… Parts 13 (Interruptions), 12 (Gifts), 11 (Punishment), 10 (Warmth), 9 (Found), 8 (Lost), 7 (Rock), 6 (Believe), 5 (Naming), 4 (Home), 3 (Trust), 2 (Hope), and 1 (Nightmares) have posted on previous Sundays…
Part 14: Words
Anna looked back at me, shaking her head ever so slightly. Now was not the time for questions. Apparently the state of things was more delicate than I had surmised.
“Well, no decisions should be made on an empty stomach. Young Tilly has helped me to prepare dinner, and there is to be pie afterward. Then, and not a moment before, we will find some manner of resolving this situation.”
The doctor’s wife had spoken, and not an objection was there to be heard. The doctor placed the sheaf of papers upon the writing desk by the bedside, nodded at both of us, and left the room, his wife having already gone down to see to dinner. The smell of pie was now being joined by that of what seemed to be a collection of roasted vegetable smells, as though it were Sunday after church.
The three of us shared a basin to wash up and dress for dinner, only just sitting in a row on the bed by the time the doctor’s wife arrived carrying a larger tray than usual. Anna and Tilly helped her arrange our place settings, while I made sure that all remained in equilibrium, seated as we were upon the bedside.
“I must return and dine downstairs with my husband, in case any curious neighbors look in, but I shall come back up shortly to collect the dishes. I do wish you all a good meal.”
We each nodded our thanks, and she gave a gracious nod in return before closing the door behind her. I looked at Anna, nodding toward little Tilly’s plate. Anna turned to the child, encouraging her to eat, but the little girl shook her head.
By all the heavens. At last! I was overjoyed to finally be able to say grace without seeming to be a troublesome patient. Anna smiled, and all three of us bowed our heads. Tilly looked up at me, and I decided to give some small thanks to the good Lord for getting us here safely. Then, our hearts more at ease, we ate with less worry. It was still plain that each of us feared this new development, but things suddenly seemed just a little bit better.
After clearing about half her plate, seeming to be absorbed in her thoughts as she ate, Anna looked up at me.
“Yes, Miss Anna?”
“How do you feel about your reading, now?”
My heart sank. I had been sure that this question would come soon, and equally sure that I would not be up to the challenge which the question was meant to represent.
During the time I spent convalescing at the home of Dr. H., we were not idle. The doctor’s wife spent every spare moment, it seemed, showing me a new eye chart, with diverse characters of the alphabet.
This served two purposes. First, in checking my vision after each meal, we could all see the progress of my recovery. Second, and most urgently, Anna and I were learning our letters. We would need to know how to read if we were to make sure our escape, for many papers and postings made mention of our evasion, and according to a certain Mr. Bacon, knowledge was power.
Little did we know how soon the need for such power would arrive.
This is the continuation scene in my historical fiction series Ann&Anna. I hope that this series will move you to learn more ways to help use our history to build new tools.
I look forward to your thoughts.
1.) Share your thoughts on how this story may encourage empathy-building cooperation, and might help, or hinder, inclusive thinking.
2.) Write a story, post or tweet that uses those thoughts.
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Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.