Isaac took his grandfather’s buckboard, hitched Glory to it, and rode to Calhoun City at the end of the day. He had to buy the tin to cover the beams on his roof. He was so near finished with his house it was frightening. Soon he would see Jennie again and try to recover those splendid days, weeks, months he had wasted. That is, if she would have him.
            He unloaded the wagon in the dark and trudged to the porch, tired and hungry, though he was sick of his own cooking. He had yet to purchase a wood cook stove for the kitchen, but there were a lot of things that would have to come later. When there was money enough to pay.
            Shreds of moss moved ghostlike through the giant oaks, casting night shadows across the porch not unlike any other evening. It was quiet. Again. The lonesome call of a whippoorwill disturbed the otherwise peaceful setting. When she hushed, Isaac could hear the trickle of the water over the rocks in the stream below the canebrake.
            There was not a soul to chat with tonight. No hand to hold. No lips to kiss. Small talk had come easily for Isaac since he was that gregarious boy of fifteen. Time was when he reveled in the thought of riding to Sarepta to purchase things for his mother, for the old men who sat in the square knew his father well, and because of a friendship such as T.G. Payne’s—Isaac was always in. But tonight there was nothing but stark silence.
            He knew now why God said …it is not good that man should live alone. He had been so clothed in his obsession with the War aftermath and the carpetbagger that he dared to risk losing Jennie. But he had crossed that bridge with his mother. His only hope was that Jennie would wait for him. Wait until he could get all of this out of his system. And it was her golden opportunity to know if her love for Isaac were real. Isaac had his answer. He knew how much he loved her. Without a doubt. Like he knew every tree-lined winding trail from Slate Springs to Sarepta.
            The sky was dark now except for the millions of stars that winked, fixed in their galaxies, doing their jobs, moving at the beck and call of the Creator. He longed to be more like those stars. Predictable. Trustworthy. And just so soon one fell headlong to the earth. That would have to be me, Isaac thought. The roguish star that wouldn’t stay in its course. Why couldn’t I be more like Jonathan, the rock, or as Henry had been for that matter? The two smooth, near perfect brothers who always did and said the right things. Why and how had Isaac's world turned on him? Why a complete reversal in the mainspring of his being? 

Jane BG
Excerpts from Isaac's House

Photos by Grace Bennett