The Heart Shaped Stone

One day, 100 years ago there lived a family. This particular family consisted of a Mother, and a Father. The mother’s name was Ethel and the father’s name was Charles. They both wanted a child dearly, but winter was coming, and this was not a time to raise a child, what with frozen crops, plugged canals, and almost all of the animals would hibernating, so they would have to live off of measly little quail. Anyone who knew Ethel knew that she was a warm- hearted sprit that would never lie. But she had kept something from Charles; she had been pregnant, for 3 months now. But how could she tell him? they had already agreed not to have a child until the winter was over. Of course they would both love the child a great deal, but what if they had to give it up, to a better family with more money?
On the 22nd day of the month, Charles grew very ill. Ethel had yelled to the town Doctor, he would be there soon. When Doctor William was done examining Charles, he told Ethel what was wrong. “Mrs. Jones” he said, “I am so terribly sorry, I am afraid that Charles has come down with the Plague.” After the Doctor left, Ethel went to Charles’ bed knelt beside him and softly wept. He heard her cry and with a weak breath, said “My love, what is wrong, how long do I have” Ethel broke into tears and said, “a lifetime.” Right then and there Charles took his last breath, saw his last vision of his wife and joined the angels in Heaven above.
***
It had been years since Charles died, a lot had changed. Ethel gave birth to a beautiful, darling girl named Claire. Claire had just begun school at Winchester’s Academy for Girls. She was the youngest girl in her class and also the most beautiful. Perhaps that is why most of the girls in her class picked on her so, that and growing up penniless and without a father.
During sewing class, some on the girls made her prick herself by putting a needle on her chair. Some girls called her an ugly rag doll because of what she wore to school. Claire was hurt. She had never been treated this way before. Yes, she knew she was different. She had grown up working on the farm with her mother trying to make ends meet. But Claire had always gotten along with everyone she had ever met…until now.
One day at lunch, Claire was eating alone on a quilt under the apple tree in the school yard when two girls, Emilee and Meagan Wenndlekin appeared. They had a smile on their face and approached Claire slowly. Claire was not sure what they were up to, but she was sure it was nothing good. As they got closer, Claire could see that they had a bucket of water from the well behind them. They came to the edge of the blanket and chanted to Claire, “Dirty farm girl, here is some water to clean yourself”. They threw the water in her face and soaked her, clothes and all. After the shock of the water wore off, Claire looked down to assess the damage. Her outfit was soaked, the quilt was too. She looked at her lunch pail and noticed the standing water. Her lunch was ruined! The biscuits her mother had made in the morning were nothing but mush. This was too much for Claire to bear. She knew her mother was going without food during the day so she would be able to eat lunch and now, now it was ruined.
She got up and ran. She ran out of the school yard and kept running. She ran past the mill and to the end of town. Claire wasn’t sure where she was running to but she kept going. Claire had a sob in her throat. She could hardly breathe. Claire ran into the woods. She kept going. As she ran she kept thinking about her mother, their life and the father she had never met. Claire ran until she noticed a stream ahead of her. She walked over to the stream and looked down into the water. She saw her reflection. She looked hideous. Her hair was a mess with twigs and pine needles galore. The girls were right. She was nothing more than just an ugly farm girl. As Claire was thinking these thoughts, a wind came out of nowhere. She looked around and then back down into the water. The reflection that had been there was different. Claire wasn’t sure what was happening but she kept looking into the water. At that moment the reflection became clear. The reflection was that of a man. A man she had only seen in a picture her mother kept on the mantle. A man she was told was her father. “Father!”, Claire said. As Claire was looking at the reflection with grief and longing, the reflection began speaking to her in a calm, reassuring voice. “Daughter, lovely Claire. Don’t cry. Mind my words and you shall feel better. Things will work out. Keep your chin up high and your shoulders back. For those girls are jealous.” Claire responded, “But father, how can you be sure, for maybe those girls are right. Just look at my reflection, twigs in my hair, bags under my eyes.” “Claire, you are beautiful inside and out, just like your mother. I know it is hard, but times will get better. You are my daughter and you are special. Let no one make you feel less than you are. I love you Claire and I am always with you. I will be with you for a lifetime. See the stone at the edge of the water? The flat one in the shape of a heart? Take that stone and keep it with you. This stone will help you weather the hard times and remind you of my love for you for always.” Claire looked around and found the stone, the one her father mentioned. She picked it up, rubbed it between her fingers. It was smooth and cool. She looked back down into the water and the reflection had changed again. Claire was now looking at her own reflection. Yes, she had twigs in her hair and bags under her eyes, but something had changed. She had a smile on her face. Something special and magical had happened to her and now she knew she could handle the girls at school, her life on the farm and best of all, she had met her father.
Claire got up, fixed her hair and her dress and began the long walk back to school with a new outlook on life and a heartshaped stone in her pocket.
After that day, anytime Claire had a hard time or was just feeling lonely, she would put her hand into her pocket, rub the smooth heartshaped stone and remember the day that she had met her father. Everything always turned out alright from that day forward. From time to time as Claire would look at her reflection she could hear a soft voice whispering to her “Believe in yourself Claire, for that is what matters most!”





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elisabethphoenix said...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 4:27 pm
question: how did your name arise? we share the same name and the story behind mine seems nonsensical to me..haha and i liked this :)
 
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