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The Place where I Cannot Follow

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Getting over Buddy’s death had taken Idgie years. There was no getting over Ruth’s death.

But there were too many things to do to allow herself to collapse. This time, she did not have the time to drown her sorrows in mischief or alcohol. She had a son to raise, and well, the café to take care of.

Only once a month, on the 7, the inhabitants of Whistle stop knew not to be scared by strange noises coming from the woods. For on the 7, Idgie would go out after putting Stomp to bed, and cry her heart out in the forest.

She never visited Ruth’s grave, except on special days. It got easier, after a while, even if she thought of Ruth constantly: Stomp had inherited his late mother’s smile.

Smokey Lonesome had showed up a month after Ruth’s death. The poor soul had no idea she was gone when he arrived, and Idgie knew she had to be the one to tell him. They both loved Ruth with all their hearts and no one understood Idgie’s pain like he did. Ruth’s death had brought them closer.

“I miss her Smokey. So damn much”, she said one day. It was one of those special days when she visited the grave. They had already deposited what they always brought: a jar of honey and wild flowers.

“I know Miss Idgie. I miss her too”, he answered, like he always did.

“What if I screw up Smokey? What if I let Stomp and everyone else down?”

“You won’t. And yer whole family’s here, they won’t let you fail him.” And with those words, he touched her hand briefly and left.

“I swore I would follow you everywhere Ruth”, she murmured. “But this is the one place I can’t follow you to. Wish I could. But Stomp needs me.”

Their beautiful son with a smile as radiant as his mother.

“For now, say hi to Buddy for me, will ya?”

She tapped her fingers lightly on the honey jar, brushed the few leaves that had fallen on the headstone, and left the cemetery.

One day my love, we shall be reunited.