"Do you want me to sleep inside?" she inquired.
I guessed where she was. Instead of answering, I opened the back door and stepped out into the most deliciously cool air. Taking a few steps into the grass, I gazed through the oaks to admire the moon. I shifted my bare feet until I found the perfect frame for it in the branches. My gown blew softly in the breeze.
With my eyes full of moon, I stepped lightly across the cold grass and entered Emma's bower. "What are you doing?" I asked softly as I climbed the ladder to her loft. I could not see her when I reached the top.
"I'm going to sleep out here," she whispered. We chatted for a few minutes as she lay stretched upon a flattened air mattress, and I clung to the top of the ladder. She explained that the wind had called her from her bedroom, and she had wandered to the pond with Cotton, her cat. After that kind of an outing, I would not expect her to return to her bedroom. It would ruin the spell.
"I think I want to go inside and get some milk and crackers," Emma said.
"That sounds good to me too," I said, stepping down the ladder.
So we left the bower. Again, we were greeted by the chilly breeze, so bewitchingly playful, rippling our gowns and ruffling our hair. We decided that we would get our refreshments and enjoy them outside in the grass. In the kitchen, Emma shook the milk jar to re-distribute the cream and poured us each a foaming glassful. She filled a plate with peanut butter crackers and banana. We half-heartedly hoped that this fare would make us sleepy, though neither one of us was truly interested in sleeping. We yearned for excitement. Yes.
We exited the front door, crept between the giant split-leaf philodendron and the boxwood hedge to the darkened landscape under the canopy of pecan and oaks, where we took refuge on the grass at the corner of the house, facing the hayfield. We could hear the chickens muttering and jostling for position, a distant train, and dogs barking.
We nibbled our simple repast and sipped the creamy milk, admiring Lady Moon. China May discovered us and climbed all over us, purring. Then her cohort, Sunshine-Moonshine Thibodeaux, appeared, curling his fluffy yellow-striped tail into a question mark: "Would we share our milk?"
Emma and I talked about men and whether we should go and swim in the pond, and of my own moonlight wanderings when I was about her age. She sang lullabies. I told her that I liked the feel of the wind sneaking between my toes, and she laughed.
Then we wanted more food. We took up our glasses and our shared plate and returned to the kitchen. While she got the wine glasses I opened a bottle of Merlot. I grabbed a grilled sirloin steak from the refrigerator, a tasty remnant from supper the night before. We stood at the kitchen counter, sipped the wine, and greedily tore off bits of the juicy meat with our fingers, devouring it. It was so incredibly satisfying. When we had eaten our fill, we took our wine glasses and ventured to the edge of the hayfield, stretched out our bare legs to get moontans and leaned against each other for warmth as the cold wine worked with the cold wind to chill us most delightfully, raising rows of goosebumps like lights coming on in a city after a power outage.
At 1:30 a.m., we went gladly to our beds, eager for sleep and whatever adventure