt.
We tied the horses near the bottom of the hill and started the trek up. She climbed in a quick practiced manner, I was slower going, it was hard to get a grip because my feet kept sinking into the sand. When we finally got to the top I was doubled over, panting for air. I was sweating despite the cold air. She was breathing more heavily than usual but didn’t seem as spent as me.
As I looked back at the steep climb I felt a deep sense of accomplishment. I felt a sense of serenity descending upon me, and I finally asked her the question I’d been putting off all day: “Don’t you feel lonely out here?”
“The silence was scary for me at first, at times I’d be alone and going crazy, but then I started to connect with myself and god”
- Does the beginning hook and make you want to keep reading?
- Is the ending satisfying for a reader? What would make it more so?
- How well does it flow?