Photo courtesy of Pixabay
The rain was pattering off the metal roof. Katherine sat at the desk, answering an advertisement in her best penmanship. She was careful not to let her reply mirror her true emotions. Her hands shook, and her tear drops were leaving wet spots on the paper. Memories ran ramped in her mind.
It all started on a cold winter’s day almost two years ago, when her father was arrested at his job at the bank for embezzlement. It took a year of expensive lawyers before he was proven innocent, but by then they were financially ruined. Her father became a shell of the man he was before. The family was forced to move to the other side of town. Mom, a strong woman of character, had faced everything with strength and dignity. Today, she worked as a maid in the type of homes she used to live in. Dad tried his hardest, but his pride was his downfall–leading him to find solace in a bottle. Katherine’s dream of attending University was ruined by the false accusation.
The months passed, and still Katherine had received no reply. She tried to busy herself with her daily tasks. The rhythm of the swishing and squeezing on the washboard would sometimes calm her mind, but since mailing the letter all she could think about was her dismal life. The advertisement she had answered offered her an escape. She recalled the words in her mind: “Wife Needed. Christian. Younger than 25.” It might not have been the escape she was hoping for, but it had to be better than the life she was living.
Hours every day were spent washing laundry for others. Not to mention her constant attending of her father to make sure he didn’t run off and cause another commotion at the bank. Every evening she prepared dinner and sat at the table, seeing the emptiness in her father’s eyes and weariness in her mom’s. They were constant reminders of the dim future ahead. Katherine did not want her life to be like this. Her only hope was in that letter. If she was selected, she couldn’t be sure her life would improve. She couldn’t know that her future would be brighter. But could it possibly be any worse than it currently was?
Days flew by and the weather changed. Spring had arrived with warm sunshine and beautiful tulips blooming around the front of the house. Her dad had planted them on one of his better days.
The letter finally arrived. Katherine sat alone at the small kitchen table carefully opening it. Inside was a one-way ticket departing next month and a neatly written note that said “I look forward to meeting you. Sincerely Joseph Turner.”
The preparations went quickly. And before she knew it, the day had come for her to depart. Katherine gently placed the white nightdress neatly on top of the other items in her suitcase. She heard soft footsteps behind her. Turning she found her mom standing there, tears threatening to escape her eyes. Her mother took her hand and placed a beautiful pearl necklace in it. “Kathy, your father gave these to me the day you were born. I have kept these to give you on your wedding day. We will not be able to witness this day that we have dreamed of since your birth so please take them with you and remember us.”
Katherine hugged her mom showing no emotions. “Yes mama. I will remember,” she said as she gently placed the necklace on top of her other things and pulled the suitcase closed. Without saying another word, she collected her items and pushed her way out of her room. As she stepped off the front porch of her small, single story home she didn’t look back. She just kept her gaze fixed ahead of her. That was what mattered now–the future, what was in front of her, not the past she was leaving behind.