5
min

Annabelles Harvest

Image of Heidi

Heidi

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Freedom-her hearts cry as she ran through the lavender fields. Joy, flowing freely behind like a translucent robe flowing with the wind. A smile spread across her face causing her cheeks to ache.
Holding out her hands as she ran-her nostrils filled with aroma, her taste buds tingled with the taste of rich purple.
The calm created by the scent-faded.
Replaced by foreboding-turning slightly..
Evie shot to a sitting position- sweating, her eyes adjusted to the dark, she was dreaming.
Evie rubbed her eyes and ran her hands through her knotted hair.
I need coffee..
Slipping her legs over the side of the bed, found her bedroom slippers and made her way to the kitchen.
Evie walked to the bay window facing east, just in time to watch the sun come up.
She pushed the window open and took in a deep breath as she scanned the horizon.
Coffee in hand she stepped onto the front porch, the morning breeze was heaven.
A tufted titmouse flew by, it’s wing nearly brushing her arm. The morning quickly fading, Evie walked into the mud changed into her work clothes, grabbed the keys to the tractor and stepped out the door.
Going over the to-do list in her mind, feed chickens, plow the field, in that order. Evie stopped, taking in the surroundings, open fields and animals she was overwhelmed with gratitude. Reaching to the right opening the metal can that held the chicken scratch and threw some at her feet for the birds.
The sirens she heard in the distance made her jump—she took in a sharp breath.
Evie was taken back to that horrific day when her seemingly perfect life changed.
It was as if she could see everything that day unfold..
She watched... blow after blow..... in the face from angry fists of one who was supposed to love her. Kicks from boot covered feet, that used to intertwine with hers so long ago
She watched, it was like slow motion, she turned her head to shield her face--that’s when she saw the stock of the gun beneath the comforter brushing the floor. While he was focused on making certain he drew back his leg at the perfect angle, so it would bring a productive blow. She felt his foot as it slammed against the pregnant stomach that protruded from her shirt.
Evie watched as she pulled the gun clumsily from its hiding place, aiming it the best she could, blood from her head running into her eyes. Through her blurry vision, without another thought it happened, she flexed her pointer finger, it was over.
She shifted her gaze around the bedroom, taking in the painted pale yellow walls, the antique wrought iron bed frame. It had belonged to his great grandmother. Sitting on the beige carpet now covered with multi-colored glass from two lamps that lay broken.
The gun heavy in her hands, her ears vibrating from the boom that ricocheted as the shot had been fired.
His blood soaking into the glass covered carpet.
She picked up the phone dialing 911—it was the last thing she remembered.
Evie woke up in an ambulance, she answered questions that came from every direction the best she could. Mostly she sat confused, covered in blood and distraught. Her protruding belly was now still and she could no longer feel the life of the beautiful-loved-and anticipated child moving inside of her.
Pulled back to reality by Tony, her orange tabby cat brushing against her legs. Thankful she had been rescued from the thoughts, they threatened to devour every shred of courage and sanity she had worked so hard to regain.
Evie wiped away the tears of loss wishing she could as easily wipe away the memories of the day everything changed.
Like dominos the memories began playing like a movie....
Evie had spent two weeks in the hospital, she still had the scars, bruises, and the loss of her unborn child-- Annabelle, as evidence of the abuse that had led to the day she killed her husband.
She had little strength or desire left to try and fight the accusations and charges, pleading guilty of manslaughter she spent five years in a minimum security women’s prison. Evie kept to herself worked hard made very few friends awaiting the possibility of parole.
Three weeks ago that day came, Evie exchanged her jail attire for the clothes she was wearing when she was arrested, what little possessions she had handed to her in a paper bag, and just like that-she walked out the door.
Evie withdrew all of the savings she had in the bank taking a portion of it to purchase a bus ticket to a random small town picked from a map in rural North Carolina.
From that moment on Evie set her heart on trying to forget those things behind and to look forward to what was ahead.
She could not help but look back over the last years of her life, so much had changed. Most of it too difficult and too painful for any human to have to endure but it is also where she found the courage to carry on. It was where she found the truth that saved her life.
Evie would never forget the day Sylvia walked into the prison common area. The energy she radiated was tangible--in her early 60’s, tall with silver hair, dressed comfortably in jeans and a button down flowered blouse.
As she stepped through the doorway it was difficult to not notice her, a basket of goodies and a bright purple tote in hand she quietly commanded the room. Evie remembered watching her saunter to the corner of the common area already prepared with chairs in a circle and take a seat.
One after another women made their way to the corner and filled the rest of the circle. Observing for a moment she decided she would move closer.
Watching women from different backgrounds, colors, shapes, and sizes carrying varying emotional and physical baggage, were drawn in by the kind, love soaked words, coming from the woman she now knew as Sylvia.
That day, Evie listened from outside the circle, but in the weeks to follow, Evie joined the women who she now called friends.
They laughed and cried together talking and listening for hours as Sylvia poured love and life into each woman.
Sylvia would sit and answer question after question, engage with each one as if they were the only person before her and pray with the growing circle of women.
Always without pretense or expectation of receiving anything in return. Sylvia taught them to slowly exchange their painful- disappointing-shame filled lives for the message of hope she shared each week.
The unconditional love Sylvia poured into each woman week after week is what kept Evie from drowning in the despair and loneliness of her situation.
Sylvia became a mentor-a sounding board and advocate for Evie to put the past behind and start a fresh life somewhere building the dreams that had come alive for the future.
Feeling hope take charge she opened the barn walked toward the tractor, after checking to see if it had gas in the tank and topping off the oil she climbed into the seat and set out to the field closest to the house.
Evie never once thought of herself as anyone or anything special.
Each human living on planet Earth has had unexpected-painful unfair things happen to them.
Evie knew she was one of the lucky ones.
Evie vowed the day she walked out of the prison she would be voice for the voiceless and she would honor the unborn daughter she never got to hold.....
Annabelle.....
Wiping the tears from her cheeks she dropped the plow into the earth still damp with morning dew the breaking up of the fallow ground was the first of many challenges. Evie would face head on each one and she would see much fruit come from the many sorrows she had endured.
“Annabelle’s harvest” would open in just three shorts months just in time for fall festivities.
Evie envisioned the fields of pumpkins and mums she would soon harvest. She imagined scores of people from the community who would come, not only her beautiful creations, but more importantly to hear her story of hope and have their own courage built up to live in the face of whatever their circumstances held.
It was a brand new chapter and Evie’s life was full of endless possibilities.

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