A Storyby Joel Gardner
The first time we stopped in the town of R_____, late in September, we pulled over at one of those ramshackle general stores you still see in Vermont, a place with a porch sagging under the weight of a rusty ice locker, a second-story apartment above the store, this one with two sash windows overlooking the tin roof above the porch, lace curtains brown with age, and, I swear, there was even a kerosene lantern glowing in one window up there. Didn’t they have electricity in these mountains? It gave me a funny feeling. I glanced up and saw the lantern flickering, I’m sure of it, as I got out my side of the truck after we parked, just as dusk was settling in, the woods thick and already moss-black behind the red clapboard building. I gave my sports bra a tug through my cycling jersey to bring a cool breeze to my skin under the damp fabric. I could hear the sound of running water coming from somewhere, maybe a spring or a creek in the woods, behind the store. Otherwise it was so quiet, just the engine ticking as it cooled.