Haughty Hattie. Haughty Hateful Hattie. Horrid Haughty Hateful Hattie. High and Mighty Horrid Haughty Hateful Hattie. Horrendously High and Mighty Horrid Haughty Hateful Hattie.
Hattie’s fingers flew over the keyboard in an alliterative rush. Hattie hunched over her thesaurus and gleaned the H words like the grim reaper. Perched in her tiny office in the tiny corner of her even tinier apartment on the second floor of an apartment building parallel to the High Street Subway Station, Hattie glowered under the neon light flickering in through the open window.
It would take more than a train, more than a plane, more than a long winding bus ride to take Hattie to the Heartland, to the corner of Main street and the Flickering Flame. Hattie the Heartless. Ha!
Her avatar. Hattie the Heartless.
Her anonymous online avatar. Her secret identity.
Hattie hated everyone. Hattie hated everything. Hattie held grudges, held them in the hole where her heart should be, but was now covered in cobwebs of resentment, rage and revenge. The world was unfair. The world was not safe. The world had cheated her.
Everyday Hattie woke up to her window on the world and watched helplessly as the trains roared by. People seated in cars all in a rush to somewhere, to do something, with someone, while Hattie leaned her elbows on the sill and watched. Watching them watching her and judging. She knew it. Judging her still life portrait from their moving life vantage point. Critical. Harsh. Unforgiving. Pitying pious faces.
Did they think she did not dream? Did they think she did not hope?
Did they imagine she did not feel?
If only. If only they knew the real Hattie.
The Hattie that lived in cyberspace. The harridan. The haughty Hattie who spewed hatred and venom on every blog site she could summon.
Politically incorrect. That was Hattie.
Sharp, acerbic and acid tongued. That was Hattie.
Cruel, cynical and critical. That was Hattie.
Post a blog about delicious buttermilk brownies that Grandma used to bake and Hattie would dump all over the batter with statistics on obesity and links to lactose intolerance.
She pined and opined. Whined and blamed and moaned. Ridiculed, scorned and mocked. All from behind the safety of her nameless faceless unabashedly aimless avatar.
For the first time in her life Hattie was free to express her feelings. Over and over and over. She was feeling it all right. Grooming her passive aggressive skills to a fine silver polish that was blinding to the eye. Offense. She played offense. If you don’t agree with me, then there’s something wrong with you.
So you hate cats, right?
Why don’t you like sharing?
On and on and on and on...her thumb always pointed down...her dislikes marked...
Her bottom line...you do nothing right...Right?
Until one day the train slowed and one passenger...one solo passenger blinked and then winked and was gone...
Hattie thought..you do nothing right...you do nothing right Hattie...you do nothing right Hattie...no...
The truth is Hattie...you DO nothing. You are so busy feeling, feeling, feeling that you have no time to DO anything.
With the cursor light winking at her from across the room, Hattie pulled on her hat, and clattered down the stairs to the street below. With the train roaring overhead, she walked to the corner of her block and stood with her arms across her chest and waited. Waited for someone to see her.
To say, hey, you must be Hattie. I’d know that face anywhere.
Instead, she bumped into the stall of oranges and apples. As she reached down to grab the errant
tome, she saw the pot. The small clay pot with a seedling tucked inside. An index card taped to
a popsicle stick was stuck in the pot. The card read...To Hattie With Love...Eunice.
Hattie took the pot home. She placed it on the sill. She gave it water and for some odd reason felt the need to whisper to it “Good Night”. Hattie sat at her computer, but she spent this night searching garden websites. Searching for her plant. Her seedling. How to...care for...guides. Which led her to the gardeners and the gardens and the forests and the valleys of all the lush and green places she’d never seen.
Places of the heart.
Like her little plant, Hattie too, began to grow. She got a job at the corner stall and cornered the market on potted plants. She went home at night and placed her earnings in a clay pot on top of the refrigerator. Line by line, page by page, chapter by chapter, dollar by dollar, Hattie packed her bags for her long awaited trip.
On the morning of her departure, Hattie woke to the sight of a bloom blushing on her sill. A hyacinth. A symbol of rebirth. Hattie stood quietly and slowly raised her eyes up to see a passenger on the train passing by. A large showy woman with a floral pompadour waving madly with one thumb held up in the air. With a wink she was gone.
In a blink, so was Hattie.
Hattie rode the train, flew on the plane, and sat in the back of a pick up truck all the way to the edge of the Heartland, while cradling her hyacinth to her chest. There, on the edge of town, a small rundown cottage, in need of repair, but with plenty of forgiving room to spare, awaited her arrival. Hattie moved in, walked the property, weeded and seeded and planted and grew...a heart. Right in the middle of the Heartland...where the less said the better...and the ground is always forgiving and yields whatever you are willing to sow.
Hattie Hyacinth now does her truth telling in the choir. You can hear her voice, her own true voice, very late at night, when the Yard Yetis gather, to sing lullabies.
In the middle of her garden, a seed packet sits clipped to a clay pot...just below the bird feeder hanging from the oak tree...
Love You Hattie.
I'd Know Your Face Anywhere.
Chapter 22 | Chapter 24