Living in the city she’d always feared strangers looking in her windows, it’s hard not to when your windows face their windows and everyone’s a foot away from each other. She started keeping her blinds closed all the time. She’d leave a dark house for work and return to a dark house in the evening. Weekends were spent in darkness unless she ventured out and she caught herself doing that less and less. She didn’t quite realize it but she’d stopped living and was simply going through the motions.
And then one day she received a phone call. It seems an uncle she could only vaguely remember having heard about, Crazy Mikey, had passed away and she was the closest living relative. He’d left her a few acres with a cabin and come outbuildings in Montana. No, he didn’t owe any taxes and there were no fines as long as she lived there for two years before selling it, which given the report from the solicitor would hopefully be enough time to clean it up.
They call it a decision when you do something like move, but really there was no other logical path to take. She gave her notice to her landlord, sold everything but a few books to help her get where she was going and what clothes she could pack in a suitcase. She took three different flights to arrive in the middle of nowhere and realized the reason she couldn’t find a hotel or any sort of services online for this little town was because there were none. It was little more than an airport and even that was stretching it.
She got off the tiny plane and looked around her at trees. Trees and mountains. And silence. She could hear a hawk or an eagle or something calling in the distance. She could hear something, a tractor maybe, yes, there it was a tractor across the street. If it weren’t for knowing someone was driving that tractor, and knowing a pilot had brought her here, she’d think she was the last person in the world.
“You got someone comin’ to meet you?” asked the pilot.
Startled she turned on an inhale and clutched her book closer to her chest. “Oh, um, no, not really. Couldn’t find any…anything online. I guess I was hoping there’d be a shuttle or a taxi or…something,” she said, her voice getting softer, quieter at the end, as the realization of what she’d just done began to hit.
“Whelp, there’s a farmer over there sometimes lets out for hire his old pickup, but he’s haying so I doubt it’s available today. Where is it you’re going to?”
“I, well, my uncle, Cr…er Michael, recently passed and I’m trying to get out to his, well, my place now I guess.”
There was a beat, a moment when she could tell he was looking at her a bit harder, a glimmer in his eye, “Crazy Mikey was your uncle, huh? Well now, I can take you back up to his place whenever you’re ready.”
“I didn’t realize anyone else called him that,” she said, blushing and wondering if that meant people would think she was crazy, too. Heaving a sigh she said, “I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
Now he looked at her like she really was crazy, “look ma’am, it’s not my business, but I can’t let you go out there without any provisions. I expect he’ll have some things put up that could get you by, but since he left us at about the time he’d be restocking everything, we don’t really know what’s there. If you don’t mind my saying so, it’s best if we stop at the shop and get you some things to get you through til you can get back to town.”
“Oh, a shop? Yes, please, that would be wonderful. Thank you,” she was a bit flustered at the idea that there’d be a shop out here, at the idea that she was going to be living far enough “out” whatever that meant from this place that was already so remote that this stranger was concerned for her welfare, she was a bit flustered by the whole thing really and began to wonder if she shouldn’t have just sold everything and inherited nothing but a few bucks after taxes.
By the time they stowed her bags in the back of the pilots truck, picked up what few groceries she could find at the shop, which turned out to be the farmers stand, and drove out to Crazy Mikey’s cabin it was getting late. Late, but not dark. It didn’t matter that it was nearly ten o’clock at night, the world was nearly light enough to hike in. She couldn’t believe it. Even more than the near daylight quality out, she couldn’t believe where the pilot had brought her.
It was a good thirty minute drive from the airport and all of that through trees like she’d never seen, and following a river she almost couldn’t believe. She’d seen that Netflix show about that nurse in the mountains, what was it, Virgin River! It was like background shots out of the show, only greener, more beautiful, real.