Paper Love

Standard

What is a piece of paper?

Paper. Parchment. Carta. Papyrus. These are among the many different ways to say paper, an invention that has arguably (depending on who you ask) made the world a better place. Thanks to the ancient Egyptians weaving strips of the papyrus reed together, even the lowliest amongst us can record their words for posterity.

It is true that without paper much of history would be lost – after all, knowledge became extinct when Alexandria first burned. It has taken us years to rediscover what was lost on those precious scrolls. But, what does it truly mean to those of us that live day to day in a modern and ever more complicated world?

As an author it is my means of creation and communication. Painters use it to paint and readers to read. Some people roll it up and smoke it while others use it to wrap dishes on moving day. It makes great paper-mache for pinatas. Kids use it to make paper airplanes. The Japanese even use it to make delicate works of art called origami. All in all paper is a wonderfully useful tool invented by the ancient Egyptians.

As someone living in this world it also means so much more and less. Why do I need a piece of paper to tell me I am married to the man I love, my best friend? He and I both feel that it isn’t necessary to prove our love by obtaining a piece of paper made by man – a near decade together should be enough to prove that. Common law marriages have been around since time immemorial and were often used when a priest couldn’t be found. Yet others around us seem to think that we are temporary or nothing without it.

I know of couples that couldn’t stay together with a piece of paper and vows. I also know of couples that never should have gotten married in the first place. For one reason or another they went after a piece of paper that they didn’t respect and all the legalities in the world couldn’t keep them together.

While true that couples do grow apart, if a couple decides they don’t want to be together, that piece of paper will not keep them together. Just like a child can’t keep a couple together, neither can a sheet of paper.

What keeps people together is people and their love are respect for each other, not paper. People and what they want and believe are what counts. Just because you believe in something, doesn’t mean everyone else does though.

Reading this, you might think that I am against legal marriage. I’m not. I’m all for it when the time and person is right for those involved. My situation is perfect for me, don’t tell me it is wrong just because you don’t believe in it. If a common law marriage was good enough for Benjamin Franklin (yes the founding father – don’t believe me, Google it), then it is more than good enough for me.

If we want to take a historical look at marriage, lets use the Puritans as an example. They believed that a marriage was a contract between two people to care for and help one another that was separate from religion. I, personally, don’t need a sheet of paper to do that. I know where my heart lies and a piece of paper won’t change that. It can’t.

Traditionally marriages were used to make alliances between families or countries. More than one war was averted by an arranged marriage. People even married to keep crowns out of other peoples hands. They married to make sure children were taken care of and to lessen a burden at home. They married to share chores on a homestead. Very rarely were they about love. Something I am glad about for the modern age – I love that my marriage (be it on paper or not) is about love. Because love is what matters and nothing else.

I realize that for many people, religion states that marriage in a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple is the only way to signify that you are married before God – I won’t even get into the fact that in the time of Jesus a marriage was consummated in a church (ewwww). While I do not personally believe this to be true, I do respect your point of view. Note that I did not say that I don’t believe in God, I wholeheartedly do – those are another set of beliefs that I keep to myself.

What keeps my husband and I (as well as many other common law couples) together is choice. We choose to be a couple. We choose to communicate. Above all, we choose to love. A piece of paper cannot guarantee any of those choices being made. As human beings we can.

It is our choices that define whether paper is even necessary to a given situation. So why do so many people define a situation by something that isn’t necessarily relevant to those involved?

That is an answer that I don’t have. I wish I did.

Advertisements

Fall From Grace – Chapter 10

Standard

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything from my latest work. I apologize for that, but I have been working further on Fall From Grace.

Without further ado, I give you Chapter 10 of Fall From Grace.

As always feel free to let me know what you think of this rough endeavor!

Happy Reading!!

Slowly the frigid icicles melted into sunshine and fragrant spring blooms. With earlier sunrises and later sunsets visitors were few and far between. The last visitor to appear was Grace’s dour grandfather. Grace lost count of the days since her arrival; sadly, conditions had only worsened since the beginning of her incarceration.

As the days passed, Mrs. Osbourne’s cough seemed to rack her frail body more and more, while people rotated through the cell like a millstone over grain. As people came and went their body heat often made the cell feel like the inside of a beehive oven at midday. The stone walls no longer wept with moisture; the sweat between her toes played havoc with the leather shoes on Grace’s feet.

After the midnight interrogation split the bottom of her shoes, blood saturated the leather. As the leather dried out, the shoes ended up encrusted and allowed sores to form between her toes. Fearing rot, Tituba peeled the leather off of Graces skin only to find that the flesh was growing over leather flaps .

They had been out of the Dungeon and Jail once when the sheriff had shackled them together in order to take a cart down to the river to wash. The pillory was removed prior to the river trip allowing Grace to stand fully upright for the first time in a month. The only reminders of that humiliating device were the bruises that surround her wrists and ankles. A fleeting smile flashed across Grace’s face as she remembered the rush of water running over her urine soaked body.

The water soaked her dress chilling her to the bone, but she was clean. The only other bright moment in this foul circumstance was the bible that Abraham provided. The three women had taken turns reading aloud. The back cover of the bible held the names of every soul who entered this jail written in blood. The comfort that this simple act brought them was immeasurable.

Currently, Mrs. Osbourne was reading the Prayer of the Lord from the bible. Grace was breathing heavily while biting her lips. Tituba was tugging at the stiff leather removing layers of skin the size of crabapples.

Mrs. Osbourne gently ran her fingers through Grace’s hair, giving the young woman some form of comfort for this painful ordeal. Strips of dead skin drenched in blood littered the floor as mice made their way into the cell chittering in excitement. The metallic smell of blood mixed with the nauseous fumes of tobacco combined to produce something far more foul than cow manure.

Grace flinched and bit through her lips as a flesh coated piece of leather joined the dead skin on the muddy floor. “Just a little bit more, Miss Grace, I promise. I’m sorry I got you into this mess. I just wanted them to stop,” Tituba softly apologized.

A lung racking cough from Mrs. Osbourne punctuated Tituba’s apology. Grace looked up from her position to see a trickle of blood escaping Mrs. Osbourne’s lips. With a shake of her head, Grace admonished, “You should be at home with your children and husband – not stuck in this oven-like, rat infested prison that smells worse than a tannery on a hot day.”

“‘Twould do me little good. My sons dispute my husband at every turn, and this affliction has been at my side for a number of years. I’ve gotten more rest in this damp dungeon than my ears would ever hear in my own home.

“Besides, if you can hold to your integrity and beliefs, so can I,” Mrs. Osbourne offered.

“But I’m not ill Mrs. Osbourne. If this affliction takes you to God’s waiting embrace, then at the very least you should greet him in your own bed with your family by your side,” Grace insisted.

“You and I may see that as a reasonable request, Grace, but methinks that our jailers would have something to say about that.”

Grace growled as she hissed low.

“Sorry Miss Grace, but that’ll be the last of it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep it semi-clean so the doctor won’t have to amputate it,” Tituba glumly informed.

“Somehow Tituba, methinks, the doctors would prefer to have to amputate. At this point, they would seek out the farthest seas of pain to press from us a confession to a crime that is not our doing,” Grace sadly stated.

“You’re positive it’s the grains, Grace,” Mrs. Osbourne questioned.

“I am as sure of that, as I am that God loves all his children. When father and I were in Stamford to see about some business, the same afflictions were occurring. Though they took a scientific approach and refused to believe the ramblings of a bitter person,” Grace whispered as she sat up.

Grace leaned heavily on the wall behind her so that she wouldn’t feint as violent coughing racked Mrs. Osbourne again. Tituba and Grace watched as Mrs. Osbourne stiffened as her affliction turned her face tomato red.

Grace pulled Mrs. Osbourne into a hug, “Rest your head on my shoulder, for now, Mrs. Osbourne. Should God call you home this evening, know that at least one person will miss you in this world.”

“May God bless your future, child,” Mrs. Osbourne blessed as her eyes closed.
Once Grace was sure that Mrs. Osbourne was asleep, she turned to Tituba and sadly smiled, “Thank you Tituba.

“Thank you Tituba. You’ve the steadiest hands in Salem.”

“Thank you, Miss Grace. Twas the least I could do after getting you in this mess,” Tituba whispered.

Grace shook her head before answering, “You’ve no reason to apologize when all you did was ask for succor. The beatings you received should never have been done in Gods name.”

“That’s kind of you to say, Miss Grace, but truth is, I’m the reason you’re here,” Tituba stubbornly insisted.

“We’ll agree to disagree then,” Grace fondly told her.

Tituba smiled before asking, “How’s Mrs. Osbourne doing?”

Grace looked at the older woman. The wrinkles on her forehead were relaxed and jagged breaths had ceased. Mrs. Osbourne’s jaw was ajar and crimson blood stained her chin. Her pallid skin held a bluish tint as lice jumped between hosts.

A tear fell down Grace’s face as it appeared that Mrs. Osbourne had cheated the residents of Salem. The citizens would no longer be able to see a neck stretched for a false accusation; for she was in God’s embrace now.

Fall From Grace – Chapter 7

Standard

After fixing my computer I have been on something of a roll with my writing. Between writing an honest to goodness ghost story and working on Fall From Grace, I haven’t been short of  ideas.The question I have for you all though, is will Grace stoutly stand against those that would do her harm.

Without further ado, I give you Fall From Grace – Chapter 7.

 

Cold, wet stone dug into Grace’s back as she let out a nauseous moan. Her stomach churned as the scent of stale urine and rank feces permeated her nose. Every muscle screamed in stiff agony as her senses slowly returned. She tried to raise a cold hand to her face only to find that her hands were restrained next to her head. Her butt was numb and water came halfway up her hips as she languished in the dark puddle on the ground. She squinted as she tried to look up, only to find that her head could not rise more than half an inch. On one side of her Grace felt the rough stone cutting into cold skin; and the other a warm presence.

“Careful Miss Grace. The priest didn’t like what you told them and had you locked in the pillory,” Tituba thickly whispered. The swelling Grace had last seen was gone, though she was still covered with fading bruises.

“To be punished for avowing innocence is a crime frowned upon by God,” Grace whispered hoarsely through cracked lips.

“I fear our captors have little belief in innocence; and I don’t think they have the respect for God they should,” Tituba replied.

“Where are the others?”

“Mrs. Good and Mrs. Osbourne have been taken to the interrogators over at Ingersoll’s Tavern. That was early this morning, Miss. It’s nearing supper time now, I’ve not heard a souls whisper in hours so I’m not thinking supper’s gonna be arriving anytime soon.

“More have been accused since they questioned you,” Tituba fearfully blurted out.

“Who?”

“At least half a dozen in the last four days, Miss Grace. The affliction’s spreading and they say other children are doing the accusing now.”

“None in the community would dare turn their backs to God,” Grace insisted from her bowed position. The silence of the empty cell echoed around her voice.

“That’s not the rumors that are going around Miss Grace. People are saying it’s been awfully cold of late and that God was sending the cold as a way to punish sinners; rumor has it even the pastor thinks God is punishing him,” Tituba plaintively whispered.

“Hush now Tituba. There are always those who wish to call trouble upon others. As for our current situation we can only hope that mortal man can see what God clearly knows,” Grace tiredly informed as her chin hit the board.

“What if that’s not enough,” Tituba worried.

The only answer that Tituba received were the watery breaths that escaped Grace’s now bruised and sleeping form.

 

***

 

Grace jumped awake as a sharp sting struck her foot and thunder rumbled outside. The pillory didn’t allow her to raise her head as another sting raced through her foot. The sturdy leather shoes on her feet were not enough to numb yet another sting.

A flash of lightning silhouetted the narrow legs of a man in dark breeches his white stockings gave the man a supernatural appearance in the eery light. This time the sharp snap of a whip accompanied the sting on her feet. A quick glance around told Grace she was alone in the cell.

“Ow,” Grace whimpered as another lash struck her feet.

“Who else signed the Devil’s Book,” the male voice harshly snarled.
Though she could not raise her head Grace refused to sit there in shame. She may have been forced into the pillory, but the reason behind it was no fault of hers. She squared her shoulders as best she could before answering with a bowed head, “I, nor anyone else, have signed NO book.”

The darkened figure seemed to erupt in rage as he swung the whip once more. This time the leather cut into the soles of her sturdy shoes. Grace flinched in her seat and knocked her head against the pillory as fresh pain racked her foot.
A rolling crack of thunder covered Grace’s whimpers of pain.

“Name your conspirators,” he commanded.

A tear fell down Grace’s mud caked face as she gasped for air. As she was about to respond her mud encrusted face turned as pale as the moon. With no other warning, she spewed the bile in her stomach all over her urine soaked skirt.

As the bile was dripping from her mouth Grace spat, “The only crime being committed here is the disgrace that you are showing to women.”

“You lost any protections that your sex demands when you signed the Devil’s Book,” the man coldly informed.

“I signed no such book,” Grace stubbornly insisted.

Even though it was dark in the cell Grace could tell the man was shaking in rage. “Your protestations of innocence will do you no good. The children have seen you,” the man snarled as he cracked his whip once more.

This time, the man didn’t give Grace a chance to claim innocence. He continued to snap his whip delivering lancing sting after cutting lash to the bottom of her feet. Grace’s wails of pain were drowned in the downpour of rain outside her cell.

What Does November Mean To You?

Standard

 Describe November

To me November is crisp leaves of red and gold. It is the time when chill winds harrow colder seasons. A roaring fire and the promise of seeing long absent friends and family.

November is when seasons change and we meet the flu bug head on. When noses start to sniffle and icicles start to form.

November is visiting friends and family who willingly share what they have with you. November is when Nature calls us all home.