Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: No Breakfast For Annie
By Cyndi Brandon
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She had learned a lot in her short five year old life. She learned that genuine love was all but nonexistent. Her mother didnít love her, her father, whom she had never met, didnít love her. Maybe her grandparents did, but they didnít hug her, they didnít speak the words. They did feed and clothe her, send her to school, and take her to church. Her thoughts wandered to her Sunday school class. What were the other childrenís family home like? Most of them, she knew, had a mom and dad. Did they have uncles that make them feel indecent? Probably not, she thought.
Emotionally, Annie was left to fend for herself. Heartache she knew all too well. Her maternal grandfather had died of a heart attack. At least, thatís what everyone was saying the day that he didnít get up for breakfast. Annie wondered if his heart hurt him like hers hurt her. And, what if her heart attacked her like Pap-país attacked him. What if she just didnít wake up for breakfast one morning. The preacher had said many, many times that when we die, we go to heaven if we know Jesus. Annie was pretty sure she knew Jesus, and not waking up for breakfast didnít seem so bad.
Annie was lost in the thought of walking in a peaceful place with the man whose kind face hung on the living room wall in her grandparentĎs home. She longed to be in that place where no one would touch her body in ways that werenít right and often hurtful. She could almost feel the love from Jesus as he held her hand and smiled down at her as they walked along the shore of gently flowing river. Her tiny lips were almost smiling, a rare occasion in itself, when the gruff voice of her uncle once again broke through.
ďAnnie!! Have you not heard me calling? Come here.Ē He had found her once again.
The reverie was broken, she looked fearfully up into his hard face. As his big, rough hand wrapped around her tiny, fragile arm, she felt herself turn cold. Just as she had done so many times before, she immediately put on the Ďnumb Annieí, the one that could not feel what was about to happen. At least not until it was over.
It wasnít until bedtime that Annie took off the Ďnumb Annieí. She had had her bath, but still didnít feel all the way clean. She slipped quietly into her bed, no one there to tuck her in, grandmother was busy and it was okay. Another thing she learned in her short life, that alone is not bad at all. As a matter of fact, alone was preferable to not alone in most cases. At least for Annie.
As she lay on the soft pillow she willed her mind to restore the image that had been torn from her earlier. The image of heaven and of walking with Jesus whose eyes were pure love and kindness. The green, fragrant grass, the gently flowing river and the strong, safe hand that held hers. When she finally was able to think it back, she drifted off to sleep, hoping with every fiber of her being that tomorrow morning would be the morning that she didnít wake up for breakfast.
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