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TWO STORIES

ONE

There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that I’d be going back to the farm anytime soon, Mama and Daddy be damned. Daddy’d smack me silly if he heard the language I’m using these days, but Roy says God don’t mind the way you talk—it’s how you look that’s important. And I knew he was right. Because when Roy looked at me, and the way his hands felt—but I’m not supposed to talk about that, neither.

I got the letters from the farm the same night as the induction, so there wasn’t no time to read ‘em beforehand. I put on the white robe and waited for my Sister, Cheryl, to come and help me with my hair before the ceremony. Roy liked us all in white—says God told him that his girls should appear clean and pure as shorn cotton. I always liked white, anyways.

“Patsy?” I heard his voice, suddenly, startlingly me since I was waiting on Cheryl, not him.

“I’m coming, Roy,” my voice was shaking just a tad, an excited and terrified feeling erupting inside of me. Why was I scared? Mama always told me if I was scared, just to sing a little song, but Roy didn’t like us girls singing unless he told us to first. Said that God had certain expectations about a girl’s voice and how she should use her mouth, even if he didn’t care about your words when you were talkin’. It all seemed confusing at first, but it wasn’t hard to get it after a spell.

“Patsy, don’t keep me waiting,” he was right outside the door. Cheryl was missing—she was always running late—and my hair was all messy, but it’d be better to be punished for an appearance abuse than for keeping Roy waiting too much longer.

Story by Devon Fulford

TWO

God I’d give anything for her to look at me that way just one more time. She was exquisite, the definition of wild, perfect and all mine. We were meant to be, I felt it, she felt it, everyone around us felt it. The first time I saw her, my heart started racing like it wanted to jump out of my chest, I remember vividly, I got weak, I stuttered. I could barely speak and she just giggled, smiled that sweet honeysuckle smile, so gentle and quaint, innocent at first glance. It was a honeymoon the first few months, it was a dream and I never wanted to wake up.

Soon enough we moved in together, on a spur of the moment Saturday night/early morning decision, we eloped. For us, there was never a dull moment, and soon after she was pregnant. Those few months were the best months of our lives, I had never seen her so happy, as if she was a child. One sunny afternoon we were sitting on our porch when all of a sudden she let out a scream that still haunts me. She was in immeasurable pain, I rushed her to the emergency room as fast as physically possible, but we were too late, we lost the baby.

She was never the same. She lost the curiosity in her eyes, her lips turned down indefinitely and I don’t think I ever heard her laugh again. I was so worried for her, I tried everything to comfort her but she believed it was all her fault. She thought she killed her baby and she could never forgive herself. One night before dinner, I found her lying limp on our bed, her antidepressant medication bottle empty and the light of my life gone.

Story by Victoria Raschi

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