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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

chapter 5

Hello! I'm posting chapter 5 here! Hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday!

5Here to There
    By the time they were to leave for Peru, Rachel was practically a new person. She was not the pale girl in extremely ugly clothes anymore. She had a nice tan from working on the school, she was learning how to style her hair, and she was wearing normal clothing. She fell in love with flip flops in Bolivia. They called them “chinelas” and she bought several pairs in bright colors. It was a little sad for her to say good-bye to her team mates in Santa Cruz. She had become good friends with most of them; especially Mi Ling. “Thanks for helping me so much. I am, um, going through a difficult time in my life,” she told her. Mi Ling hugged her and said good-bye.
    She and Scott flew out the same day. It was really weird being alone with him, but she decided to just focus on their assignment. They settled into a hotel in Lima and then went out for dinner together. That was very awkward as well. The next day they found out that the incoming team was delayed and would not arrive for another day. Scott came to her room later that evening and handed her a letter, “This just came from the main office.” She took the letter and went out to the lobby to read. She liked the soothing fountain and the large sofas. She ripped open the envelope and saw that it was a letter from Franklin.
“Dear Rachel, Thank you for your letter. I am doing well. I sold my office and am now working from home. Nice and comfy in my p.j.’s. I hope you know that it is my joy to support you and your new life. You are like a daughter to me. You can continue to travel with HtW until you decide you want to do something else. I will support you no matter what you decide. You are a good girl, Rachel.
I suppose I ought to be the bearer of news from your home as well. Your brothers stopped coming to look for you a couple of days after you left. They haven’t filed a missing persons report either. I guess that’s all there is to tell you.
Keep it up, girlie! Love, Franklin”
Her eyes were full of tears as she finished his letter. Partly, she was so thankful for Franklin and missed him; and partly she knew in her heart that her family had already written her off. She was now dead to them, like she never existed. It hurt deeply that they only cared about their own reputation, not that their daughter was gone. Scott came upon her in her tears. He sat down next to her and put his hand on her shoulder. He stroked her hair lightly with his finger tips. “What’s wrong, Rachel? Do you want to talk about it?” he asked. “Well, it’s a super long story, I’m not sure you want to hear all of it,” she replied, trying desperately to regain her composure. “Let’s go get dinner and you can tell me the whole story then,” he said. His eyes said he was completely genuine, so she followed him to the restaurant and prepared to tell him everything. “I’m glad to see you eat well. I can’t stand girls who pick at their food like chickens,” he said trying to lighten her mood. After she had eaten half of her supper, she began to tell him her life story. He sat quietly eating, but making sure that she knew he was listening. She finished her tale after they had scraped the last of the dessert off of their plates. He sat back and smiled at her. “Rachel, I want you to know that I care about you also. I will not desert you or leave you hanging. I’m going to do my best to keep you in HtW as long as possible because you are a wonderful asset to the organization.” She bowed her head shyly, but soon looked up and said, “Thank you so much. I’ve been so fortunate to find people who have helped me with my new life.” They passed a small plaza on their way back to the hotel and she thought about sitting for a while-until she noticed the number of amorous couples making use of the dimly lit park. Embarrassed, she turned quickly to catch up with Scott.
    The Peru team showed up on time the next day and Rachel helped Scott get them checked into the hotel. They were refurbishing a school a few blocks away from the hotel, so they could walk to their jobs every day. Rachel loved Lima. It was an exciting city; yet had a laid back Latin vibe. She was picking up more Spanish and continued to study with a book she had gotten from Scott. The Peru team was only going to work for two weeks and so they had a lot to accomplish in that time period. They worked later since they were so close to the hotel. Rachel was so happy that her room had a bath tub. She had long warm soaks at night to soothe her achy body. Painting for hours on end had its repercussions. She didn’t get to know the team very well since it was such a short assignment. She did borrow a couple of books from some of the travelers. Rachel decided she would have to always ask team members what they had brought to read on the plane. She was ravenous for reading anything and everything. She had twenty one years of culture to catch up on. She found herself becoming much more confident and no longer thought about Platzville and what it thought of her. The day came all too quickly to see off the team at the airport. Once again, she had no idea what to do, but she wasn’t worried.
    As they left the airport to go back to the hotel, Scott reached up and touched her pony tail. “I guess I should tell you where we are going next, shouldn’t I?” She thought quickly about how many times he had touched her hair in the past two weeks. “Must just be a friendly gesture,” she thought. “Well, we will be in Honduras tomorrow. Be prepared for a sad job. We are going to rebuild homes for hurricane victims,” he explained. She had to really think about the few times she had seen a map in her life to remember where Honduras was. She tried to imagine having her home swept away by torrential waves and winds. She closed her eyes and thought of having to leave her own home, not knowing where she was going or where she would live. So, in a very small way she could relate to these people. The cab driver jerked the car around a corner, bringing her out of her deep thoughts. As they reached the hotel Scott asked her if she would like to walk down to the beach. “Sure! I’ve never even seen the ocean up close before,” she said. She then thought she probably should not have revealed so much of her lack of worldly experience. He smiled and batted her pony tail, “Let’s go see the ocean up close, then.” She blushed and lowered her face to hide it. They talked casually on the way to the beach and Rachel began to think that he reminded her of Roy. It was like talking to a big brother and she felt comfortable with him. At least that is what she convinced herself. Any other feelings had been so strictly forbidden her whole life that she was afraid to even consider them.  The beach was beautiful and she felt breathless at the sights and sounds of the ocean. Scott allowed her to take it all in without interruption. He wanted to put his arm around her as they stared out at the waves together, but was afraid of scaring her and kept his hands to himself.
    The following morning she slept in and was jolted awake by a knocking on her door. She ran to the door and found Scott. He was quite amused that he had caught her sleeping. “Time to go, sleepyhead,” he said with a mischievous grin. “Ok, I’ll be ready in ten minutes,” she said hastily. She packed and dressed frantically and then paused to look around the room. “I really like it here,” she thought as she opened the door and headed for the stairs. Scott was waiting out front with a taxi. She put her things in the trunk and then joined him in the back seat. He smiled and handed her a pastry and a cup of coffee. “Oh goodness! Thanks! I completely forgot about breakfast,” she said. “No problem, have to keep my workers fed,” he joked and then batted her pony tail as he did so often. As it turned out their flight was delayed giving them plenty of time for breakfast in the terminal. Rachel just sat and read a book and Scott walked around wiling away the time. The seats were small in the plane made for South Americans. Rachel felt like she was practically sitting in Scott’s lap for the trip to Tegucigalpa. It was a long flight and she wished that she had more material to read. Scott seemed to sense her quandary and pulled an e-book reader out of his bag. He showed her how to use it and the list of books he had downloaded. This was better than a million dollars to her and she read with a big smile on her face for the rest of their flight. She was wishing she didn’t have to return that little rectangle of gold when they pulled into the gate at the Honduran airport. Again he read her mind and said, “Keep it, I’ve read everything in there anyway.” She wanted to hug him, but simply told him, “Thanks.”
       They checked into their hotel, where they would only be staying one night. Scott spent an hour at the front desk trying to arrange for a bus to pick up the team and drive them all the way to Palacios for their assignment. He was wishing that Rachel had stayed with him to help out with Spanish. Finally an arrangement was made and he trudged up the stairs to his room. He stopped by Rachel’s room and knocked. She came promptly to the door, her long hair loose around her shoulders. He wanted to touch it, but thought he had better not. “Tomorrow we need to be down at the airport at nine to meet the team. So, you need to be downstairs at eight. Ok?” he asked. She nodded and smiled. “Oh, I guess we should go get some supper in a minute. It kind of slipped my mind. I’ll come back for you in fifteen minutes.” With that he turned and hurried off to his room. She finished brushing her hair and put it back up in a pony tail. She looked into the mirror and decided she needed to change things up a little. She took down her hair again and just pulled back a little bit. She clipped it at the back of her head and let the rest of her hair lay long on her back. As soon as she was satisfied with her adventure into variety, she put on her flip flops and waited for Scott. He was there when he said he would be. He stared a moment at her hair and then they headed off to find a good meal. They were both tired and went to bed after returning to the hotel.
    At seven in the morning, Rachel was already dressed and packed. She went downstairs to see if they had any coffee and bread. She sat at a small café table and drank the strong coffee and ate sweet bread. Scott came down and joined her. They smiled at each other, but didn’t say anything. Neither one of them was a morning person and preferred respectful silence until after the coffee had taken affect. They were both ready to go to the airport early and had to wait around in the lobby for the bus. The driver was nearly a half hour late and Scott was not happy. He hoped this was not a premonition of what was to come. They did eventually make it to the airport just in time to see their new team come through customs. A familiar face was in the group and Scott sighed, “Oh no, it’s Lisa. She will spend the next four weeks trying to get me to propose to her.” Rachel just giggled; she didn’t know what else to do. They directed the new group toward the bus and it’s extremely relaxed driver. They were to drive directly from the airport to Palacios. It would be a long trip and Scott didn’t want to get stuck next to Lisa; who had already become his smiling shadow. He grabbed Rachel by the arm and said loudly, “You have to sit with me. We, uh, need to talk about the assignment.” Rachel whispered jokingly, “Are you sure you don’t want to sit with her?” He furrowed his brow and said, “Not funny!” With all of the luggage and people, the small tour bus was crowded. Rachel wanted the window seat, but Scott took it before she could sit down. Once on their way, he discussed a few matters about their assignment and then put all his papers in his backpack. It appeared he hadn’t really needed to talk about anything, but needed the excuse to have Rachel sit with him. A big tall fellow from Texas leaned across the aisle and asked Rachel, “Are ya’ll married?” She shook her head. He grinned and said, “Ok, good.” She wondered what on earth that was about, but thought it wise not to ask him. Midway to Palacios her early rising caught up with her and she fell asleep. When she woke again they were almost there and her head was on Scott’s shoulder. “Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize my head had fallen on you,” she lamented. He just laughed at her embarrassment and told her it was fine.
    Palacios was hot and sticky, and everyday it threatened rain. They worked hard rebuilding two homes hit by a hurricane. Rachel had thought she was prepared for this, but it was much more heart wrenching than she had imagined. Children stood in rags in the mud that was as far as she could see. There were no clean asphalt roads; or even gravel. Everything was muddy and the emotional climate seemed to match the mud. Hundreds of families were homeless and had absolutely no hope of rebuilding their lives. She spent many days crying while she worked. The Texan was all too willing to comfort her, but she tried her best to deter him. In this state of emotional upheaval, she had no interest in bonding with anyone of the opposite sex. She continued to work hard and prayed hard for people to come and help this forlorn country.
     Poor Scott had his own problems. Lisa hounded him like Beagles on foxes. She insisted on helping him at all times. She bought him gifts and tried her best to win his affection. She flirted and dressed in a way that left him with no doubt as to her desires. Rachel was trying her best to not think harshly of Lisa, but it was difficult because she was so driven by her goal. Finally after over two weeks, Scott had enough. He found Rachel and told her his plan to discourage Lisa, “Rachel, I really need you to help me. Lisa is driving me insane. I…I have tried everything I normally do, but nothing is working. We need to try to convince her that you are my girlfriend without us actually saying it. Ok, here she comes. I’m going to put my arm around you like this and I want you to look up at me and smile.” He put his arm around her waist and gripped her side with his left hand. He pulled her close to him. Her shoulder was so tight against his chest that she could feel his heart pounding. “Why is your heart beating so fast?” she whispered while obediently looking into his face. His eyes darted momentarily and then he replied, “You have that effect on me.” He smiled and she felt butterflies flipping around in her stomach. Lisa walked up with her hands on her hips. Scott pulled Rachel to face him; thus making a barrier between him and Lisa. She uttered an “UH!” and then walked away. Scott held Rachel until he was sure that Lisa was out of sight. “Well, I think that might work. Thank you so much. You’re the best,” he said and then released her. “You are welcome. I think,” she replied. “What does he mean I have that effect on him?” she thought as she walked away a bit light-headed. She had to convince herself that it was just business and nothing happened between them. “I’m just helping him with Lisa, that’s all,” she told herself. The rest of the assignment he would put his arm around her or stroke her hair if Lisa was anywhere around. Their charade actually served two purposes: Lisa left Scott alone and the Texan left Rachel alone. Scott would tease her about the Texan when no one was around, but she got the impression he didn’t want the guy to be with her.
    At the close of four weeks they had completed two homes, but hardly put a dent in the number of families who still needed them. They had done all that they could do and two families were exuberant to occupy their new homes. Scott and Rachel both were very tired and ready for a break. It was fortunate that it was time for them to check in at the home office in Miami. “Let’s go to the U.S. What do you say?” he teased Rachel as they boarded the plane to Miami.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday and chapter 4, book 2

Hey friends! I know I've made you wait a lot for each chapter of this one, but I'm hoping everyone is being patient with me. Raising and homeschooling 3 girlies is a full time occupation, let me tell ya! I love how my girlies want to learn all the time, but it keeps me on my toes. I have lots of "I have no idea" moments! haha! We took the girls to the beach yesterday and they all got stung by jellyfish. My youngest got it the worst and was crying loudly for at least half an hour. Oh yes, such a pleasant afternoon at the beach!! I gave her a vinegar bath when we got home and all's well this morning. They will have awesome stories to tell their friends. Anyway, here is chapter 4:

    The night before her last bread run, she packed a small backpack with essentials and hid it in David’s truck with her bread crates. She told one of her little sisters that she should take care of the rabbits while she was in town. Her sister was happy and was oblivious that she meant the rabbits were now hers. She hardly slept most of the night. Her adrenaline was in high gear in anticipation of the day ahead of her. She ate a hearty breakfast, not knowing what her meals would be like the rest of the day. She wondered if she should make a point to say good bye to her parents more than usual. Rachel decided normal was the way to go. So she simply said, “Bye Mama. Bye Dad.” And that was it. On the drive to Morristown, Rachel suddenly wished she hadn’t eaten so much. Her stomach was starting to do flips as they got closer to town. “Rachel, I’m gonna go with the hunting shop guy to see a ranch while you are busy. Don’t tell Dad, ok?” he said out of the blue. Rachel’s mouth dropped. That would give her more than enough time to sell all of the bread and get back to Franklin’s office to make her great escape. “Oh, ok,” she said.
    When they arrived on Main Street, David parked his truck and then ran over to his beloved hunting shop. Rachel stood beside the truck for a few minutes and then whispered, “Good bye, David. I’m glad you are happy today.” She took her time selling the bread. She didn’t tell any of her customers that this would be her last week. It would be too risky. She took her basket back to David’s truck with the bread money tucked safely inside. She stuffed her purse into her backpack and headed up to Franklin’s office. She was so nervous that she was shaking. She felt the eyes of her whole family on her back as she approached the door. “I just have to think about the good things that I am going to do with my life,” she thought. As soon as she was inside, Franklin hopped up and flipped his closed sign to the front and locked the door. He took out a vinyl folder with all of her documents, passport, and tickets inside. “Alright, let’s head out the back door. We’ve got to get to the airport and I’ll give you all your instructions on the way,” he said. They hurried out to the alley and then to the lot where Franklin’s car was parked. Before he even started the car, he began to speak about what was ahead of her. “Ok, listen carefully, Rachel. Everything is going to be fine. I’ve bought you this cell phone. It’s a pay as you go model; so you can add more minutes when you need them. My number is the only one programmed into the phone. Just push the down arrow and then push send. Call me when you get to Miami. Ok?” She nodded and was already starting to feel overwhelmed. He continued, “The lady at the ticket counter will give you all of your boarding passes all the way to Bolivia. You might need to check your backpack in if you have shampoo and stuff like that in there. They’ll tell you everything you need to know about flying at the airport; so I don’t really need to go into all of that. When you get to Miami, find terminal D and gate 23. That is where your Help the World team will be waiting for you. I’m sure you will find them ok.” He went through a few more instructions as they parked at the airport. The thought of money suddenly hit her, “Franklin, what about money? Did you have to spend all of the money for these tickets? I don’t know what I will need down there.” “Don’t worry, you have plenty,” he lied to her. He had actually paid for it all out of his pocket. He handed her a fat envelope of cash. “Guard this, Rachel, there are lots of bad people out there,” he told her. He walked her to the ticket counter and helped her get all her boarding passes. She took her purse out of her backpack and they checked the backpack. She hugged Franklin and began to cry. He had been more of a loving father to her in the past few months than her real father had been her whole life. “I just can’t thank you enough for this,” she said. “There, there, it’s not a problem. You go catch your flight and call me as often as you like.” He tried not to tear up as well as he steered her toward the security check point.
   Rachel felt like she was in a fog, but she managed to find the right gate and board her plane on time. She suddenly felt very tired and the roar of the engines put her to sleep. She wished she hadn’t missed so much of her first flight ever, but was thankful for a little rest. Everything was so new to her; she had to contain herself so she didn’t appear to be a giddy child. As the plane descended into Miami she was hit with being even more overwhelmed. She had never seen such a large city. The airport felt like a whole new country. There were so many ethnicities that Rachel didn’t even know existed. She heard languages from all over the world. It was all a cacophony of noise around her. She was completely terrified. She wished she could just crawl into a closet and recover, but there was no time. She became focused on finding her group. She was glad that there were signs everywhere to help her find the right terminal and gate. “What if I don’t know what people are in my group?” she worried as she approached the gate. She was soon relieved, however, when she saw a group of ten people with bright, lime green t-shirts with large Help the World logos on them. She saw a girl with a tablet who looked a little bit in charge and so she spoke to her. “Hi, I’m Rachel Muller. I’m in this group. I think.” The Asian woman looked up and Rachel nearly choked when she saw that she had a nose ring. “Hey Rach, great to meet you! We were wondering when you were going to get here. I’m Mi Ling and don’t call me Miley,” she said. Of course, Rachel was completely lost on the pop star name drop, but she was glad that Mi Ling was so friendly. She handed Rachel one of the lime green t-shirts. Rachel excused herself and went to the bathroom. She looked in the mirror and felt very self conscious. She stuck out like a sore thumb. The wrinkly white head covering, the ugly green dress and apron, yucky socks, and brown shoes made her feel like a frog with a leaf on her head. She tore off her head covering and stuffed it in her purse. She took her hair out of the bun and put it in a loose pony tail. Then she took off her blouse and put on the t-shirt. It looked atrocious with her ugly green skirt, but she didn’t have any choice. She slipped into a pair of sandals she had put in her purse and stood back to scrutinize her new look. It didn’t matter what she thought really, because her other clothes were already on the airplane. She stepped out of the bathroom and took out the cell phone. She dialed Franklin and waited. He answered and was very happy she called. He wanted to know all about her flight and whether she had met her group or not. She gave him as many details as she could. Her flight started boarding, so she had to hang up. “I’ll call you when I can,” she said. “Rachel, you need to know that your brothers were up here looking all over Main Street today. They did not look happy, but they didn’t even come here to talk to me. I guess your brother never paid attention where you went. Don’t worry, it will all be ok. Good bye, Rachel,” he said and then hung up. She felt sick to her stomach as she went to join her group to board the plane. “Everything ok?” Mi Ling asked her. She nodded and weakly smiled.
    The flight from Miami to Santa Cruz, Bolivia was overnight. Rachel tried her best to sleep, but it was all too exciting. Consequently, she was exhausted when they arrived and went through customs. Her group stared at her as she picked up her backpack and moved toward the exit. “Is that all you brought?” Mi Ling asked her. “Um, yeah, I was kind of in a hurry when I had to pack,” she said timidly. “Well, we will have a couple of days before we head out to the jungle. You could probably buy a few things,” Mi Ling told her. They went out into the waiting area and saw a guy with a big poster that had the HtW logo on it. He introduced himself as Scott Fillman and he would be their leader for the next few weeks. They all loaded into a Japanese tour bus and headed toward Santa Cruz, the largest city in Bolivia. Scott checked them all into a hotel downtown. He was all business and obviously did not believe in fraternizing with group members. That was ok with Rachel; she needed to acclimate slowly to all the changes in her life. She had major culture shock from the world outside her farm; much less the world outside of her country. She found a girl in the group who spoke some Spanish and asked her to go shopping. Even shopping was overwhelming. She had never bought clothes before. Everything she owned was homemade. She was too shy to ask her translator for help. Just when she was going to give up, Mi Ling found her. “Could you please help me? I’m a little naïve when it comes to buying clothes; as you can see,” she pleaded. Mi Ling helped her pick out some pants, shorts, and a few shirts. She bought a bigger bag to hold her clothes. Back in her hotel room, she stuffed all of her plain clothes from Platzville to the bottom of her bag. Next, she found a salon on her own and had her hair cut to her mid-back. It had been down to her knees most of her life. That was not practical for her new life. She felt a little more prepared when she returned to the hotel. She was exhausted and took a long nap. That night, Scott took them out for a Churrasco, a famous feast of grilled meats, cheese rice, tomato and onion salad, and fried plantain. Over dinner he explained their assignment and what they would be accomplishing in the next four weeks. She felt herself slipping into Muller judgment while watching the girls in her group slobbering over Scott. She physically shook her head and told herself, “No, I will not judge anyone. My convictions are not for everyone. Besides, I don’t even know what mine are anymore.” She knew her world view was in the process of exploding and she couldn’t trust herself to be harsh on anyone.
    The next day, they traveled in their tour bus to Santa Rosa del Sara. It was a small town northeast of Santa Cruz. It was located right on the edge of the jungle and was a good place to set up a base. They would drive out to the smaller villages during the day and come back to their base in the late afternoon. Rachel was captivated by the scenery and the people. She immediately found Spanish to be a beautiful language and wanted to learn as quickly as possible. Her first evening in Santa Rosa a teenage boy approached her in the plaza. He was excited to have someone with whom to practice his English. She decided to take advantage of his enthusiasm and made him her Spanish teacher. She would meet him in the plaza every evening and they would trade Spanish and English. “Not bad for my first day out here,” she thought. In the morning, they rose early and traveled out to a village called “16 de Julio,” or Sixteenth of July. She thought that was a very odd name for a village. They were building a school there and the work was exhilarating for Rachel. She loved working hard again. She felt that somehow the fact that she had run away from home, even though she was twenty one, seemed less severe when she was useful. Scott noticed her work ethic and was secretly impressed. She continued to work hard every day and study every evening while the rest of her group went to blow off steam at the bar.
    One morning she was eating her breakfast of sweet bread and coffee when she overheard the conversation of two of her group mates. “I had to sell my car to come on this trip! Who knew it was so expensive to help the world?” the guy said. “Yeah, my parents embarrassed me by getting their friends to chip in so I could come. Life lessons and all that,” the girl said. Rachel choked on her bread and burned her throat with the hot coffee trying to wash it down. She put her dishes in the kitchen and went to find Scott. She had never spoken directly to him before, but this moment was too important to let her shyness get in the way. She found him looking over some paperwork. “Scott, hi, um, I’m Rachel and you probably already know that. I need you to find out something for me. It’s very important. My friend set up all the arrangements for me to come here and I’m just positive that I didn’t give him enough money. Will you please find out how my trip was paid for?” Her face was red by the time she finished, but Scott nodded politely and said he would look into it for her. After a few days, he called her aside before supper. “Rachel, I talked to the main office and they said that a man named Franklin Cramer is your full time supporter. He gave the office instructions to let you travel as long as you wanted to and he would support you indefinitely.” He finished speaking and stood quietly waiting for a response from her. She put her hand on her forehead and rubbed it a few times before replying, “Thank you so much. We can send letters from here, right?” “Well, we save up letters and take them to the city once a week,” he said. She thanked him again and headed off for her Spanish lesson without eating. She realized that was a mistake when her stomach started growling. Soon enough there were plenty of street food vendors passing through the plaza and she was full by the time she walked back to her room.
    Early the next morning, she found some paper and began to write Franklin.
“Dear Franklin, How are you? I miss you. I guess I should tell you my purpose for writing right away. I found out about your support. I knew there was no way I could afford this on my bread money. Anyway, I just want to say thank you. A million times, thank you. You have paid for my freedom and my new life. I am well. We are building a school in a tiny village. The jungle is beautiful and I love the sounds that come from it. I saw a monkey yesterday. It was copying everything I did. It made me laugh. The group I am with is great, I’m making some friends. Oh, and I’m learning Spanish. I can ask a lot of questions now, but can’t really understand the answers yet. Haha.
Well, thanks again. I’ll write you again soon. Love, Rachel”
    She pondered what the office had told Scott….indefinitely. Their current assignment would be over in two weeks. She didn’t have a clue what to do next. She didn’t know if group members hopped from one job to the next. Most of her group had already told her they were going home after this assignment was complete. She was wrapped up in these thoughts while working on the school one day. Scott came up beside her and nearly startled her. “Hey, I didn’t mean to surprise you, I just want to ask you a question. As you know in less than two weeks we will be done here. My next assignment is in Lima, Peru and I’m wondering if you would go with me? You are a hard worker and I could really use your help there. Plus your Spanish is now officially better than mine.” He grinned boyishly at his remark about the Spanish. She looked up at the sky expecting to see a rainbow; since this answer to her dilemma had just fallen into her lap. “Yes, of course, I’d love to go,” she replied. “Ok, great, I’ll get the arrangements going for that. Thanks,” he said.

Monday, April 16, 2012

I know, I know. chapter 3 book 2

Soooo sorry about the delay in posting. I am giving my editor ample time to peruse my book and I have been busy. I made all three dresses at left from thrift store women's skirts. Well, I shall not make you wait another moment for chapter 3!

    Franklin ran his fingers through his white hair and then pushed his glasses up and down his nose in an attempt to read the fine print on his computer monitor. Small town travel agents had not fared well with the onslaught of discount travel websites. He was keeping his head above water by selling discount vacation packages online. He spent most of the day staring at the screen and most of the evening resting his eyes. His excitement for the week had become the Amish lady who came to sell bread once a week. He lived alone and appreciated human contact. She was very friendly and her bread was delicious. He got a kick out of her opened mouth stares at all the exotic posters in his office. He figured she must have been really sheltered to be her age and still gawk at a beach like a child. There was something else in her eyes that made him worried. She looked afraid. Of whom or what she was afraid he did not know, but there was something in her life that made her look much older than she ought to.
    Rachel hurried through her customers until she reached Franklin Cramer’s travel office. He was fascinating to her and the opportunity to look at the posters made her happy. “Hello Franklin!” she said as she brought him his weekly loaf. They usually chatted about general things, but Anna had decided that Franklin was going to be her new friend. He could be the one to replace Roy and give her insight into the world around her. Week by week she began to reveal to Franklin what life was like on the Muller farm. She did not share with him her longing to escape, but he could hear it in her voice and see it on her face. She told him that her father would only allow his children to go to school until they were fourteen. She felt like there was so much that she didn’t know. He always listened silently, only offering comfort with his smile. It felt so good to Rachel to be telling someone about her life. She wasn’t sure if she was overwhelming him, but he was always kind and eager to listen.
    After Rachel had saved up several months worth of money, she emptied First National Bank of Rabbittown and took it to Franklin. “I need to ask you a favor. This money isn’t safe at my house. My family will take it and I want to use it to travel somewhere. Will you hide it for me?” she asked him. He said, “Of course, girlie. I’ve got a safe at home. I’ll just stick it away in there for when you need it.” She continued, “One more thing; can you help me get a passport?” He pulled out a form and began to read off a list of necessary documentation to send off for a passport. Her heart sank. The boys in her family had gone to the courthouse to get papers so they could qualify for a driver’s license, but girls didn’t drive. She would have to find a way to go to the courthouse without David knowing. She did not want to get him involved in her escape. The less he knew the better. She finished her sales and got into the truck with David. They had gone less than a block and David said, “Hey, I never noticed that hunting store! I’d sure like to go in there sometime.” Rachel’s wheels were turning, “Next week when I’m selling you ought to go in there and spend a while.” He nodded and smiled, and she knew that she had just found her window of opportunity.
    The following week Rachel raced at break-neck speed through all of her customers and then ran several blocks down to the courthouse. Thankfully, the records office was used to people like her and the paperwork was started without problems. She raced back to Franklin’s office to visit with him a moment and then walked calmly and slowly back to the truck. She realized that she hadn’t needed to hurry so much; David was still at the hunting shop trading stories with the owner. Her heart was pounding, but she tried to act like she was completely calm when he was ready to go home. She had no idea how long this process of getting her papers would take, but at least it was started and she wouldn’t have to run all over Morristown again. She arranged to have all her papers sent to Franklin’s office; that way she wouldn’t have to go get them, and they wouldn’t come to her house where they would be destroyed. Within three weeks her papers were ready and Franklin helped her fill out the passport forms online. They put Franklin’s address on the forms to avoid the catastrophe of her means of escaping arriving at her house.
    The waiting was excruciating and she was getting more and more anxious as the weeks passed. Not once had a single member of her family mentioned Roy since his funeral. Her father seemed to grab rules out of thin air and enforced them with a fist of iron. One of her sisters had spoken about a boy in a neighboring community in a joking manner. Although she was seventeen, she was spanked and sent to her room with no supper. Rachel wanted to scream, “Why? What do all these rules get us? Do they make us better people than everyone else? Do we somehow earn a better place in heaven than other people? Why do we squash our emotions when we were obviously born with them for a reason?” The questions rattled around in her brain until she could not sit at the supper table anymore. “I’m feeling a little sick. I think I’ll go to bed early.” She put a biscuit in her pocket when she got to the kitchen and then went upstairs. She quietly opened the door to her sister’s room and put the biscuit beside the wad of sobbing covers on her bed. “Here is something to eat,” she whispered. The sobbing stopped momentarily and the biscuit disappeared beneath the covers. She went to her room and lay on her own bed. Her mind was full. She knew that she had to learn more about the world outside of Platzville. She was craving learning, but had absolutely no way to feed her craving. The visits to Franklin’s office were like getting to lick a chocolate cake once, but not eat it. She had absolutely no clue where to go.  Maybe Franklin can help me decide,” she thought as she finally drifted off to sleep. She was startled awake later that night when she heard some of her brothers outside drinking beer. Her father had to know they were doing it, but didn’t say anything. She supposed it was because although they were indulging, at least they were doing it at home. It disgusted her to think of them bowing down to their father during the day and then getting drunk in the night. “But then, what am I doing? I’ve hidden money and am planning my escape,” she thought. She went back to sleep more worried than ever.
    The next week Franklin had a huge smile on his face and told her, “I have something you’ve been waiting for!”  She shrieked and dropped her basket, “My passport! Oh, I am so happy, you have no idea!”  Suddenly, serious thoughts came to her, “Franklin, I have absolutely no idea where to go. I need your help.” He had already given this a great deal of thought. He had seen what happened to kids like her who just left home on their own. It was not pretty. He slowly pulled out a brochure from his desk and said, “Rachel, I’ve already been thinking about this. Take a couple of minutes to read this. It’s a humanitarian aid agency in Miami that goes to Latin American countries, mostly. It’s called Help the World. Anyway, if you like what you see, I’ll make all of the arrangements and get your tickets.” Rachel read over the brochure and with every second was smiling bigger. “This is perfect. I don’t know how to thank you enough,” she said. “Ok, then, I will get everything set up. Um, you will be leaving next week, is that ok?” he asked. She felt like an elephant sat on her stomach, but she replied with confidence, “Yes, that is fine. I will come here last on my route. I’ll only be able to bring a small bag with me, but I suppose I’ll be able to get things wherever I go. “  They ironed out a few more details and then she left. She felt like she was floating as she got into the truck with David. “You’re a little weird today,” he said. She just smiled.