The Journey of Faith 1
She was born to Thomas and Mary of Cladick, a place so remote it wasn’t even on a map. The nearest village was Mosenton, an hour away and boasted a population of 12 people, none of them children.
Her parents eked a living by gathering moss, they mostly lived on what they produced in their garden and caught from the wild. Theirs was a harsh climate in the north western corner of Scotland. Cold wind, rain and bleak skies filled every day and night. The nights were the worst as the wind howled and tugged at their cottage. It always seemed a surprise that the cottage was still in one piece each morning.
Her parents weren’t scholars, but they taught her as much as they could before she was sent out into the world.
Some distant relatives, who she never did meet, arranged a job and boarding room accommodation in Glasgow.
What a shock. People everywhere. She thought she would love that but instead found it frightening, she had never learned the social skills to enjoy this wealth.
Keeping to herself, she learnt her job at the fabric factory.
In her time off work she wandered the beautiful public gardens of Glasgow, and while looking up a book in a library for a flower’s name, she found a passion, books and learning.
To her own amazement she found learning things was very easy and so she started night classes. She learned everything she could about fabrics, then administration and management. Her tutors had taken an interest in her and pointed to further studies. Social skills, they were still her weak link, but they were cloaked in politeness and study.
6 years after arriving in Glasgow, she was still a factory worker operating a pattern machine and studying for a degree in management.
Neither her employer nor her tutors knew her other life.
At 22 and very attractive, men invaded her life.
First, Billy the fitter at work spent a lot of time working on her machine, strange that because it seemed to be working just fine.
He asked her out to a dance.
She didn’t know how to dance. The fact was she didn’t know what to do at all.
A quick and probably unfortunate response. No, no time for that, she had to study.
Study scared Billy away just as dancing had scared her.
Then Jack, from one of her classes made a move. A walk, chat, tea, a movie, and of course, study together.
It was the study together where she came unstuck.
Jack was smooth and she hardly noticed when he started physical contact. A slight accidental brushing here, a leaning over her shoulder to look at a book, his breath on her cheek. He snared her.
It was a wildly passionate affair. It should have been a beautiful experience, except that 3 weeks on and Jack’s interest stalked elsewhere.
A new lesson. Trust gone and a broken heart.
Jack hardly even acknowledged her in class. Everyone knew; she could feel their smirks behind her back.
Before she had been alone but not alone. Now she was very alone, she felt that everyone could see her shame.
She dived into her studies and hid there.
Mrs. Preston, her main tutor, was watching all this and did some detective work. And what did she find?
A factory hand with very low self esteem, closing in on a degree in management, with honours. The world should be her oyster. She was not going to let this girl waste.
Mrs. Preston arranged small social engagements where she could gently introduce social skills and people of some influence. Unfortunately this meant some risks, but needs must and as tutor she would use whatever tools she could.
Her tutor had cunningly taught her to believe in herself and some of the traps waiting attractive young women.
The girl grew into a confident woman, wary but confident.
Out of these engagements came an opportunity. To run a department of a huge chain store in America.
Mrs. Preston convinced her to go for it, even though she had qualification but no administration experience.
So with one small bag in hand, she flew to Florida.
She almost melted as she stepped out of the plane. The humid heat was unbelievable. What she had read never prepared her for this.
Her apartment was a real transition. She had gone from small cottage in the wilds, to a boarding room in city, to a glamorous apartment in a tropical city which dwarfed anything she imagined. She didn’t know how to describe it all when she wrote Tom and Mary.
Her job was a breeze, she took to it naturally, and the people around her were friendly and efficient.
Everyone had an ear to ear smile and big white straight teeth. Must be something in the water.
She learned to drive and travelled in her spare time; national parks and the must see places.
In the lunch room, Christmas holidays looming, a casual comment from Ronnie set her thinking.
Was this her lot? Work and a bit of sight-seeing.
Damn that Jack.
Various managers were having parties and she was invited, she’d brave up and go.
And yes, she met another Jack. She was lot more careful this time.
They shared a lot of time together and sure he tried it on. But he stayed and eventually asked her to marry him.
A fantastic honeymoon, they were in love. This was the beautiful experience, this was what life was about. Thank you Mrs Preston.
6 months of bliss and then the police came to her at work. There’d been a pile up on the interstate, Jack wouldn’t be coming home.
What does a heart have to take before it stops beating? Distraught, she couldn’t do her work, things started to breakdown around her.
Jack’s family was very kind, but she was new to them. Her presence reminded them of Jack and that kept hurting them. She wasn’t wanted and she slipped away from them.
For a while she was totally lost. She felt she had to escape. From what? To what?
Florida had become a painful place. Britain was behind her.
She called into a travel agent, saw a brochure for New Zealand.
New Zealand was somewhere, not here.
She did the paper work, resigned her job and with one little bag left Florida for Wellington.
She had some savings and travelled around this quiet and friendly country, until she found a southern west coast crib in Boone, just south of Haast.
She stood looking out the window at the dirty brown gray crashing waves.
The wind howled and shook the cottage, the skies were bleak and the rain rained forever.
What a journey, she’d travelled half way round the world and ended up in the same place, now alone.
The rain ran down the window, the tears ran down Faith’s face.
© Copyright A B Inglis All rights reserved. 2011