A story about a young girl (in America)all alone, until she meets a boy.
|The gun felt cold and awkward in his hands, as he hung the lantern on the hook, and pointed it directly at the girl in his mother’s chicken house.
She looked up at him while she squatted reaching for the eggs under his favorite hen. She wasn’t scared or nervous in the least, but looking into her dusty blue eyes, he wondered if she could see him trembling.
She stood up very brazenly, and walked past him calmly with 3 eggs in her hand. She was a tall girl of at least 5’7” or maybe even 5’8”. Her mousy blond hair had streaks of gold, and here and there almost white blond hair, mixed with it. She had it pulled up loosely, and it was being held only by the knots she tied in it. She looked very poor, but surprisingly clean and healthy. Her skin was brown. She apparently hadn’t taken much care to avoid the sun.
“What are you doing in our chicken house?”
She turned back and smiled, then walked out the door.
Joshua walked out behind her, and she was gone. He couldn’t see her anywhere. He looked down at his hands and noticed they were still trembling. He tried to calm his breathing.
What would he tell his mother? He knew she wouldn’t cotton to anyone stealing eggs. But why was the girl there? Where had she come from? The more he thought about it, the more he wanted to keep it to himself. The rags she wore barely covered her modesty. Her ankles and feet were bare and the slip of a dress barely fell past her knees. She was still the most beautiful thing he had seen in all his sixteen years.
She had only spoken one word and it had been in German.
“That just doesn’t make sense,” He said to himself. All of the Germans that lived around them were land owners. They all had their own chickens. They had their own farms for that matter. Most of them were far more prosperous than his own family.
Why would she be in rags? Why would she be stealing eggs? Then it occurred to him, of course—she was on her own, and stealing eggs because she was hungry. He went about his morning chores.
He wished she had stolen milk from his cow. Bessie had way more than he wanted to milk out twice a day.
He carried the can of milk to his hand cart and strapped it on.
His eyes continually scanned his surroundings every time he walked outside. He ached to see her again.
Early the next morning, long before daybreak, Joshua crawled out of bed, and went out to the chicken house to wait for her. He waited and waited until he could no longer stand. He peaked out as the sun began to peak over the horizon. When he heard his mother at the clothesline, he walked out. She hung the clothes on the line and went back to her laundry fires.
Joshua reached into the back door of the house and picked up the milk can and bucket and went to milk. As he came out, pulling his hand cart, he caught a glimpse of her standing at the clothes line admiring the dresses hanging there. Most were his little sisters, but one was his mother’s. He panicked when he first thought that she might steal a dress. It was not that he minded her having one, it was more that he feared his mother finding out about her. If that happened, he was afraid she would make her go away.
He stood quietly, and watched to see what she would do. After she held the dress out with both hands admiring it, she released it, and focused on the ribbon pinned to the clothesline next to the dress. It was his younger sister’s hair ribbon. She held it carefully without unpinning it. She smiled and rubbed it on her face. Then she left it hanging on the line as she looked at it longingly, while her hand found her own knotted bun on top of her head. She frowned and sighed, then turned and walked away from it.
Joshua tried to watch her, as she disappeared behind the corner of the house, to see where she would disappear to. But he was too slow, and she was gone by the time he could see. It was as if she just vanished again.
It would be another long day that he would have to ponder her predicament.
Finally, he decided to tell his mother about her. He hoped that her best Christian self was standing in front today. He was afraid that the only way he could really help her would be through his mother. Every time he began to tell his mother about her, he hesitated. He just couldn’t think of the words. Maybe he will just wait, and tell her tomorrow.
He told his mother that he was going to go hunting, and that he’d be back in a while.
“Well, mind yourself and remember, we don’t kill for sport, just for food, so don’t kill nothing that you don’t want to eat for supper.”
“Mama, you say the same thing every time I go out with a gun. Don’t you think I know by now?”
His mother smiled, and pulled his hat down over his eyes. “Just be sure of yourself is all I ask.” She said, “And be careful!”
“Yes, Mama. I gotta go now before it gets too late. Bye…”
He walked around quietly hoping that he would see his girl. He stood for a while in at the trunk of large tree trying to camouflage himself in the underbrush. When he saw a large cotton tail, he quickly raised his 22 rifle, and it cracked loudly as it fired one shot. He walked over and picked up the rabbit. When he turned around, he saw her watching him. She was licking her lips.
He held the rabbit out to her, and she stood up, and walked over to him excitedly.
“Danke, Danke, ich habe so Hunger auf Fleisch, aber ich habe keine Waffe.“
Joshua smiled at her excitement. “I don’t know what you are saying, but I’m happy to give you the rabbit.”
When she stood in front of him and smiled, he smiled back with large eyes. He noticed everything about her. The color of her eyes, the shape of her lips, and the whiteness of her teeth. His eyes could not avoid looking at her bare legs. He knew he shouldn’t, but they were so beautiful, and he had never seen that much of a lady’s legs before. She was so close, and he wanted to reach out and touch her, but he didn’t want to frighten her.
“Do you want me to skin it for you?” He asked her trying to explain to her with his hands to make her understand.
She looked at him with a large smile, and took the rabbit from his hands. “Ich kann das Fell zu entfernen und reinigen Sie den Kadaver mir.“
She turned and walked away carrying the rabbit while Joshua followed. She glanced back at him and waved at him to hurry him up. When they arrived to her camp, she found a sharp branch that had been whittled away to leave a sharp hook for hanging small game, protruding from the trunk of a tree. She quickly ripped a narrow strip of cloth from her dress and wrapped it tightly around her rabbit’s feet and slipped the legs of the rabbit over the sharp branch. She ripped open the rabbit hide and peeled it off of the carcass like a glove. She took her finger and stuck it into the abdominal cavity to remove the entrails.
Joshua watched her work calmly and confidently to clean the rabbit. He was amazed. When she was done, she removed the carcass from the branch, and looked around for just the right tree branch and quickly threaded her rabbit on the branch and handed it to him to hold while she added broken pieces of dead wood to her all but burned out fire pit. Quickly the fire started burning again, and she held the rabbit over the fire.
“You are the most amazing girl I have ever met. I wish I knew your name.”
She looked at him still smiling. “Ich weiß, Sie denken, ich kein Englisch verstehen. Das ist der Weg, ich will es jetzt. Da Bin Ich mir ziemlich sicher, dass Sie kein Deutsch, sprechen.“
“I wish I knew what you were saying, for all I know you could be sayin‘ that next you will skin me and put me on the fire after the rabbit is done.”
The girl bit her lip in an effort to keep from laughing out loud. She wasn’t ready for him to know she understood everything he said.
Joshua looked around her camp. He was curious as to how she was living. He saw her rough shelter and miscellaneous tools she had made for herself. “I want to know why you are living out here all by yourself.”
She looked around, and saw a long branch with a ‘v’ in it and then found another very similar. She handed him the stick with the rabbit on it and determined to break the branches so that they could be stuck in the ground to hold the straight branch with the rabbit.
When Joshua realized what she was doing, he said, “Would this help you?” As he handed her his machete.
Her eyes shined, “Danke.”
She took the machete and finished her task. She looked the machete over well with appreciative eyes, then handed it back to him.
“No, you should probably keep it,” he said, handing it back to her. Her eyes became large and she tried to hand it back to him, but again, he told her to keep it, and he untied the scabbard that he had strapped to his leg and handed it to her also. He thought he saw her eyes mist up when she thanked him profusely.
She looked at her work then turned the roasting rabbit.
“You are amazing, do you know?” He kept talking to her, but did not expect her to answer, since he was sure that she couldn’t understand him.
He watched the sun dipping in the sky, and as much as he hated it, he knew that he should go home. Mama would be worried already. But how could he walk away and leave her out there all by herself?
“I gotta go… sun’s goin’ down… I… I gotta get home.” She looked at him and stood up when he did. “I sure do hate leaving you out here. Would you like to go home with me?”
She looked at him blankly. She laid her hand on her chest and said, “Freida.”
“Oh! Freida, that’s pretty… I… uh… Joshua, my name is Joshua,” he said tapping his own chest.
Freida smiled, and said his name, “Joshua.”