Berta sat down, dog tired. Tears ran down her cheeks. She brushed them away.
What had she done to be saddled with a life of hardship and misery and an ungrateful child? Hurt and anger welled up inside her as she thought about her only daughter, Clarissa. She, Berta had worked so hard to make sure that Clarissa went to a good Negro school where she’d meet a fine Negro man and what does she do? She runs off with an Injun. All that money wasted and all that hard work for nothing.
Slowly, she rose to finish the ironing.
This was inspired by the movie, Unbowed.
This was written for the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields For more details, visit Here. To read other stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.
“But, my Dear, Mr. Foster shall be calling on you at precisely three o’ clock.”
Anna stared at her mother. “Oh, I forgot that he was coming.”
“You would do well not to slight a man of Mr. Foster’s constitution. I’m sure you’re not impervious to his singular affection for you.”
“No, I cannot say that I am. I will admit that Mr. Foster is a very amiable man and I have enjoyed our conversations but I’m afraid that my affection for him is of a platonic nature.”
“My Dear, you would do well to remember that you have no beauty or fortune to recommend you to any man. And so far Mr. Foster is the only gentleman who has shown any solicitude toward you. Don’t let your fancy notions about love blind you to the fact that if you offend Mr. Foster in any way and he withdraws himself as your suitor, you will end up an old maid like your Aunt May.”
Anna took a deep breath. She didn’t want to lose her temper. “Mama, I’m going for a walk now,” she said. “I can do with some fresh air.”
Her mother looked rather put out and she sniffed indignantly, her expression one of censure as she gazed upon her rebellious daughter. It was Anna’s fault, really that there was a rift in their relationship. She had always been a rebellious and unconventional child. “If you want to go gallivanting about the place, by all means do so,” she said. “Just make sure that you are here when Mr. Foster calls. I will not have you embarrass your father and me.”
“I will be back before Mr. Foster comes, Mother.” And after giving her mother a perfunctory kiss on the cheek, she left the room.
What a relief it was to be out of the house. The temperature was mild–pleasant, though the sun wasn’t strangely absent. She headed straight to her favorite spot–the clearing in the wood and the rock with the crack. When she reached it, her face was flushed but she felt invigorated. She sat down on the rock and removed her bonnet. She smoothed her fingers over the golden wisps of her that brushed against her forehead. She could remain there all afternoon but she had to return to the house before Mr. Foster got there. Drat.
Why did Mr. Foster have to show such a marked preference for her company when he could easily have shown the same to other young ladies, like her cousin, Charlotte, for example. Charlotte seemed like a better suited companion for him than she was. And as her mother liked to remind her, Charlotte was very sweet girl with such an agreeable disposition.
“Why can’t you be more like your cousin?” was her mother’s constant query. As fond as she was of Charlotte, there were times when she found her wanting, not to mention boring. No, she would never be like dear sweet and irreproachable Charlotte and that suited her well.
After spending a long time there, enjoying the solitude and nature, she reluctantly quit the place and returned home. Slowly, she entered the foyer, removed her bonnet and made her way to the sitting-room where she would receive her visitor. Upon entering the room, she was surprised to see a strange gentleman standing there beside her mother who was sitting on the sofa. “Anna, my Dear, this is Mr. Abbotsford, Mr. Foster’s nephew.”
Mr. Abbotsford bowed and Anna curtsied. “Miss Fairley. I’m here on my uncle’s behalf. Regrettably, he has been called away on urgent business in London and has bestowed upon me the important task of conveying his deepest regret that he’s unable to keep his appointment with you. I asked me to offer you his profound apologies.”
Before Anna could reply, her mother spoke up. “Mr. Abbotsford, please inform your uncle that although his absence is of a considerable disappointment for my daughter, that she understands his predicament and that upon his return, she will be more than happy to receive him whenever he is able to facilitate another visit.”
Mr. Abbotsford bowed. “I shall inform my uncle of your disappointment, understanding and eagerness to see him.” His gaze shifted back to Anna.
Anna met his stare squarely. He wasn’t at all like his uncle. He was tall with very striking features. His black hair framed a very handsome and tanned face. It was slightly long and brushed against the crisp white collar of his shirt. He looked and had the manners of a gentleman. He looked to be six and twenty. She wondered what his occupation was and why Mr. Foster never spoke of him.
Mrs. Fairley cleared her throat. “Mr. Abbotsford, if you have no pressing business to take you away, perhaps you can stay for tea?”
“I would be delighted,” he replied.
“Very well. I shall ring for tea. Please be seated, Mr. Abbotsford. Sit there by the fireplace. Anna, come and sit beside me.”
Anna dutifully went and sat beside her mother. After arranging her dress and making herself comfortable, she looked over to where Mr. Abbotsford was. Again she wondered why Mr. Foster had never spoken of him nor introduced him. Perhaps, it had to do with the fact that he was young and very handsome. And perhaps, if Mr. Foster were privy to the thoughts that which occupied her mind as she studied his nephew, he would never have enlisted his help to bring her news of the urgent business which had spirited him away this afternoon, preventing him from being at her side now.
As she sipped her tea and listened attentively to the conversation between her mother and their visitor, she hoped that she would see him again. Surely, Mr. Foster won’t object to her family getting better acquainted with his nephew. Perhaps, she could persuade her mother to invite him for dinner. There was no telling how long Mr. Foster would be in London.
This was written for the #writephoto Prompt – Rift at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.
It wasn’t something I expected to happen but when she walked into my classroom on that first day of the Fall Term, I fell. Imagine, a man my age falling for a girl young enough to be my daughter. I tried my very best not to do anything about it but I’m not impervious to the desires of the flesh. We’ve been seeing each other under the quiet. So far, no one suspects. If we were to be discovered, I’d probably be fired and she might be expelled. I know I should end our relationship but I simply can’t.
This is for the Weekend Writing Prompt by Sammi Cox. For instructions, click HERE.
They were on their way to Venice for their honeymoon. She was bursting with excitement. Before today, she had never been anywhere outside of London. As they walked through the station and up the stairs to the platform, her eyes danced with excitement. The porter followed them with the luggage. As they stood on the platform, waiting for the train, other passengers observed them with great interest. They were not your typical married couple. He was a middle-aged man with streaks of grey in his dark brown hair and she looked young enough to be his daughter. Women shook their heads in disgust and the men were positively green with envy.
Ignoring them, the man put his arm around his young wife’s shoulders as they waited for the train. He didn’t care what they thought. He had been given a second chance at happiness. What did age matter? So what if she was younger than his eldest daughter? After losing Barbara, he never imagined that he would ever fall in love again. He hadn’t planned on falling in love with someone so young but the fact was, she made him happy and that was what really mattered, wasn’t it?
This was written for Sunday Photo Fiction hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit Here. To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit Here.
I stare out of the window at the sky which looks like it is on fire. I have never seen anything like it before and I linger for a little while, forgetting for a brief moment my daily struggle to feed three young children and my sick husband. I push all thoughts of my brothers and their families who are currently enjoying themselves in Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast. I suppress the bitterness and anger that struggle to rise to the surface as I try not to think about them using my inheritance money for their vacation.
My brothers pressured me to give up my small inheritance entirely. I could do with that money right now. They’re spending it on travel while I’m stuck here, taking care of my family. I should be relaxing on a beach somewhere. Everyday, I get up, cook, clean, and whatever needs to be done in this house, no matter how tired I am. My brothers don’t care about me.
Until things change in this country, women like me are going to continue to feel helpless and bitter because of gender inequality in inheritance. Whereas daughters inherit half of the estate, sons inherit twice as much. I inherited half because I’m a sole daughter. Had I sisters, collectively, we would each inherit two thirds. That hardly seems fair. When are things going to change? When is there going to be gender equality in inheritance?
I hear the baby crying. I wish I could spend a longer time watching the sunrise but duty calls. I turn and after going over to the bed to check on my husband, I leave the room to tend to our daughter. I hope that by the time she becomes an adult that there will finally be a change where she will be granted equal inheritance rights.
This story was inspired by an article I read. In Tunisia, there is a law which limits daughters’ inheritance rights and provides that sons inherit twice as much as daughters. Equality Now is taking action to change this.
This was written in response to the Thursday Photo Prompt at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. For more details click here.
Cade lived on his own in a condo in the heart of downtown Toronto. This wasn’t always the case, though. He was married once and had a daughter but one day tragedy struck. While he was out trapping lines, his wife and their eleven month old daughter had just returned from a walk when they were attacked by a bear. Neither survived the attack. He returned home to find the animal still there and when it charged at him, he shot it. He found their lifeless bodies and was overcome with grief. The community reeled from this tragic incident and rallied around him.
He sold the cabin and moved to Toronto. He wanted to be as far away as possible from where the tragedy occurred. He never returned to the Yukon or the cabin again. Too many painful memories and he was bombarded with self-recrimination. It had been his idea for Joan to spend part of her maternity leave at the secluded cabin. They would have been safer at their house in Whitehorse. He blamed himself for what happened. Joan and Chrissy would still be alive if it weren’t for him.
Moving to Ontario was the best decision he had made. He stayed with family until he found a job and was able to afford his own place. He worked for a construction company and became fast friends with the men who worked there. They were always inviting him to something or the other so he didn’t have time to be lonely.
Ten years had passed since he lost Joan and Chrissy but he still thought about them. He no longer blamed himself for what happened, however, he still couldn’t bring himself to return to Whitehorse. There was nothing there for him, anyway. His life was here now. His friends were always setting him up with their female friends and relatives and occasionally he would go out on dates but nothing serious ever developed. He wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, anyway.
He was walking in the park now. It was a cold morning. The snow was like a thick white blanket covering the path. It was quiet. Hardly anyone was around. Not many people would venture out on a cold day like today but he loved it. The air was fresh and crisp. The coat he was wearing was nice and warm. His head was covered and the scarf covered his nose and mouth. He was dressed for this.
After he finished his walk, he decided to go to Tim Horton’s for a hot chocolate. As he pushed open the door to go inside, he heard someone call his name. He turned. It was Roshawna. She smiled. “Hi, there. Didn’t expect to run into you.”
He smiled. “I could say the same about you,” he replied. “I would have thought that you would be indoors on a day like today.”
“Yes, it’s pretty cold but I had errands to run. Before heading home, I thought I’d stop in here and grab a hot chocolate to take the chill off. What’s your excuse?”
“I didn’t want to be cooped up all day so I decided to go for a walk in the park.”
“You’re a Canadian through and through. I’ll never get used to this cold and I’ve been living here for years now.”
“Why would you leave sunny and hot Jamaica to come here, then?”
“Are you in a hurry to get home?”
She shook her head.
“Let’s have our hot chocolates over there by the window.”
“So, how’s life?” he asked when they were sitting at the table, steaming hot chocolates in front of them. He liked Roshawna. She was a live wire. She was the younger sister of one of his friends. They met at her brother’s barbecue last year.
“Life’s been busy. I got a new job at a publishing company. How about you? I haven’t seen you in a while. Been staying out of trouble?”
He laughed. “What kind of trouble could I get into?”
She smiled. “With your looks, you can get into all sorts of trouble. Are you dating anyone?”
“No, not at the moment.”
“Good. I’m not dating anyone either.”
“Are you busy later?”
“How would you like some good home cooked Jamaican food?”
“My mouth’s watering at the thought.”
“Good. My place tonight at seven.”
“I’ll be there.”
That settled, they talked about other things while having their hot chocolates.
This story was inspired by the tragic true story of a mother and her ten month old infant who were recently attacked and killed by a bear just outside of Whitehorse in the Yukon. The father wasn’t there at the time of the attack but when he returned, the bear was still there and attacked him. He managed to shoot and kill it.