Your Writing Assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to write a complete story in 500 words or less using the scenario below to kick-start your thinking. Publish your story on your blog on February 15th, then go on over to Quilly's and link to her story, here.
Quilly has twelve writing assignments ready, one for the first day of every month. Every month!
The stories are due on the 15th, even in April!
February is the month of love. Your prompt requires only that you write a love story. Fashion it as you will, and remember there are many kinds of love.
"Lady? Lady! Leave the baby with MayElla and walk with me a little while..."
Papa was standing near the gate to the church yard. He often liked to walk among the memorials after Sunday Celebration. He told me he liked the peace of the churchyard and the quiet bustling of the trees, and the joyful activities of the squirrels and chipmunks. We walked along in silence for a time.
"My Dear, do you have any recollection of the day you were born? I suppose not, the harshness of birth is best left with mothers and fathers."
I tried to think back to the moment I was born. But my earliest memories took me back to the day Arliss arrived, screeching and squalling. I was almost four and our cook, Missy kept me in the kitchen. She was baking bread that day. I will always associate birth with the aroma of a fresh bread.
"O Lady, you arrived amidst a fierce storm! The wind howled. The rain beat at the windows. Branches crashed to the ground and every animal on the place took cover. You were our first and I was terrified!"
No one had ever spoken to me about the day I was born. I never thought about it. Papa paused, filled his pipe and lit it. He stood there with a wistful look on his face, I wondered what was going through his mind.
"Aunt Sarah had helped two young women from The Old Farm when their time came, so she had an idea of what to expect, but Mama and I had never been near a woman giving birth. There was so much strain and tension, there was such a feeling of urgency. I felt utterly helpless."
" Papa, why were you afraid? There ain't nothin' to birthin' a baby. I done it lotsa times."
" I've never spoken of this to anyone before. Lady, your entrance into this world changed me forever. I became a man that day. When I first looked on you, when I first looked into your eyes, I could see your heart. I could see the strength and love in your heart, at the moment you took your very first breath. God's love for me washed over me and He spoke to me. I can't tell you the words, because there were none, I just knew that forever you would be my most cherished joy. And I knew I could never let you go..."
I was about to ask why he was scared that day.
Papa helpless? I couldn't imagine such a thing. Papa was a strong man, not only in body, but in his intellect and his convictions. Until the boys were big enough, he cut and stacked every stick of firewood for the big house and both cottages. Papa never took the easy way when disciplining a child or making an argument.
It was true. Aunt Sarah took me along sometimes when women in the village gave birth. I was there to keep the fire hot, care for the older children in the house or fetch anything that was needed. If a husband was present, he assisted Aunt Sarah.There were times when the husband was too nervous to help. Those times, Aunt Sarah sent the man away and I took his place.
"O Lady, my dearest one! My heart was full of joy at your coming, but the work of it scared me so. Your Mama had a harder job than I have ever seen the strongest man attempt. I could not help her in this work, I could not ease her pain, I could not bring you any faster to lay you in her arms. I could only watch and pray."
For the first time, I saw Papa differently. Not as the head of the household, or the caretaker of every soul on the place, but as a man, with fears and feelings and joys and tears. He became more to me that day. At that moment, I knew he loved me. Up until then, I knew Mama and Aunt Sarah and the other children loved me. But at that moment, I knew for sure and for certain that Papa kept me in a special place in his heart. Maybe it was because I was the first.