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The place of the action is the small town of Crowley in Louisiana. The time of the action in the early 50s. Crowley is to the marrow a country town and entirely corresponds to its name: the life here is quiet, and the people are not concerned about many things. People jokingly call Crowley “The unofficial rice capital of America”, because the main activity of its inhabitants is farming. They cultivate and sell rice. There are three main characters we are going to develop in the story.
Lily is 17 years old. Never-ending rice fields are familiar to Lily from her childhood and always reminded her of little China. However, she had never been there or in any other place far off her hometown. She is a traveler by nature although. She read a lot of books were about traveling, but someday, she wants to publish her own story. She is a gifted singer and musician too; her father was the teacher and inspired her from her early childhood. The passion for music has not faded away with his death. He traveled a lot when he was young and told little Lily a lot of stories about how inspiring the world can be. She works in a local grocery store and dreams that someday, she will leave the town and will see her country in its immensity little by little.
Dalton is Lily’s best friend. He is a 16-year-old black-skinned boy. Within the last 10 years, he is very busy with his parents’ bee garden. They are an independent family as for the Southern state in the early 50s. Dalton is an intelligent and enterprising kid. His parents’ business was doing splendidly due to his help; he arranged honey and honey products delivery not only in their town but also to neighboring cities. His parents want all the best for their child, so they think. They want him to become a preacher in a local church and keep living his quiet life on their family farm. They just do not want to see that Dalton is a completely dissident thinker. Raised in a religious family, ironically, he is interested in completely other things: science and music are his passions. The object of his intent attention is space, and he would like to enter university someday and study to accomplish his big dream – working in NASA. He also plays guitar. Dalton and Lily write songs in their free time and sometimes perform them at local festivals.
Deborah is Lily’s mother. After her husband died, she got a drinking problem and stopped paying attention to her child. Moreover, she accuses Lily of her fathers’ death. Just like her husband, she used to travel around the country a lot. Finally, she settled in Crawley. She is a pretty, kind, and unusual lady, but after the accident with her husband, she merely lost the sense of life.
August was the month of changes for both Lily and Dalton. It was the time they decided to end up their carefree existence in Crowley and move further in the direction where their dreams pointed to. There were a lot of fears in their eyes, but there was also a strong desire to find out their own way of living.
Chicago promised to be a good start. At the end of August, they disappeared from Crowley not telling a word to their parents and hitchhiking all the way to Chicago. With the music talents and pretty mix of traditional blues and country they played, they achieved their first goal and began performing songs on the small Chicago stages. It was the way to earn some money to live. They were best friends from their childhood, but not long after they moved to the big city, the unseen bond between them began to fade.
“You know, I feel like I stuck in here. Now, there is no difference for me between Crowley and Chicago, except for their areas. – What do you mean, Lily? – I feel as if I already soaked up everything from Chicago. My urgent need is new people and places, another fresh sun, you know. I want to tell my own stories as my father did. I do not want to lose you. But it is time for me to move. And I will understand if you want to finish your study here. – That is ridiculous... - The other thing I ought to do is to help my mother. I decided to go back to Crawley to take her with me on my journey. I know she would like that and probably she would forgive us for hurting her more than fate already did.”