The rooster finally crows. I beat him by over two hours today.
Slippers shuffle across the wood floor downstairs. Mama. I don’t know if I can face her. Last night’s words squeeze everything else out of my brain. Ellie, sweetie. You’re fourteen. You should know that the elders have placed you with Derek. You’ll be married in one year.
Just like that, I’m “placed”- like a dog from the pound. I still can’t believe she stole my life with such ease, with no more emotion than if she’d announced supper time. I’ll never let her know, but that hurts more than my fate.
Metal frying pans clang. On cue, my stomach clenches and rumbles. I turn my attention back to the Bible in my lap. For the last hour, I’ve waited for God’s words to speak to me. I forget the words the moment I read them. Married…364 days. I can’t get the reality out of my head.
Psalms. Those verses are short. Maybe my mind can handle that much. I find Psalms and mindlessly flip a few more crinkly pages.
The aroma of frying bacon slips up the stairs and under my closed door, taunting my stomach. I decide I won’t eat. If I don’t eat long enough, I won’t have to get married. Married. My gut twists again, but I don’t know if it’s hunger or dread.
I look down. At first, my eyes see blurs of black on white pages. Then, in the middle of the left page, two lines come into focus: The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
My heart pumps an extra beat. Is this a sign? I note the verse: Psalm 9:9.
“Ellie, breakfast is ready!” Mom calls from the bottom of the stairs.
I hear my brothers and sisters chattering at the table. I want to refuse, but my stomach overrules and my feet betray my will.
I’ll start not eating after breakfast.
This my entry for the Trifecta challenge this week. It is a continuation of my Dear Diary entry from last week. If you missed it, click here to view it in a new window.
Here is this week’s word: trou-ble (noun) – an instance of trouble <used to disguise her frustrations and despair by making light of her troubles>. The response must be betwen 33 and 333 words (mine is 328 words). If you want to submit your own entry, check out Trifecta’s site for complete guidelines.