The Journal of Graduate Liberal Studies

XXIII.CM17

 
Mary Guthrie is a student in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Southern Methodist University. Since 2011, she has worked as a public relations writer and editor for SMU Meadows School of the Arts, where her writing appears in Meadows magazines, brochures, promotional materials, and the school’s website. She is ecstatic to be part of the SMU MLS program, where she gets to frolic among short stories, poetry, songwriting, and other forms of creative expression.

fiction

Red Barn

Mary Guthrie, Southern Methodist University

John crouched low in the tall grass and stared across the field toward the barn. It had been there for years, before his bride, before their children, now weathered by time, slapped by rain, chips of red paint released from their fast, now settling grey into the grass.

It had been a sanctuary for small things, like lambs, and goats when the weather got bad, and large things, like pregnant cows and frothy-mouthed horses at the end of the day. A place of rest. Of safety and rest. Of grain, of hay in the loft; a place of buckets and pitchforks and the tools of life, now hanging silent on the walls.

Small clouds of dust rose from the loose dirt as Hank’s pickup truck rolled into the yard.      

John heard him arrive but did not move. Other pickups came soon after, slow-moving, radios off, drivers emerging like blurred characters in a dream.

Hank looked across the field and walked toward the lone figure squatting in the grass. John sat still as a stump fresh from the cutting, rings revealed to the sky, sap dripping.

“I’m here, John,” said Hank. The muggy air encased them both and he said no more. Without looking up, John reached for his friend, pulled himself to his feet and buried his face in Hank’s shirt, pearl buttons pressing circles into his cheek.

As the keening began, quail sprang from the grasses, straight up and away.

 

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