"You should've stayed away from the preacher dude, Hester." I say to the adulterous heroine in the book I'm reading for class. A robin answers me from the top branches of the old oak. The swing under me sways covered by the shade of the oak. A woman's shriek from next door jolts me off the swing and onto my feet sending The Scarlett Letter to tumble from my lap. It lands spine up in the thick grass. Monstrous hedges guard the property line of my yard and that of my neighbor's, blocking my view from what lies beyond them. I search until I find a space in the hedge monsters and am able see into the yard next door. My eyes widen at the scene playing out before them.
A woman stands inside a bed of daisies swinging a garden hoe. With each swing, a hot pink ribbon bobs from her brimmed hat.
"Drop it, you evil thing," she cries. "Get out of here."
I want to call out to see if she needs my help, but I'm not sure what her name is. My mom took her a "welcome to the neighborhood" gift basket and a pie when she moved in over the winter, but I didn't pay attention when mom told me her name.
The woman inches a step forward, pokes at something with the hoe, and shrieks.
"Oh my lands!" A huge tomcat dashes to the opposite side of the yard and turns to bare it's teeth. It gives the woman a hiss before disappearing in the hedges. "Oh good Lord!"