learn to run

May 30, 2010
By , snohomish, WA
Tuesday May 30, 1867



A young girl is sits in a field of wild grass. There is a slight breeze that is blowing loose strands of hair around her face. She is reading a very old book and trailing her fingers up and down her brown face. Her dress was plain and simple, but she looked stunning in it, it was a faded blue and she wore no shoes. She had dark, black hair that was held in a thick braid down her back. Her eyes where soft and brown shaped slightly slanted, this really brought out her high cheek bones and extenuated her natural beauty. There was only one flaw, the scar. It began at the corner of her left eye, and pulled down to the base of her chin. It was thick but faded with years.


Another girl, two or three years younger, stomps up the hill with her hands on her hips glaring at the other girl and commanded. “Mary! Get off you little ingine butt, your dinner is ready.” There was an awkward pause as the girl reading just slowly raises her head. “And get you nose our of my FATHERS books” the younger girl yelled as she walk away back towards their house. Mary had put up with that girl for so long that those kinds of things didn’t really affect her any longer. Actually no ones mocking really had an effect. She had listened to it for so many years; every thing really just lost its sting, its burn.

She stood up slowly, gathering a few books, an old worn diary and was very clear that she knew that the second she stepped into her house, she would regret leaving.

Sunday June 11, 1867

She walked into the church building with her eyes to the floor. It wasn’t that she was afraid of being mocked but that she was not welcome by anyone. Not one person talked to her. No one asked her how she was doing; no one even made eye contact. She wasn’t offended by it; she just didn’t want to be there.


When she left the building it looked as if thousands of pounds had been lifted off her shoulders. She walked down the street waiting for the opportunity when she can be free. Once she was well hidden by the trees she took off her shoes, and her bonnet. She took her hair out of the twisted bun and tied it into a braid that trailed down her back. She took a breath smelling the earth, the trees and the fresh air. She was finally home.


With the dirt between her toes, the breeze in her hair and her fingers brushing the trees, she was at peace. There were two things she used as an escape. Being free like this and reading where the two only things that she ever had really liked to do, actually it was the only thing that she could to. Even though she could read at a college level, people didn’t think that she should be educated because she was half Indian. Also because she almost never spoke, people thought that she was mentally stupid and didn’t know anything.

When Mary was a small baby her birth parents were killed. Her mother was killed because she gave birth to a white mans child. Her father was killed trying to protect her. She was adopted by a very wealthy family very soon after there death. They family had always supported and cared for her financially but there was always something missing in there relationship. They had never really talked to her; she was more a good deed to brag about. How they “took this poor, hopelessly stupid child into our home and cared for her” none of her family had ever bothered to get to know her. Her father had no idea that she could read. Andrew James was a professor at some college and was never home. When he was home he locked himself in the office in his library and read, studied or graded papers. His wife Elizabeth James was also rarely home. When she was home she was always in her green house or her tea room. When she had guests over they would sit in her tea room reading fashion magazines or gossiping about other high society members of the town. Mary knew that whenever her mother’s friends where over that she was to look her best and keep her mouth shut or she would be mocked, humiliated then possibly smacked, all in front of the women. When there was no good gossip, her mother told her friends terrible lies about how horrible life was with Mary. She would say that Mary would throw demonic fits. Her younger sister, Gracie wasn’t any better either. Gracie would bit and scratch her own arms then blame it on Mary. This was a blessing though because it got
Mary out of sharing a bedroom with Gracie.

Saturday June 2, 1867
The whole house would ignore Mary for days. A first she felt sad and abandoned, but later she began to love the days when she could wander the town, and the hills outside it with out someone telling her what to do. She loved the freedom and didn’t really care, but it would never last long because as soon as some one seen her walking about the town and it got back to her mother, she would be locked in her bedroom for days

Her bedroom was amazing. It was on the third story of their ridiculously large white town house. It wasn’t really a bedroom it was more of a loft. No one ever went up there, so she always had a place to o where she could be alone. The only problem was that to get up, you had to pull down a latter from the ceiling. The bedroom was very long and about twelve feet wide. The room was furnished with everyone’s hand me downs. Her bed spread had belonged to an older daughter of her parents that Mary had never met. The bed is oak and was once very expensive. There was even an older trunk at the base of the bed that had belonged to some ones grandmother. At the other end of the room was a table that was very old and had been chewed on by her sister’s dog when he was a puppy. Over this table was a hand stitched quilt a cook had left behind several years back. On the table was an old wide and shallow bowl that she used for a basin. On the opposite side was a tall three or four gallon glass jar, at the bottom was a spicket that hung just over the table so she could use it to fill up her basin. Next to the table was a wardrobe that held a great selection of dresses. That was the only thing that her mother had even cared about. The way she looked was the only thing that had ever mattered. Mary had no idea how the clothes got there. They would just appear on the chair next to the place where the latter pulled out from.
Thursday June 24, 1867

Mary loved a schedule. She loved having daily patterns and organizing her days in to routine. She woke up every morning just before the sun rose, made her bed and got dressed. She was always the first one up and she could walk downstairs and to her father’s library and get her books for the day. The library had deep brown wood floors and deep burgundy rugs and drapes. There was two over stuffed arm chairs in the corner that looked as if they have never been sat in. there was so many books it was hard to choose there was maybe two thousand different books. There where every topic and language imaginable.


She grabbed two books and some other things and headed towards the grass hill. As soon as she got there she began to take notes in a leather notebook.





On August seventh 1867, Mary Elizabeth James’s family was killed in a fire started by a candle falling on the ground floor of there home in Mississippi. The fire was started early in the morning when the family was eating breakfast on the second floor and didn’t have time to escape. The only survivor was Mary. Mary James at eighteen years was left with the family’s fortune. She sold what was left of the house, moved to England where she went to college. She fell in love and was married before she turned twenty. She lived a happy wealthy life.

Sometimes you have to run from things to find your escape.





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