Monday, August 08, 2005

 

the child, eighty-eight


Lucy was strangely quiet all day long. Supper was finished and evening breezes were beginning to play, when she stood up before them all. 'I need to say something. I...' She looked around at the faces of her ten companions, hesitated, then blurted, 'I'm sorry. I have been rude, and mean, and heartless, and superior. And I am sorry. I'm especially sorry to you, Starr.' She came over to where Starr was sitting, then knelt down before her and looked up into Starr's face. 'I've been hateful to you,' she whispered. 'Ever since you tried to talk to me about love. I... I thought you were acting like you were better than me. That you were saying that you were loving, and I wasn't. And I got angry.' She snorted. 'And do you know what? It wound up, you were loving. And I certainly wasn't!'

She glanced at Stone. 'It took seeing him carry you in, all bloody,' she said, 'to break my proud heart. I'm sorry, Starr. I'm so very sorry.'

Starr slipped from her seat and knelt with her, wrapping her arms around Lucy. 'I forgive,' she said gently, gladly.

'Thank you,' Lucy returned. Then, clearing her throat, she rose to her feet. 'Linda,' she began. But her voice broke down.

She tried again. 'Lin...' But still she couldn't quite speak.

Linda sprang to her feet, and hurried to her side. Embracing the proud woman, Linda said gently, 'It's all right, Lucy. It's all right.'

'But it isn't all right,' Lucy insisted, the tears now beginning to flow.

'No, I suppose you're right, Lucy. It isn't all right.' Linda leaned back and looked Lucy straight in the eye. 'At least, it wasn't all right - till now. But now,' she added, 'now - we wipe out all the past. It's forgiven, and it's gone. Thanks to the Master, and his sacrifice for us. Now we start over, clean and fresh.' She paused, and then with a twinkle in her eye, she added, 'Sis.'

Lucy's eyes sprang wide at that last word. 'Sis,' she repeated. And smiled tentatively. 'Yes. Sis. That's what we are.' Her smile broadened. 'My sister,' she said. And embraced Linda - really embraced her - for the very first time.

There wasn't a dry eye in the camp.

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