Broken Magnolias | Maybe You Can get Blood from a Millstone

Despite the appearance of the outside the inside was dry and warm. A fire merrily roared within the grate. A soft breeze that kept the room from being stifling flew in from the windows. She waved the parcels to a wooden table at the far end of the cottage. Easing herself into a rocking chair where she silently began to snap the peas she had resting in a bowl.

“What you need is a plan child. One that keeps that fire you call a soul glowing while making sure your family doesn’t starve.” She glanced up at me. Her normally hard grey eyes, going soft over something only she could see.

My eyes cast down doing my best to keep from being cross that she was telling the truth. She was right. I did need a plan, and I needed one now. I slowly looked around trying to see if there was anything I could do to help her before I left. My eyes widen as they fall to the millstone and mortar. I move to the stone, and turn to her. I didn’t want to beg, but I would do it if necessary. Though she seemed to already know without me having to move my knees.

“Of course, but it won’t be cheap. You will have to tend my garden. Take me to town, and help with my chores.” She didn’t even bother to look up at me. She just continued to snap peas and rock within her chair.

“Yes, of course!” It would be a lot on top of what I was already doing, but at least my family would be fed! I didn’t know how to thank her. She seemed not to want to be thanked, so I curtsied instead of hugging her the way I felt like.

The first couple of weeks were some of the hardest I had ever known. Between taking care of my mother doing our chores, then doing the chores of the old woman I was dead upon my feet. I lost weight; and did my best to hide the blisters on my hands. Though soon it got easier. My mother became well enough to take back at least half of the chores. My family ate, and for the next few months things were fine. I smiled more. But I didn’t allow anyone to get too close.

© SL. Williams 2015



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