Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CANDY (04/28/16)
TITLE: Hope Wrapped Up
By Hannah Gaudette
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
She looks up from the browning dish water in the cut-in-half barrel. “I'm sorry, Birdie. He's looking for work. No telling how long he'll be away.”
Looking for work. Always looking for work. Sometimes I wish he wouldn't find any. Then he'd be home with us. I miss the old days when Papa would go berry-picking with Fern and I. He'd take the blame when we showed up with pails only half full and lips smeared with red or purple.
I miss those damp autumn mornings when the harvesting came to a standstill and Papa took James and Dennis fishing. The smiles on their faces as they returned and the joyous laughter that drifted across the farm seemed to mute the rain.
“Well, now.” Mama's voice pulls me back to the present. “I'll bake a special dinner for your birthday tomorrow, how's that?”
I force a smile. “Thank you. Can . . . Can Fern and I get a bit of butterscotch from the store?”
Mama's hands still in the dishwater. “Dear Birdie, you know we don't have money to throw away on fanciful wants like candy.”
The birthday candy! Papa's favorite. If I can only hold it again, I'll know he's coming home. He's got to come home. God will take care of him, right? “Yes, Mama.”
“Perhaps when you're father's found a job, things will be better.”
Looking for work. Always looking for work. Papa, please come home! I need you to be here again. He's been gone over a month. Though we receive letters, he's never able to send money. Mama's butter and egg customers can't pay much, either.
“Things will be better, soon as these hard times are over.” Mama sets a cleaned plate on the counter. “Things will be better.”
~ ~ ~
The chill of dawn creeps across the floorboards and underneath the heavy quilt draped over the bed Fern and I share. I dreamt that Papa was here for my birthday, a tiny package enclosing butterscotch in his hand. It felt so real.
Mama knocks on our bedroom door. “Rise and shine, girls! Cows are waiting!”
A distraction. I dress quickly, trying to ignore the cold, and follow my sister downstairs. Mama stands over the stove while stirring the cornmeal.
“Happy birthday, Birdie.” Her smile is practically glowing.
“Thanks, Mama.” I grab the milk pail and start towards the door.
“Hold on, Birdie.”
I glance back at my mother. She reaches for a small package on the table. “Why don't you open your gift now?”
Gift? I hadn't expected any. Mama said she would make a special dinner. I slowly unwrap the brown paper, unveiling a simple tin. With a questioning glance at my mother, I remove its lid.
That familiar, divine smell seeps from the hard, golden contents in the tin. The moment freezes. I don't dare to breath. Is this a continuation of my dream? I'm holding butterscotch in my hand – it can't be true.
“Your father sent it,” Mama explains, her voice alight. “He's found a job at a quarry. He doesn't know how long it'll last, but he sent his first week's pay and your birthday gift along with it.”
If it wasn't a shameful thing to cry, I'd give into the uprising within me. It's almost as if Papa's here, wishing me a happy birthday, handing me the butterscotch tin. Perhaps he is. Mama likes to say how we're not really apart even when we're separated. What does that really mean?
“Try it,” Fern whispers in my ear.
Needing no further invitation, I dive into the candy, splitting it with Fern. It's just as heavenly as I remember. Golden, delicious! This birthday has come alive, and Papa will be home soon.
I raise my eyes to Mama. “He will come home, won't he?”
A flicker of fear dims the light in her eyes for such a fleeting moment, I can't be sure I truly saw it. She quickly replaces it with a confident nod. “Of course, he will.”
I smile and gaze at the golden gift for a moment. I'm going to set aside one piece for another day. A day when Papa and I will eat it together.
Soon. He's coming home soon!
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.