A sandy two track road winds through a forest filled with a mix of hardwoods and pines. The maples are almost shocking in their bright autumn crimsons and golds. Curled brown leaves already litter the sand, creating a softly crispy carpet. The road leads eventually to a small clearing, an expanse of dead ferns like a secret copper pond. In the center sits an old trailer home. The trailer is mostly chalk white, with a faded blue stripe halfway up from the ground. Rust seeps around the edges of the trailer and shows up in splotches on the structure’s face. A cord of piled wood leans heavily against the metal exterior, next to the rickety steps that lead up to the front door. Smoke puffs lazily from a metal pipe on the roof, a makeshift chimney. Inside the trailer an elderly woman sits on a gray tweed loveseat. She wears a soft pink quilted robe, patched and stained. Her legs stretch in front of her, gnarled toes unconsciously kneading the shag carpeting in a soft rhythm. Across her lap spreads the first third of a new brown and yellow afghan for her nephew. She knits slowly. At regular intervals she places the needles in her lap and reaches for the mug of weak coffee warming on wood stove next to her.
An explosion of an indeterminate melody jars the silence. The woman finishes her stitch and places the needles and afghan on the floor next to her feet. She sticks her hand between the cushions of the loveseat, grimacing. As the melody repeats its third revolution, she pulls the cell phone out and lifts it to her ear. The melody sounds one more time and the woman’s eyes squeeze shut in pain. She brings the phone to her eyes and steadily presses and holds the answer button. She returns the phone to her ear and croaks, “what.”