"The arrival it seemed, of the man of his dreams..."
Toward the end of September things began to slow down a little.
There was still some stuff in the fields, but not as much. Dan had gotten himself out from under the rutabagas, much to Sal's relief. Of course, the produce slow down didn't stop the baking from happening, but the lines at the farm stands had gotten shorter and there were far fewer out of state plates coming by.
Ken went home for a while to visit his folks but said he'd be back. And one night, Cat and Viv and Marge and Darren had a former housemates/present communemates meeting.
"How's it going?" Cat asked the gang, being the old timer in the group.
"Well, I've been here a while," Viv said. "It kinda feels like home now."
"I'm still getting used to it," Marge said. "I still wake up at night wondering why I can't hear any planes landing."
"I think I'm used to it," Darren said, "but, I don't know, I'm feeling kind of restless. I guess you can take the boy out of the city. I'm not sure if you can take the city out of the boy."
"Are you thinking of leaving us?" Viv asked, looking at him.
"Not really," Darren said. "I'm just not thinking of staying."
A couple of days later, a lavender VW microbus pulled up the drive. An athletic looking young man came to the door and asked for Stan.
"Stan ain't here no more," said Marge.
"Why are you looking for him?" asked Darren.
"He had a notice up about wanting a ride to the fairy fest," the young man answered. "I'm running kind of late to get there and I didn't check in before I came here, but I was passing this way anyway and figured it wouldn't hurt to drop by in case Stan got stuck for a ride."
"You're right," said Darren. "It doesn't hurt. You want to come in and get a bite to eat while you're here? You've got a way to go yet and I thought you might be hungry."
"That's very nice," the newcomer said. "My name is Chuck."
"I'm Darren," said Darren and led him into the kitchen.
"And so one day Darren ran off with this other guy..."
A couple of hours later, as Chuck and Darren were lying in Darren's bed, Darren pointed out, "This is all very lovely, but I think you're going to be a bit late getting to the festival."
Chuck lay there, not speaking for a little while. "That's okay. I'm not in a hurry. As far as I'm concerned, the best part is the end of the festival, anyway, and so that's all I'm really going for. It's not like I can afford to go to the whole thing."
He took Darren's hand and slowly looked into his eyes. "I really like you," he said. "What would you think of the idea of coming along to the fairy fest with me?"
Darren's eyes opened wide. He didn't say anything, but just nodded. He took a minute to get himself together, up and out of bed, but got himself dressed and packed in record time. He then spent the next twenty minutes saying goodbye to everyone.
He found Luna inspecting the fields, Sal in the produce stand, Dan under the kale, and Nancy slicing her new Apple Zucchini Bread in the kitchen, and gave them all hugs.
Hardest of all for him was saying goodbye to Marge, Viv, and Cat. He couldn't stop hugging them. "I'll be back," he promised. "I just gotta see where this goes."
Finally Chuck dragged Darren into the microbus. "Goodbye, everyone," Darren yelled out the window frantically waving his arms.
Work on the farm came to a standstill as everyone stopped what they were doing to see Darren off. Dan still had kale leaves clinging to his shirt. The gang all stood in a clump waving back at Darren.
Chuck kept trying to get the engine to turn over. Meanwhile there was more waving. Darren blew kisses from his seat. The little lavender bus took some time to actually get started but the engine eventually caught and it finally chugged off in a cloud of exhaust.
The rest of the commune looked at each other. "Is everyone else good?" Luna asked. "Is there anyone else who's thinking of leaving?"
There was a long period of silence, before people started speaking up.
Someone said, "No," and suddenly everyone was saying no or shaking their heads, or doing both.
"I think we're all good," said Dan.
Luna took a deep breath. "Well, okay..." she said, and went back to her work in the fields.