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Abbie and Reverend Arthur
The eight hour trip to home from West Virginia seemed to fly by. Her uncle had graciously offered to drive her home after she had gotten so sick while visiting her grandparents for the summer.
Up until that point, it had been a glorious summer!
She had gained 10 pounds! Some might say that she was just going through puberty, but she knew it was because ‘eatin’ at grandma’s house was ALWAYS good! No one made a cherry crumb pie quite like her grandma.
She had even met a boy at the skating rink, and left with his address tucked secretly away. She knew she would never ever have a chance to send a letter, but it was nice to know that someone so cute had thought she was amazing..
And she had gotten a glorious and beautiful tan. She had never had a tan in her entire life. When you spend most of your time indoors, it is kind of hard to get one. This was new, this was exciting and she felt beautiful – even if she didn’t feel all that great.
Her uncle had given her a candy bar when she had gotten into the car, and was surprised to find her still eating it, seven hours later when they stopped for gas one more time before they would reach their destination. She panicked, worried that she was going to be in trouble, as she explained that she had never eaten a candy bar before, and it was REALLY REALLY sweet… He laughed, and shook his head at the same time as he threw it away. Did he know she would get in trouble if she still had it when she arrived at home? She was pretty sure she heard him mutter something about “the poor kid must not ever live” as he climbed back into the car.
Abbie saw her house approaching in the distance, and her heart sank. She didn’t want to be home, she wanted to be anywhere BUT here.
She could tell right away that something was seriously wrong between her and her mother. Her mother acted okay in front of her uncle, but Abbie knew that the minute he left, something very terrible was going to happen. She hadn’t made it this far without knowing just what her mother’s body language meant. And for the first time in her life, she was truly afraid.
True, she had endured many beatings, had spent hours being berated over nothing in particular, and had learned when to be quiet, when to admit to something, whether she had committed the “sin” or not, and when trouble was brewing. And trouble was definitely brewing today.
Abbie silently prayed that she had the strength to face whatever it was, especially since she still was a bit swollen in the legs, feet and hands.
Within minutes of her uncle’s departure, her world exploded.
She ran. Up the stairs. Down the stairs. Around the table. Back up the stairs.
She tried hiding under her bed, behind the washer, and even in the fireplace…anywhere that she couldn’t be reached. To no avail..
The beating was swift and harsh.
She had spent years knowing just how to stand to avoid the most pain, knowing immediately how to duck her head just right to save her face, and her head from the severest of blows. But this was different; the anger coming out of her mother was something she had never experienced.
Few precious moments went by that seemed like an eternity. There was no escaping this for Abbie, and in the end, she lay depleted; shaking and crying under her bed.
Confused and bewildered, she wondered what she had done.
She racked her brain trying to recall what infraction might have caused this anger, and this beating.
Her quiet was short lived as her mother began screaming for her to come downstairs..and come now!
Abbie didn’t know if she could endure much more.
Without an explanation, her mother told her to get into the car. Abbie started to go back upstairs for her shoes, but was denied.
As if it couldn’t get any more miserable, it was pouring when she went out the front door.
Great! Now she had wet soaked clothes, and no shoes… Where could they be going?
They arrived before long in front of a stately stone mansion like home surrounded by several other smaller stone homes. All tidy and neatly tucked between pine trees, sidewalks, and manicured lawns. The sign at the front has said Methodist Children’s Home.
It didn’t take long for Abbie to realize what the intentions were, and within minutes, she was standing on the sidewalk, rain dripping off her hair, and squishing between her toes. She began to weep all over again, and laid down on the sidewalk in defeat.
An angel appeared out of nowhere.
He was tall and intelligent looking.
Do angels wear glasses? Because the rain was causing spots on his glasses…
Glasses..? Surely - this was not an angel..
It turned out his name was Reverend Arthur, and he was one of the kindest men Abbie had ever met.
He picked her off the sidewalk and took her inside the largest structure. Inside was dry and warm. Several women showed up to help the reverend, but for the life of Abbie, she never did remember their names, not that night, not ever again in her life.
The night was pretty much a blur. There were blankets fetched. Somehow a plate of food showed up in her hands.. Then a glass of water.
Worried, strained faces stared at her. She felt as if the whole room was full of people looking at her and talking all at once. The questions came quickly.
Who was she?
What was her name?
How did she end up in the rain on their doorstep?
Abbie answered as much as she could, thankful that her wet hair helped to hide the tears that were mixed with the rain. She hated to cry in front of people, and she was determined not to cry in the face of all this kindness.
Had the times been different, someone would have probably called the proper authorities. But this was 1978 and they called her parents instead.
Of course her mother answered the phone, and promptly hung up on them.
After several failed attempts at reaching the house, Reverend Arthur took Abbie in his car and drove her back home.
Her mother refused to answer the door. Had her dad been home, this would never have happened, but he was at work, and wouldn’t be home for several hours. Things looked pretty bleak.
Abbie wondered if she would ever be allowed back into the house.
Why did she want to go back into that house? Sadly, as dysfunctional as it was, it was her home, and all she ever knew… THIS was the normal place, everywhere else was off kilter.
Finally the police were called, and with some veiled threats of taking her brothers too if she didn’t open the door, her mother finally let her back into the house.
Life was not the same after that.
Abbie had always been strong, able to face whatever was thrown at her. But now the dynamics had changed.
Her mother knew she was now truly afraid of her, and life would become unbearable.
Abbie desperately needed another angel.. maybe someday…
If this story touches you in any way, good or bad, please feel free to comment below. Your comments inspire me, encourage me, or help me to see the error of my ways and are always welcomed!