Friday, August 29, 2014

Chapter 29

“Gideon’s correct, this is none of your business,” Jace said giving me a cold stare. 

“I am making it my business.” 

“No, you’re not.” 

“Yes, I am.”  He turned to leave and I told his back, “In case you’re too mad to see it, Vaniece is dying.” 

He sighed in irritation and said, “You don’t know her.  She’s acting again.” 

“Apparently it is you who don’t know her because she isn’t.  She hasn’t eaten in four days.  The only reason Lolly and I were able to get any broth down her this morning is because of how weak she is and she threw that up less than an hour later.  Go bury your head in a jackthumper’s hole if you wish, but remember my warning Jace.  Because soon nothing neither I nor anyone can do will bring her back.  She’s dying and it’s mostly because she doesn’t want to live.” 

He turned to look at me with hate-filled eyes.  “You’re exaggerating.” 

Lolly came into the clearing where we were talking.  “No Jace she’s not.  I … I thought so too … at least at first.  But she’s not Jace.”  Lolly shook her head.  “She looks the same as Mother did after father died, when we were all so worried about her and you sent for Aunt Verna.” 

“No,” he denied. 

I asked, “When was the last time you really looked at Vaniece rather than through her?”   

“What would you know about it?” 

“Enough.  Most of you are too close to see it, too wrapped up in both your real and imagined hurt feelings and irritations where Vaniece is concerned.  I’m the outsider looking in.  Vaniece isn’t an easy person to live with but you’re no minister of the faith yourself.  You carry your anger around like a prize and then whip Vaniece with it till she bleeds.” 

Outraged he shouted, “I’ve never laid a hand on her!” 

Becoming irritated with his unwillingness to see what lay right beneath his nose I told him, “Some people you don’t have to hit to wound to the quick Jace.  Did Vaniece ever hit you or play you false?  Yet you hurt do you not?  Or did you think you could do whatever it is you wish and she bare the only consequence for the action?” 

“How dare you interfere …” 

“Yes I’m daring but only God knows if it isn’t already too late.  Or if you even care at all about her.  She doesn’t think you do.  She’s convinced herself of it … or maybe you finally managed to convince her of it.  The results are the same either way.  She doesn’t want to live.  She’s set her mind to leaving this life believing no one wants her and for a girl like Vaniece being wanted is as necessary as air to breathe.” 

“Aw she’s crazy.  I brought her out of the town didn’t I?” 

“Did you?  Or was it just an accident that she was in the wagon that day?”  He shuttered his face.  “She believes you don’t want her and she knows her father didn’t want her.  Mayhap she believes one or the both of you might still love her but you don’t want her and that’s a different thing completely, especially for a woman.” 

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” 

“Think as you wish Jace.  I am not here to try and make you do anything, only to tell how things stand.  If something does not change you’ll be burying your wife within two weeks and will be living with the consequences for much, much longer.” 

I turned and went back to the house with Lolly rushing to keep up.  “Two weeks?” 

I nodded.  “If not before.” 

“But …” 

I stopped and tried to pull my calm around me before talking.  “Lolly, people are often unaware of how their words and deeds impact others.  I don’t think most of them mean to be cruel, it is simply the humanity in each of us choosing our pride over everything else. The Good Book tells us that pride breeds quarrels and then comes disgrace.  We all suffer from it … and sometimes cause other people to suffer for it.  Certainly Vaniece was not aware of where her behavior would lead her.  And certainly Jace has been hurt through no fault of his own.  But Jace no longer holds the moral high ground.  Even now he’s convincing himself that I’m merely being played by Vaniece and that even if she is a little sick it is self-induced and nothing more than what she deserves.  I could see it written plainly on his face.  As plainly as I saw it on your Mother’s when I tried to speak to her about this.” 

Lolly’s face was troubled.  “I … I haven’t always liked Vaniece but I don’t want her to die.” 

I told her, “Sometimes it is not the point what we want for someone, but what they want for themselves.  If Vaniece cannot find something else to live for besides her old dreams and what she thought her life was going to be then nothing anyone can say is going to bring her back around.  And even if Jace decides tonight to change his ways with her, he may have already abdicated too much of his authority in her life for her to listen to him … or perhaps believe him would be the better word.” 

“You sound like there’s no hope.” 

I looked up.  “There’s always hope Lolly.  Sometimes that is all there is.”


  1. Great post Kathy. I was kinda under the illusion that in their society women didn't speak to men in such a way. As he quickly ducks the frying pan.

  2. Kathy thanks for this story and thanks for all of the rest of your wonderful story's. Below is a message form rabbit. ( can't seem to leave message hear, I had the same problem until I changed my email settings)

    (I've been trying to leave a "Thank You" message on her blog and it won't go through. If any here are capable of leaving a message over there please tell her that Rabbit can't believe all the hard work she is doing finishing all the stories, but I'm loving all the reading. Thank you Kathy.)