* I knew I should be writing, but I had borne up through a hard week and found myself nodding over my computer keyboard.
That changed when the doorbell rang.
I went to answer it, and saw a young girl standing outside my screen door, wringing her hands. I saw immediately that she was not from my time. She wore a long skirted outfit, complete with a frilly scarf draped down the front of her bodice to below her waist.
Her: Are you "Mom?"
Me: Several people call me that.
Her: Rulon says that's what you agreed would be acceptable.
Me: Rulon said so? Are you Mary?
(I certainly should have recognized her right away, but sometimes there things are tricky.)
Mary: Yes, I am Mary . . Owen.
Me: Come in, dear. You look a mite agitated.
Mary: Yes. (Her voice is so soft I have to strain to hear it.)
I opened the door and let her in, went through the amenities, and admired her scarf. She blushed.
Mary: It is to confuse to eye, you know. So folks won't . . .
Mary: Won't condemn me for being, you know, for increasing.
Me: Who would be so impolite as to cast aspersions on you? You're married, yes?
Mary: Some folks believe I'm too young for that.
Me: Isn't that between you and Rulon?
Mary, brightening: Rulon. Yes. (She rests a hand on her abdomen, smiling shyly.) But he is gone, you know.
Me: Off fighting. I do know.
Mary (hastily): But you won't make him die?
Me (shaking my head emphatically): No.
Mary, sighing: Thank you.
Me (not knowing what else to say): Are you well?
Mary: Yes. Very. Thank you. Except that . . .
Mary: I have lost something. (She is hanging her head now.)
Me: Rulon's letter?
Mary: Yes. I cannot find it anywhere. Please let me find it.
Me: Mary. Look at me. (She glances up.) You will come upon that letter in a while. Not tomorrow, but after a while.
Mary: But I will be able to read it?
Me: Of course. It will please you to do so.
Mary (rising) I don't know how to reward your generosity, ma'am.
Me: There's no need, dear. Just go play out your role and have a happy life. (I give her a hug)
Mary: Thank you, ma'am. Mom.
I watch as she moves cautiously away, down the ramp and onto the road, and then out of sight.
Copyright © 2014 Marsha Ward
*This is a work of fiction. I don't really talk to time-traveling characters from my
novels. I do like them a lot, though, and am glad they pass under the
rainbow from time to time to visit me in my own time and place. To order autographed copies of my novels, The Man from Shenandoah, Ride to Raton, Trail of Storms, and Spinster's Folly, visit my website at marshaward.com or Westward Books.