By Rachel Barnard

Her by Rachel Barnard


Every day I pass by her house. The tread of my tires lines a circular path from my dimension to hers. I never do it when she's home, then she might catch the light shining from my reflector in her window and wonder what I'm doing on the ocean-view side of the street. I only live three blocks away, but it is that one street that separates us, that keeps me from diverging from the path and crashing through her manicured lawn. I have counted each lonely revolution of my wheel on the path. I have noticed that the shade of each house on the way increases in loveliness. Her house is wreathed in stark raving beauty. The paint is not chipped anywhere and she has one of those special mailboxes. It is a manatee and its maw of a mouth is where the mail is put in. I imagine they get all sorts of nice things, like packages too big to fit in the mailbox.​​ 

One time I saw her drive past my street. I was on my bike at the time, wheezing up a slight hill, pretending she was riding on my handlebars. Her mother was driving and she was in the back seat. The passenger seat was empty. Her window was down and a piece of her hair had flung itself into the wind. They drove past my bike, but she never saw me, never looked up from the book she was reading. They were three blocks from her rightful place, where she belonged. Their passage through my neighborhood was swift.​​ 

Sometimes when I am lying in my bed, I lean over and brush my hand against the floor, imagining the hard terrazzo is the marble that surely worships her feet. What dainty feet she has! Her shoes are sometimes left haphazardly on her lawn, with the petite light blue shoelace trailing through blades of grass. Grass I only see sprinklers touching.​​ 

I do not mind that the only things that I see from my window are dirt and dust, an occasional sickly palm tree, and the road to paradise. It is not the ocean view that I hunger for but three blocks less between me and her.

Today, as I was doing my daily drive, right as I was passing by her house I rolled over a nail and my tire popped. The sound was amazing; it filled out the entire block with a whoosh. Half falling and half jumping off in alarm I careened into the manatee mailbox. It started to lean from my hug. I rolled off of it and sat dazed at the soft caress of the grass. The slight waving of the blades was mesmerizing and I sat transfixed. Then the door opened. There was no creak or protest from the hinges but in my mind I imagined these sounds. They accompanied my trepidation at the thought of her seeing me on her property. A foot, dainty with a trail of shoelace and white silk pants peeked around the door. Then she appeared. She was just a girl, not any goddess like I had imagined.​​ 

I pulled the mailbox back up straight, and started to walk my bike back toward my street. I offered no explanation and she just turned around and shut the door. I walked my bike, erasing my previous tracks and treads. For three blocks I dismissed the fantasy and imagination that had led me down this path every day. When I got back to my house I noticed that the leaning mailbox and dark austere shade of paint on the house gave it character. The dirt and palm trees gave it a homey looked in atmosphere. I was home, three blocks closer to where I belonged.



About The Author

Rachel Barnard’s greatest accomplishments have been eating an entire half gallon of ice cream in one sitting, winning a boot toss, and writing a novel about herself. Rachel Barnard wishes she were taller, that chocolate had no calories, and that books could be eaten after they were read. Rachel Barnard resides in the Pacific Northwest and loves to dress up, talk about writing and books, and dance. Rachel Barnard primarily writes young adult books, including Ataxia and the Ravine of Lost Dreams, At One’s Beast, and Donuts in an Empty Field (For the Love of Donuts Book 1).