Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BLUE (11/09/17)
- TITLE: But I Wore Blue
By Amy Gaudette
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“I will make a lady out of you yet, Samantha, and when your father returns from the war, you will all thank me.” Aunt Beady meant business, and I smelled trouble.
I lay in bed that night planning my escape. Father never intended me to be a slave under Aunt Beady. It wasn't right. We were all dealt our own hand of cards, I only wanted mine to be fair. Jeb and Jesse had both gone off to fight. Father left a few weeks after. I could shoot as good as both of my brothers. When we used to play hide-n-seek as kids, they had to beg me to come out of hiding 'cause I was never found.
Yet, here I was. A girl, really a woman, though no one thought I was, washing dishes, mucking stalls, and sewing patches on pants. I should be out there! Not wearing these ridiculous dresses that made no sense. I wanted to put on the uniform and battle the forces of darkness. I wanted to do something that counted. I wanted to wear blue. . .
Maybe, I could.
My thoughts pummeled each other that night. Each one demanding my full attention. Dreams took on a whole new dimension. Two soldiers battled, one in a dress, the other in blue.
Next morning, I knew what I had to do. Before sunup, I packed my cousin Ed's clothes. He was closest to me in size. I grabbed scissors to cut my hair, and without looking back, went to find the nearest battalion. It was time.
No one suspected. I was flat as a board anyway and a little dirt went a long way. Most of the time I kept a wad on chew stuffed into my cheek. I came to be known as the little guy with the sharpest eyes.
Every day those over me spat out their orders, and every day I ran this way and that. I shot with the best of those boys and laid low. Pretty much kept to myself. But I wore blue. Yup, I wore blue with pride. Every morning my stomach growled, my feet stank, and it grew harder and harder to find a private privy. But I wore blue.
A whole year passed and a few times, I had even seen my brothers. They didn't recognize me. I thanked God they were safe. I never felt I could inquire about them or my father. I didn't want to draw attention to myself.
At last, I was heading home. The walk took me two weeks. I was pretty much alone, but I liked it that way. As I went through towns, people cheered for me. Some offered me a place to stay. I kept on walking. By this time, my hair was growing out again, and I let it.
I arrived back home, skipping Aunt Beady's entirely. I wanted to arrive before anyone else. I had a house to clean, and a lady to present.
After the house had a good clean, I took my washed and dried uniform, and carefully folded up blue, laying it ceremoniously on my bed. This was a story for another time. I took a deep breath. Startled, I heard a door open. “Anyone home?”
I ran, most unladylike, down the stairs into Father's arms, right behind him were Jed and Jesse. Our reunion was bittersweet. They were older, tired, and Father had a sadness about him he didn't have before.
At supper that night, the conversation turned to me. “We weren't expecting to see you here, Samantha.” Father's eyes held me. I forgot what I had prepared for this moment. “And the haircut? Was that Aunt Beady's idea?”
I looked at Father. “No, but hair does grow back. As for not being at Aunt Beady's, well, I guess you could say I got to feeling real blue. . . and that led me back home.”
Jeb hollered from the stairs. “Samantha, where did this uniform come from?
I forgot to put away blue! Father was looking at my hair again. He caught my eyes, I couldn't look away. The sparkle I once knew returned as he commented,
“This ought to be interesting.”
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