“We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.” ~Eeyore
When she was ten, Rose lived near the old lake town, on a single road just across from the road where the willow tree lived. Many years later, Rose would occasionally sing the old story song “Bury me beneath the willow tree,” passed down by the late Almeda Riddle, to remind her of that tree down the road.
Rose lived with her boozy mother in an old apartment, and her brothers and sisters who she sometimes lived with, and sometimes didn’t. They were more like ghosts, she will recall later on. She knew they existed, but they were really never there; just phantoms that appeared and reappeared, with their usual scorn for her, the eighth child.
Rose lived her life by landmarks – the willow tree, the corner grocer, the relics of the old mining town, and a donkey named D in a field across from her apartment.
D was a large donkey with long, untamed fur, and large brown eyes with eyelashes for days. D never wore a halter, and was kind and gentle.
She didn’t visit D every day, only when she thought to. Their relationship was composed of Rose scratching D’s nose if D let her, and if D got tired of that, would saunter back toward the shade.
It was a mutually lonely existence; Rose on the hot cement outside the fence, and D standing in the dead grass on the other side. Whenever Rose approached the fence, D trotted excitedly over to the fence, and then would exhale an unspoken “oh.” The friendship did not yield an escape from the fields, or an apple or two, but it was there, nonetheless.