“The time for childish thoughts are over, understood?” The man before her was nothing like her previous memories of him. The man from her memory was kind, gentle with both his actions and words. The memory of that gentle man was replaced with his present demeanor, who was callus as his over-worked hands and reflected the chill felt outside.
Today was the day when he wanted her to grow up, to become as cold as the wind whipping through the cemetery. He emulated the gloom that was being cast down upon the pair who stood before a marked grave. It read that of her deceased mother, of a loving wife, and marked the beginning of her growing up. The next step in her journey, which would include the makings of a good worker and replacement for her deceased mother.
All Shelagh Mannion wanted to do was place dairies upon her mother’s grave, an innocent attempt at affection for her beloved mother. However, her father didn’t see the action for what it was. Instead, he saw it as a weakness and wanted her to understand that such notions were not tolerated anymore.
“But they’re pretty Dad, and I thought-” but before she could finish, her father cut her off.
“You need to stop thinking that way. It’s time for you to be a working member of this family. It’s up to us to manage the farm and figure out your future.” With that he was off, leaving behind the final memory of his wife and for Shelagh to bury such childish sentiments.
“I can’t do this anymore,” tears started to swell in her eyes, “I can’t be the grown-up daughter you want!” With that declaration, Shelagh was off and ran as fast as she could from her father. Ever since her mother’s passing, things were never the same between them. Her father continued to become cold and expected her to take on more grown-up responsibilities.
‘It’s all so unfair’ she thought. ‘How can he expect me, us, to keep everything together?’ Her thoughts continued as her destination was in reach, running from the barn house to the family home. She disliked the fact that everything reminded her of when her mother was alive. The house they shared held many memories from past holidays, birthdays, and their previous mundane lives together. It was unbearable, even now, as she slammed the door of her room, she was reminded of her mother.
“I just want to leave this place,” she spoke aloud to herself. Defeat overtaking her as she slid down the length of her closed door, her eyes glancing around the room.
Four simple walls she couldn’t help but hate, a room filled with memories of when her mother sang her to sleep or visited her for nightly chats. Shelagh missed her deeply while her father wanted to wash away any memory of her mother. ‘But didn’t he feel the pain in losing any recollection of his wife’ thought Shelagh.
Tears were already streaming down her face and in the absence of her father, she allowed them to fall freely. Shelagh’s eyes then fell upon the last present she had received from her mother. The leather that bound the book together was tattered, black in color, with a single gold cross etched on the front of it. Others would think of the Bible as an insignificant gift, but for Shelagh, it allowed her to seek guidance when she had none, to read about love when she felt empty of it, and to understand when sacrifice was needed.
Young Shelagh had hidden it away in the initial months following her mother’s passing. Now it laid out each morning and night on her nightstand, leaning on its passages when she experienced moments of uncertainty and sorrow. Shelagh would sometimes imagine her mother’s face and voice when she used to recite the Bible’s messages to her.
In recent days, however, she couldn’t remember what her mother’s voice sounded like or recall her facial features. Shelagh’s room used to be a place of sanctuary in remembering her life before her mother was taken. However, as time had progressed, her memories of her mother were vanishing and there was nothing she could about it.
Shelagh’s father had forbidden tears to fall in missing her mother, discussion of her memory, and chose to curse God instead for his wife’s departure. There was much Shelagh had missed and chose to spend her night in silence, crossing the distance from her bedroom’s door to her bed. Face wet from her tears as she reached out for her Bible, holding it close against her chest as she fell back against the pillows.
Her mind was numb from the day’s events, but couldn’t help a wish starting to form in her mind. Shelagh had wished for God’s plan to be revealed. To understand why her mother wasn’t a part of her present nor future before succumbing to sleep.
I finally wrote/finished something after eras of being away (not really that long, but feels like it)! This fic was inspired by “These Four Walls” by Little Mix and Shulienne’s discussion before Shelagh gave birth; when she came realize that all her decisions and choices have amounted to the woman she is today (who she never thought possible)! I hope you all liked this and look forward to three more (representative of the four sides of Shelagh and her stages of life)!