Winnifred pulled at her pleated brown skirt, wishing it was longer, patterned, something. She felt like a business person, so plain and official, but her mother insisted that she wear something appropriate for the first day of University. In the back of her mind, Winnie had a small inkling that her mother knew the rough skirt would be disposed of as soon as she reached University, but for the time being, she would humor her parents.

She stared into her mirror and subconsciously moved the perfumes around on her vanity. When she noticed the frown on her lips, it only made the corners of her lips dip further. A curl of hair fell into her face and she puffed at it. Seemed like only yesterday Jacob, her big brother and only real friend, had been buried. Almost two weeks had passed, and nobody said a word about it. Inwardly, Winnifred was screaming. She wanted to talk about it, wanted to remember all the joy and laughter they had, even though her mother had never been aware about it. She wanted to tell everybody how proud she was of him, and how desperately she wanted to go back in time and stand up to her mother so she’d stop treating him poorly.

And now, it was too late.

She lifted the gold chain with Jacob’s ring around her neck. It was his last gift to her, and she treasured it. On her bosom, the opal in the ring shimmered. She smiled sadly at it; it looked like a tooth, powerful but forgotten. So much like her brother had been. She wrapped a brown and pale blue striped scarf around her neck to hide the token, lest her mother discover it and take it away. After tucking her loose strands of hair away with bobby pins, Winnifred stood. She was ready.

“Coach’ll be here any minute, Winnawoo!” her mother called up the stairs. She could feel her mother’s anticipation and hesitation mix together in her mind. Winnifred walked out of her room, letting her high heels click-clack on the polished wood floor. When she saw the coast was clear, she slid down the banister, gripping on to its scuffed rail, thrill of adrenaline rushing through her. Jacob was the only one to ever slide down the banister. Her mother complained that he got away with everything. Winnifred admired him for it. She smoothed her skirt and blouse and found her way to the open door in the welcoming hall.

The coachman nodded to her as she exited, and though her offered his hand, she climbed into the coach by herself, just as her brother had done two years previous. Nobody was there to wish her farewell, as though she was merely going to market. Winnifred hung her head and looks at her muffled expression in her shined black shoes. It was just as well.

When the coachman shut the carriage door and climbed into his seat, Winnifred loosened her scarf and fit Jacob’s ring on her finger, imagining the face of the man who delivered it to her. She had a different destiny than her mother planned.

.

Word: Pleated. || Time: 15 minutes. || Character: Winnifred leBrenne.

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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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