A Civil War

By Sasha Stevenson

The grass clawed at her bare feet as she trudged inelegantly down the stony path. Trying not to trip over the bothersome frills of fabric that were caked in mud, she looked ahead into the vanishing sunlight. Her freckled nose crinkled as she swiped a matted strand of ginger hair out of her eyes, and plunged herself down onto the side of the road.

She despised fields, loathed them in every possible way. They were much too open; too full of possible mistakes to actually produce anything worthwhile. The crops you slaved months over often withered away to nothing, and all the blood, sweat, and tears you put into them were spent in vain. They were supposed to give life, but often brought death instead. She had been born and raised in these fields- reared to believe that a hard day's work was worth more then money could buy, and a hard working, ugly woman, was worth more to a man then a beautifully dainty, lethargic one. And just like the crops, that belief proved to be unrealistic, unreliable, and completely destroyed.

Glaring down at her dirt encrusted hands, she shuddered and bit her lip, apathetic to the metallic taste quickly filling her mouth. The ring on her finger was growing heavier with every step, but weakness was not an option. She wouldn't cry. She hadn't cried at her parent's funeral, and crying now would surely be a mockery, so the only thing plausible was to get over it and keep moving. Taking a deep breath and lifting up her petticoat, she stumbled back onto the carriage worn path, and continued walking. The rocks and dirt were cutting her feet, but she had barely the drive to wear her chemise, so stocking and shoes were out of the question.

She had never been one for following society rules; being shunned before being given the proper chance to make an appearance in society, had pretty much guaranteed that bothering with corsets and crinoline was utterly pointless where she was concerned. Her family had been dirt poor, a little rough around the edges, and a little bit too outspoken, but not immoral enough to deserve the treatment they received from the town when they were alive, and certainly not the celebration they received when it was discovered that their carriage had run off the side of the road. And like the crows that waited to demolish her crops, the townspeople wasted no time in conquering what little land her family possessed, leaving her destitute. As far as she was concerned, being nineteen and alone with her memories, was far better than being nineteen and living with kind hypocrites and rich snobs.

A light breeze blew through the wheat field, and the sunlight made the greens and golds mix together in such a familiar way, that her heart ached and a lump formed in her throat. It served as a reminder of a time long ago when the qualms of life didn't constantly weigh down upon her, and the meaning of 'time' still hadn't grasped her. It was full of broken promises and lost I love yous and all the what if moments that plagued her tormented dreams.

The fields are what had brought him to her. She was muddy, callused, and lonely; desolate from the loss of her family. He had been stubborn, arrogant, and aristocratic, and had refused to leave her side. Together they suffered through hell, hurt and hunger, and she slowly felt her burden begin to lighten. When the Union had come looking for recruits, she had begged, pleaded, and ultimately screamed at him; exclaiming that this was their time to make a difference, and her time to prove to society that they were more than just vagabonds. Selfishly she had whined until she had gotten her way, and like a fool he had honored her demands. You always reaped what you had sown, and the seed she had viciously planted would never be able to be uprooted.

The all too recognizable pang of guilt filled her as she furiously blinked back the tears that welled in her black eyes, at the sight that lay in the center of the wheat field. Approaching and kneeling beside the fresh mound of dirt, a strangled sob escaped her swollen lips as a trembling hand reached out and placed a single white lily on the brown earth. Fingering the gold band that encircled her finger, she trembled, peered at the grey slab of stone, and wept.

Thomas Stevens
Beloved Husband
1841-1863
Died serving his Country
God Rest His Soul

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