TITLE: And She Fell Down Part 1
By Amy Richie
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She closed her eyes and felt the cool breeze playing with her hair. The sun kissed her on its way back up to the sky. She was walking in a field of butterflies with her one true love. She smiled and inhaled deeply. He turned to face her and took her hand in his. “we’ll always be just like this,” he whispered it softly as if it were a secret meant only for her that not even the butterflies could share. She swirled in big circles making the butterflies dance around her and…..
“Anna! Anna, where are you?”
The sound of her mothers voice brought Anna back to the present. “I’m here momma! Right here!”
Her mother came out of the back door with a basket in her hand. Her hair, which was mostly still brown, was pulled back from her face. She might have pulled it tight in the morning but by now the strands were trying to get out of their confinement. She wore a dress that had very little color left in it. Her hands told the story of her hard life and the lines around her eyes and mouth gave away her years on the earth. She hardly complained in words but an occasional hand at the small of her back told those that knew her well of her pains.
“What are you still doing out here? I told you to hurry up with the clothes cuz I needed you in the kitchen this morning.” She spoke in a harsh tone but her eyes held a light that showed her deep love for her child. “Are you out here daydreaming again?”
“But momma, the breeze just carried me away. If you was me wouldn’t you want to be somewhere else?”
Her mother rolled her eyes and threw up her one free hand. “oh, child, how you do go on! If I were you?….” She shook her head and sighed deeply. A small smile threatened to tug at the corners of her lips. “If I were you I would have got my outside chores done real quick so I could help my momma inside. Oh, to be fourteen again…” She chuckled softly, remembering.
“Momma why can’t I go to school anymore, like the boys?”
“Your place for learning things is here. You need to not worry about boys until you can get the clothes without dreaming the morning away.” She held the basket out for Anna to take. “I need you and Nadine to take this over to Mrs. Calloway. Go on , I will finish up here.”
“Nadine!” Mother called for her sister.
“Coming!” Nadine came out a short minute later still drying her hands on her apron. “Yes momma?”
“Why don’t you and Anna go ahead and take this leftover stew to Mrs. Calloway.”
“Alright momma, will you be ok here?” At mother’s nod, Nadine hung her apron on the hook by the door .
“What happened to Mrs. Calloway?” Anna asked on the way to the neighbor’s house.
“The baby died yesterday morning. The doctor said she was to weak.” Nadine was older by two years and she seemed to know everything. She didn’t act like she knew everything, she just seemed so much older than her younger sister. “Things like that happen , you know? It isn’t fun, but it happens. Mrs. Calloway hasn’t said a word to anyone since then. Her husband says she won’t even eat. They have an older son that she needs to take care of and quit thinking so much of herself.”
“Nadine, why are you like that? Sometimes I wonder if we have the same father. Maybe momma had a secret lover and he is my father. Maybe…”
Nadine snorted in disgust. “Anna you live your life in your daydreams. Life ain’t really like that. It is all about dishes and cooking and laundry. You need to learn how to be a good wife cuz that is all we will ever be - wives.” her eyes stared to mist and she quickly wiped them away.
“What’s wrong Nadine?”
“Nothing, come on, we need to hurry so we can get back and help momma.”
Mrs. Calloway again refused to eat, she didn’t even thank the girls. The whole house just smelled like death, they could feel it in the air. Anna shivered more than once and Nadine stood awkwardly by the door. They left as quickly as they came.
On the way home, Nadine and Anna held hands, trying to recapture their childhood, even if it was only for a moment.
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