Greetings. It's April 2021. How is your year going? I trust it's better than last year.
It's time once again to post for the Write, Edit, Publish Challenge. Thank you to the host, Olga, Renee, Laura, and Nila, and a special thanks to Denise for starting this fun group.
Today's theme: Freedom Morning. I struggled with this challenge. I'm American. Freedom is part of our identity. We are the home of the brave, land of the free. We sing about freedom, march for our freedoms, argue policy based on freedom, and refuse to comply with mandates which some perceive as taking away their freedom. Every war we have ever fought in is to preserve our freedom. Or, so we are told.
I'm also white. No one has denied me service based on my skin color. No one has ever charged me with a crime based on my skin color. So while these things sadly happen to minorities in America, they have never happened to me. How could I possibly write anything about Freedom Morning?
With this frame of mind, I talked to a friend about this challenge and she reminded me that freedom was also about things that you overcome in your life, like her story. And so, dear friends, for the first time ever I'm going to tell you a true story. The story of Akina. The names have been changed.
Love Takes Your Freedom Away
I went back.
studied her image in the mirror. There was nothing about her auburn locks or
hazel eyes to indicate that she was lost. Nothing. But she was…lost.
the moment she saw Pete and heard his voice she’d been lost. Her need to be
loved coursed through her veins to this day. Her memory of the events, hazy
woke on the floor of her apartment. Pete was tuned into the football game,
ignoring her. Her four-year-old son, Rob, sat on the floor beside her, holding
her hand and patting it. His large dark brown eyes studied her face.
he said when she looked at him.
okay,” she said to reassure him even though she couldn’t remember what
sat, and then stood. A little light-headed. Pete continued to ignore her,
guzzling the last of his 18-pack of beer. The carton lay empty at his feet.
went to the bathroom, did her business, and glanced at her reflection to see
one eye swollen, and the bruise extending down to her cheek. And her lip was
all came to her. She’d been working a crossword puzzle while Pete cheered or
bellowed at the football team on the television.
crowd roared, she looked up, the home team made a touchdown. Pete hated the
home team. He stood, grabbed her arm, and yanked her up before punching her in
the breast and on her face. Her body twisted away and turned to fall, landing
on their son. Everything went black.
long had she been out? What should she do? She didn’t know and so she went
morning after Pete left for work, she called her mom. Rob was too young for
school, and so her mom came and they all went to the hospital. From there, the
police arrested Pete and he went to jail for domestic abuse.
to a year later, as she stared at her own reflection in the mirror, she argued
with herself. Follow your heart.
She’d let Pete move back
in. She loved him. She needed him. She did it all for her son. He needed his
father in his life. Right?
Her mother had spent an
hour on the phone trying to dissuade her from this course. But, Akina knew what
she wanted. What she needed. And that was Pete.
Her happiness didn’t even
last a month. Pete quit his job, refused to do any housework, drank beer
continuously, spending her money on it. He didn’t even babysit Rob, her mother
did. Pete slept all day and drank all night and wouldn’t let Akina sleep. Instead, needling her to stay up
with him. Exhausted, she started making stupid mistakes at her job.
But she needed him,
right? She loved him and he loved her. They had a son together. He’s changed!
Football season started.
Pete stood and threw a beer at the TV and then turned on Akina sitting on the
sofa next to him.
In the morning, she
stared at her bruised and battered face.
But I need him. He will
She was trapped. She
couldn’t feel anything anymore. And she knew, her love had robbed her of her
freedom to choose. Her love had taken her freedom away.
Word Count: 563
As of this writing, Akina has turned her life around. With
her mother’s help, she returned to school and is now a nurse living her best
self and supporting her son, now 14, without Pete.
Let me know what you think.
I'm pleased to announce that my epic fantasy, the Treasures of Carmelidrium is now available everywhere.
Link to my website: authornrwilliams.com