Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)
TITLE: Revolutionary Love
By Ruth Neilson
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She sighed and walked to the window, feeling her child kick strongly within her. She was afraid that her child was never going to know its father.
He’d left to join the minutemen the in early spring. Now it was the end of October, the first snowfall of the season, with no word. No way to let him know that she was with child. She wondered if her love was out unprotected in this weather, or if he had shelter. The child moved again and she rubbed her womb gently.
“I know little one, I’ve got chores to do still today.” She muttered and smiled faintly as the child moved again, as if to respond to her. She moved slowly to the hooks and collected her heavy cloak; the hens and cows were not going to wait for her to tend to them. She needed the eggs, and the heifers were probably uncomfortable.
Martha had several younger boys from the village who had helped with autumn harvest. They were a Godsend then, and promised to help her once the child came. She was considering asking them to come help sooner. Her growing size, combined with the snow and ice, was making the short walk to the barn increasingly treacherous. She held the basket and milk bucket in each hand now, as if they were all that kept her on her feet.
She missed her husband, missed having company around the small house to talk with and to share chores with. She was thankful that their hamlet was virtually ignored by the British, that the British did not suspect the strong rebellious tendencies of the village. The taxes were enough to bring a new family to its knees and had all but destroyed her husband’s savings, forcing both of them to work twice as hard to recover their losses. Someone had to stand up to the British and someone had to stay home—the ones who stood up.
Martha winced as she settled herself onto the milking stool next to their heifer and started to ease the milk from its udder. She began to sing softly, needing to hear a voice --even if it was hers, in the midst of the silence. She continued to sing, pausing occasionally as the child kicked against her ribs or stomach.
It was ready to be born—to see this world, but Martha was not ready for the child to be born. She wanted her husband to come home, to know that she was carrying his child. But, she feared, that he would never know.
“I promise you, little one, if your father passes away, I won’t let you forget who your true father is. I won’t marry again until I have to, I promise.” Her child was going to know that its father was a hero in his own right, and that he was the only man that she could truly love.
“Almighty God, I pray that thou will grant my husband the protection in this war so that he might see his child.” She prayed, resting her head against the heifer’s broad side. The heifer moaned, as if in an agreement. “I pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” She whispered, crossing herself before rising to finish her chores. There was too much to do this day for her to just sit and pray. She picked up the bucket, which now held steaming milk, and placed it near the door before gathering the eggs. Her trip back into the cabin was more treacherous than into the barn—but the milk had to be churned, the butter and cream made. Martha sighed and slowly made her way back towards the cabin. Maybe John would to return tonight.
She smiled— it was a good thought. A thought that would continue to sustain her until John came home again.
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