Midnight Spade

From the Schoolhouse

I saw her from a distance as I rode the mule slowly forward.
She fluttered in the soft moonlight, her arms swaying in a cool breeze.  Every day for fifteen years I had passed beside her on my way to the school door.  Each day I had greeted her with a smile and each day she had returned the glance.  

I tied my steed to a small tree nearby and stumbled forward in the dark much like Nehemiah had done on his midnight ride through the rubble of Jerusalem. Her rutted feet projected through the hard soil.  They exuded a silent strength that had withstood all the storms and vicissitudes of life.  She stood unapologetically before me, proud, strong, inspiring.  

I had decided long ago that on my last day of school, I would take her with me.  My plan was simple and daring:  I would sneak in one night at midnight when the school was in a deep sleep, and when no one was looking I would abduct her.  It would not be pretty.  She would protest of course, but that could not be helped.  I had to have her.  

I kept the plan secret, telling no one.  Only the mule knew listening in on my midnight discourse to the wind as I plodded along the side trails to get here.  But he wouldn’t talk.  

With shovel in hand, I studied her profile wondering where the spade would strike first. I knew there would be consequences, but they could not be avoided.  Call it a criminal act if you wish.  It was not so to me.  Holding the shovel high in the air with both hands ready to plunge it into the dirt beneath her protesting arms, I made my peace with the venture hoping she would understand.

Then the spade hit the dirt.


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