Weekly Writing Challenge; Traces
Weekly Writing Challenge; Traces
Using the story behind the photo above as a jumping off point for this week’s writing challenge, we want you to talk about leaving your mark. For the fiction-minded, fill in the mystery behind this photograph. Who were these flowers left for? Was there a message included? Is there a mysterious reason why these flowers are covered in dust, but still appear so young?
Every night after the lights went low, busy fairies came alive. Bustling through the cemetery. Oh there was plenty to do. Everything was groomed but one potted plant. There was trimming of weeds, picking dead blooms, applying fresh fertilizer. Each night the glow of their shiny wands made a person feel like they were seeing the reflections of twinkling stars falling to the earth.
There were many fairies. It all started in the year of 1850 when the lady of the southern plantation took ill. Annabelle had been a beautiful lady. She was not only the wife of a rich husband but her heart was bigger than any pile of gold.
She had many slaves that worked for her. In fact this was one plantation where slaves begged for her attention so they may earn a chance to work inside for her.
While her husband was attending to business, Annabelle was helping where she saw fit.
She helped teach young mothers how to bathe their new babies. She mended holes in clothing for the farm hands. At the holidays she made each of them special plates of food and each of the children could count on getting a present of their very own.
When one of the children became ill she fetched him and brought him to the main house. Here the child was nursed back to health if at all possible.
But one day Annabelle felt ill. The house was quiet. She hadn’t been seen any where outside the house.
Buzzing went through the slave quarters as questions remained with no answers. That night Annabelle’s husband had come home.
The room was silent. He went through the rooms looking in the sleeping quarters last.
There lay Annabelle ghostly white. He went to her and sat on the side of the bed. Speaking to her he received no response. He felt her forehead with the back of his palm.
She was burning up. He covered her gently and quickly exited their room and dashed out the main door. Hopping on his horse he took off for the five mile ride to the doctor’s office. Beating on the door for what seemed minutes, the doctor opened it.
Explaining the symptoms he observed the doctor picked up his satchel and hat and readied his horse. The two rode hard back to the main house. Once inside the doctor performed an examination.
Nodding for her husband to follow him out into the hall, the doctor explained that his wife had little time. She had come down with the fever and there was no cure.
Her husband’s eyes filled with tears as he walked the doctor to the front door. Shaking his hand he watched until he could no longer see the horse and rider.
He went directly to the slave quarters. He ordered them to gather round. He explained his wife’s condition. He told them this was very contagious, but he needed the help. Which ones would be able to come to the main house and be of service?
Several of the ladies raised their hands in the air. He nodded at each one and they got their belongings and followed him back. For eight days the fever remained. Anabelle grew weaker and paler. Food was offered but not taken. Visitors stayed a way for fear of the sickness getting a hold of them.
On the eighth day Anabelle died. Her faithful followers remained behind to tend to her and the funeral but one by one each passed also.
Ever since the last one passed, the flowers that were left by Annabelle’s grieving husband had remained untouched on her grave. The fairies which were once her helpers in distress watched over her as she had once done for them.
To this day if you visit the old cemetery, and you sit quietly in the night, you can see the reflection of the twinkling stars falling to the earth.
I didn’t want to get you sidetracked on my last post. I was talking about Al and wanted to stick to it.
While we were at Culver’s it was about 12:30. A good time on a Sunday to people watch. It was very crowded and I was thankful for the staff and visitors who helped open doors to get his wheel chair in and out. Also for checking out the Men’s restroom to make sure the coast was clear before barging in on some guy and scaring him so he couldn’t pee.
I love to people watch. If I can go to a mall and shop for a bit and spend more time sitting and people watching, this is what I would do. Today there were many people who had left church and headed here to eat.
It was so cute to see little girls in pretty dresses and white lacy anklets. Sort of reminded me of myself when I was little. There were ladies in dresses and men in suits. There were the relaxing folks with shorts and tank tops on.
I was really enjoying myself between keeping an eye on Al’s chewing. There was this one couple though that I found it hard to mind my manners. I wanted to stare but I had to do it politely. They had to be young, well to me young. They were probably in their late twenties. I could tell from their outfits that they also had just left church to come here to eat. They had one daughter who was probably around 7 and another baby in a car seat. This baby wasn’t old enough to sit up yet. Cute little kids.
What gave me mixed feelings was my mind was thinking, nice church folks, pretty clothes, family, togetherness, comforting.
Then the baby would cry. I could see from my view that the Mama was trying to console the baby without having to pick he/she up, but the baby didn’t stop fussing. This was the first glimpse I got of mixed emotions. This is when the mixed emotions started flaring up.
Each and every time the baby cried, the Mama’s eyes got huge and she stared at her husband‘s face. The little girl became very quiet and stayed frozen in her seat. Finally the mom picked up the baby and gave up her hot food to comfort the little one.
The whole time she kept her eyes glued to her husband. There were no smiles or laughter or chatter. The baby quieted down and she laid it back in its little seat. Once again it cried. Instantly her eyes went to her husband again.
There was something familiar to me in that look of hers. It reminded me of when I was married to my last husband and I was always afraid of doing the wrong thing. The heart races, the breathing becomes rapid, but silence falls all around them and fear takes over.
Finally after the husband had finished his meal he took the baby from Mom. She could now eat her cold lunch. After he got the baby quiet the Mom’s eyes returned to normal. The little girl started to speak once again.
I felt eerie inside. I wanted to go over and ask the Mom or the little girl if they were safe, but I didn’t. I let it sit inside of me and stir like red-hot embers. I didn’t have any evidence.
I watched them leave and put my full attention back on Al. I felt ugly inside for not doing anything. There was a part of me that needed proof before I stuck my neck out. The only proof I had was my own memories of when my husband was not a very nice man, which is why I divorced him.
Kids or no kids if you are in a relationship that you don’t feel safe at all times, for heaven’s sake, get out. Get out and save your life, your sanity, and your children, if there are any. If you can’t get out because of no funds, do what I did. Save money until you can get out. I told my kids what was going on and I felt better because I had more pairs of eyes watching my life go by. If worse situation comes, walk out the door, call the neighbor, or call the police. Don’t hang around for love or security, you won’t find it.
I felt like something was going on inside that family, and I asked God to watch over that wife, mother and children, because all I had to go on was instincts.
Remember, abuse can happen to anyone. Church going people, teachers, preacher’s kids, your next door neighbor, your boss’s family, anywhere and anytime always be a good people watcher.
For His Wife’s Sake
She sat on the curb watching the other kids play. She had a tank top on that was too tight. She was…
She sat on the curb watching the other kids play. She had a tank top on that was too tight. She was old enough to be wearing a bra but she didn’t own one. This shirt definitely showed her need of one.
Her shorts were too short and they cut off her waist. She kept sucking in her gut to try to gain some room so the button would quit digging in her skin but she couldn’t hold her breath that long.
Her shoes had holes in the tops and she could see her big toe wiggling out of the top. She had no socks on so her heel blisters were burning bad. She did the best to comb her hair before she went out the front door, but it was hot, and she needed a ponytail holder.
She felt like she didn’t fit in. No one liked her and no one ever said a word to her. Her mother sat home with a bottle attached to her hand. She could care less about anything except that she had the drink in her.
Her father had left her mother years ago because her mother was a drunk. But why did papa leave me behind too? Why didn’t he take me with him? Mother doesn’t like me either.
As thoughts twisted through her mind tears began to fall. She took her dirty hand and wiped them away. The kids at the park took no notice of her. She had one friend but since school was out for the summer she wouldn’t see her until school started again.
Across the street from the park a woman cried her heart out as she watched the little girl each day. She and her husband wanted a child so bad, but she was barren. Here was a child who obviously was not wanted and she wanted a child.
That night at the supper table the wife told her husband about the little girl on the curb. Her husband saw the pain in his wife’s eyes. He knew how bad she wanted a child. He wasn’t sure if he could adopt or not. Could he love someone else’s child like his own?
He asked his wife when she usually saw the child and his wife said she sat at the park most of the mornings. She must go home around lunch time. He thought well I guess I can get a look at this kid. It’s the least I can do for my wife.
The next day he cancelled one of his meetings and left for home early. When he walked in the front door he saw his wife standing in the bay window crying. He looked to where she was looking and saw the child.
For a brief moment sadness tore at his heart when he saw her tattered clothes. He looked at his wife whom he loved so much and said, “Come on, let’s take a walk over there. Maybe we can find something out about her.”
His wife smiled and the two walked over holding hands. They stood beside the child who turned and looked up at them. She quickly turned back the other way. The two strangers sat down on the curb beside the child. All three stared off in the distance. No one said a word.
Finally the wife asked, “I see you here every day. Could I ask your name?”
“That’s a beautiful name Mary. Don’t you want to go over and play with the kids?”
“No, no one wants to play with me.”
“Well my name is Sue and this is my husband Ed. We will play with you. Would you like to swing?”
Mary shook her head yes and stood up. Ed watched his wife pushing Mary on the swing. Then noticing the time he told Sue he had to get back to the office. Sue told Mary, “We have to go now. Did you enjoy that?”
“Would you like me to come back and swing with you tomorrow?”
Ed didn’t know what to think. He had seen the lonely eyes in the little girl and he saw the yearning in his wife. He thought about Mary throughout the day and he finally decided he would take his lunch break at 11am from now on. He would at least try to get to know this child for his wife’s sake.
A few weeks of this routine went on, and Mary opened up a little more all the time. She confessed that she had to be home from the park by a certain time or her Mother would come looking for her. She told Sue and Ed about her mother and the bottle. She even told them about her sore tummy due to her tight shorts. She explained about her one friend but she wouldn’t be able to see her until school started.
Ed’s heart kept dropping off pieces of wall each week. He began to picture Mary eating supper with them and tucking her in bed at nights. One day when his day was not so rushed he made a call to his attorney.
In a matter of a month the child’s Mother signed the paper giving up custody. He walked into his home and found Sue sitting by the bay window rocking. He handed her the papers and she read them.
She tossed them on the floor and jumped up giving her husband the biggest hug possible. She grabbed his hand and they raced over to the park. They came upon Mary and this time Mary was smiling at them as they came closer.
They all sat together on the curb. Ed looked at Mary and said, “I can see that your life has not been very good so far Mary. Would you like a chance at having a different life? Maybe some new clothes and new shoes?”
Mary looked at them with hungry eyes. She nodded her head yes but the fear of hope kept her from speaking. Sue patted her lap and asked Mary if she would like to sit on her lap. Mary jumped up and sat in Sues lap. Sue put her arms around the child and hugged her close. She asked,”Mary, Ed and I would love to have a child, but God just didn’t want us to. Now I know why, he knew that we would meet you. Would you like to come and live with us?”
Mary leaned into Sues chest and softly said yes. “Well come on then. Let’s go to your new home and have some lunch. I will show you your new bedroom and then you and I will go shopping for some new clothes.”
With Mary in the middle, Sue and Ed on either side, they walked hand in hand with hearts beaming, smiles showing and love pouring out for all to see.