Take Me to the Willow
by Shelly Brimley
GENRE: Historical Fiction
In defending his life-long friendship with Charlie, Will may have inadvertently had a hand in the growing chaos that leads to the horrifying night when his familiar world is shattered. When Will Wright, the eighteen year old son of a small-town Arkansas sheep herder in 1905, begins reading his mother’s journal, he is inspired by its startling content to start putting his own experiences to paper for posterity. An unsophisticated but principled young man, Will is becoming increasingly aware of the hatred that exists in the world. When he begins his own journal, Will can’t know what events are to take place in the next five years – from his mother’s battle with a life threatening illness, to his embarrassments of learning how to be in love for the first time, to witnessing Charlie’s fate at the hands of the bigoted townspeople. While part of him wishes the pain in those pages didn’t exist, he knows that the original purpose for keeping the journal has been realized - to show his kin how he became the man he is. He will probably never go back through and read again the pages he’s written, but someday, someone will, and they will see that along with the hurt, Will’s life had been one that knew true joy, absolute love, and undying friendship.
"Stop playin’ games, Maryanne!" I shouted.
Maryanne startled, and she got a real serious look on her face. A few people inside must have heard me yell, and watched us through the window for a minute or two.
"So you called me out here to yell at me?" Maryanne said with a face as pouty as an old dried up raisin. "I never took you for such a bully, Will!"
"You are unbelievable!" I shouted. "You trick me into bringin’ Hannah here by tellin’ me that you’ve got good intentions—then you send me away so you can tell her lies about me. And for what? What did you think was gonna happen, Maryanne?—that Hannah would leave me because of it, and I’d come runnin’ to you? Well let me tell you that you are…"
"I’m what?" yelled Maryanne.
I paused and took a deep breath. I played out the conversation in my mind the way my anger was wantin’ it to go, and I… I decided against it. I remembered Hannah tellin’ me not to be mean. 'Don’t be mean,' I told myself. Just say what needs to be said and don’t be mean. So I held my tongue; didn’t know I had that in me.
Finally gettin' myself under control, I said calmly, "You know what, Maryanne? Hannah’s right. It isn’t worth it."
Maryanne took to cryin’, and I think I actually saw real tears for once. I turned and started to leave.
"Will, I love you," she said imploringly.
I stopped and looked at her with a new kind of sadness… maybe even pity.
"You don’t love me, Maryanne," I said. "You just want me because I’m the only one who doesn’t want you."
AUTHOR BIO & LINKS:
Shelly Brimley was born in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived most of her life until moving to Mexico to study abroad. After graduation, Shelly did some volunteer work in Africa and completed her graduate degree while working in an adolescent drug treatment center. After acquiring her Master’s degree, she worked as a counselor at a residential shelter for children who had been smuggled and trafficked into the USA from different countries around the world. She also taught English to adult refugees before resigning to raise her children. Shelly wanted to use her experience working with others as a source of inspiration in her writing, offering a voice for those who are not typically heard or considered.
Website link: http://www.shellybrimley.com
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shellybrimleyauthor
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