Full Circle – Part 2

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

Linda’s eyes opened slowly. Morning sunlight bathed the blankets on the bed. The green and yellow gingham curtains slow danced in the gentle breeze coming in the open window. The room wasn’t big but it wasn’t tiny either. The ceiling dipped down on both sides of her bed, creating a cosy feeling.

Where am I?

The thought pushed the thick cobwebs from her mind. She’d slept deeply for the first time in weeks. Linda yawned before sitting up on the edge of the old feather bed.

Abbey had helped her up the stairs late last night. Exhausted to the bone, she only remembered bits and pieces of the bus trip and her brief conversation with the older woman at the train station and then in her truck.

Gratitude welled up inside her threatening to unlock her tears. A stranger opened both her arms and her house without a thought and she had no idea why. Abbey mentioned she was paying it forward because someone had done the same for her. It was such a foreign concept yet, strangely compelling. Linda knew she would honour her promise to pass it forward.

It only took a few minutes to get dressed. She’d showered the day before and would wait until she knew the layout of the house better. Linda was used to conserving water and only showering when she was in a safe place to do so.

As she walked down the creaking stairs to the main level of the century old house, Linda stared in wonder at the stained glass window on the landing between the floors, and the wonderful fan-shaped stained glass pane in the window on the front door still reflected the sun beautifully. There were little rainbow prisms dancing round the room.

She turned to her right and walked down a narrow hallway, her ears picked up the melody of a tune coming out of the kitchen. Rounding the corner, her eyes fell on Abbey who was humming at the top of her lungs while she cooked.

“That’s a catchy tune.”

Abbey spun around on her heels, her cheeks turned a bright pink. “I didn’t think you were awake yet… are you hungry?”

“I slept so deeply! Yes, I am hungry for the first time in a long time.”

“Then take a seat at the table. The bacon is almost done.” The timer on the stove sounded as if it heard her. Abbey turned toward the oven while Linda pulled out a chair and sat down in front of a place setting complete with coffee mug.

In a few minutes both women were piling their plates with scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, buttered toast and an assortment of jam to go with it.

It tasted so good. Linda couldn’t remember the last time she ate a hot breakfast like this. She reached for her coffee mug and drained it. “Can I warm yours up, Abbey?”

The older woman nodded, her mouth full of food, so Linda grabbed the bodum and poured them both a second cup. She allowed herself to savour each mouthful. Her plate was empty and the urge for seconds was there, but she ignored it. There was enough food in her belly to hold her until mid-afternoon, though Linda was certain her host would provide lunch long before then.

“You’re lost in thought… is there anything you want to share? No pressure, it’s merely curiosity on my part.”

Abbey’s voice broke into her thoughts. “It wasn’t anything deep, I assure you. I was merely pondering what time you’d be serving lunch since my tummy is so full, I am certain I’ll be good til three o’clock.”

Abbey laughed and the tiny crows feet at the corners of her eyes became more pronounced. “I have cold cuts and bread for sandwiches whenever you’re ready. There’s no set schedule here, just relax and do whatever you like. You’re welcome to explore the house a bit. There’s a blizzard coming this afternoon.”

Linda groaned as she placed her plate in the sink and returned to the table to grab empty mugs and other dishes needing to be washed. The mundane task was soothing to her frazzled nerves. Abbey left her to the task and headed upstairs to shower.

Once the dishes were dried and put away and the kitchen restored to order, Linda climbed the stairs to her room and unpacked the few belongings she had in her knapsack: two changes of clothes, six pairs of socks, and underwear. She pulled out a battered black leather bible that had been in her family for generations. Next was an old journal, which she placed on the tiny desk underneath the window.

It fell open and inside was a sprig of dried lilacs that had been pressed between the pages. Next to those lay an old black and white photo. She reached out gently and touched the two faces, wishing she could have known her great grandparents. They both passed on years before she was born, but there were times like this one when she could almost feel them watching over her.

With a slight shake of her head, Linda banished that thought and headed to the bathroom down the hall. The mirror was still steamed up from Abbey’s shower, but there was plenty of hot water left. Now that was something she would never take for granted again.

Ten minutes later, with her wet, curly black hair up in a towel, she returned to her room and was shocked to see Abbey standing by the tiny desk. Her face was white as she turned towards her, “Linda, where did you get this old photograph?”

“It was in my family bible when my grandmother passed it down to me. Then we found my great grandparents journal. I put it inside that with a pressed lilac from my grandmother’s garden when I was a young teenager.”

“What were your great grandparents names, do you know?”

Linda tried to remember. “My grandmother’s married name was Banning, but her maiden name was Giesbrecht. Alma was her first name. My great grandparents passed long before I was born. Thomas and Katharina Giesbrecht. I remember my grandmother telling me about them.”

Abbey sat down on the bed. “Now I know why God wanted me to bring you here.”

“What do you mean?”

“Eloise Gerhardt’s maiden name was Giesbrecht. I believe she was your great aunt, possibly your grandmother’s sister.”

Linda sat down on the side of the bed. Her head was spinning. “So, you and I aren’t related by blood, but the owners of this farm who offered you refuge were.”

“It appears so. I wonder what else God is up to?”

“God and I aren’t exactly on speaking terms right now, but this is definitely more than a coincidence.” Linda replied softly. She wanted to run but had nowhere to go.

“That’s okay, God can take your anger. He’s waiting for the day you are ready to give it to Him.”

As Abbey’s words hit home, it felt as though a bucket of cold water had been poured over her head. She couldn’t help shivering as scenes from a recurring nightmare began to unfold before her.

This can’t be happening! I have to wake up!

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