Abigail knew she’d made a mistake – Friday Fiction
Abigail knew she’d made a mistake in promising to marry Henry, but without that promise she’d never again lay eyes on Miss Troy which was something she couldn’t live with. That night, as she lay in bed and listened to the black crows beating their wings against the icy cold air and cawing out a message she was certain came from Livonia, Abigail came up with a plan.
For three weeks she kept this plan to herself, letting it roll around her head and settle. Twice she made potato pancakes and pork with gravy, a dish that took considerable effort; and Henry, who came for supper more often than not, licked his plate clean. He’d smile across the table at Abigail and she would smile back. William seemed satisfied that the girl had come to her senses, so he also was in exceptionally good humor. With Henry being there evening after evening, Will was free to spend time at the Withers place; which was exactly what he wanted to do now that he’d gotten moony-eyed over Rebecca. To most outsiders it seemed the Lannigan household was downright happy, but there was one person who took notice of the far away look in Abigail Anne’s eyes.
When Miss Troy asked, “Can you tell me the capitol of Pennsylvania?” Abigail Anne gave the teacher a look that seemed to infer she’d never even heard of Pennsylvania. This alarmed Judith Troy because she knew the girl could recite the capitol city of each and every state, so she’d try again. “How about Maryland?” she’d say but Abigail’s face still didn’t register a thing other than an absent-eyed look of confusion.
One morning when the rest of the class was working on a study assignment, Miss Troy whispered in Abigail’s ear, “Please, come with me,” and she led her back to the storage room. “Abigail Anne,” she said, “you’re a bright girl, a girl with a lot of ability. I know you know the answer to these questions so what’s causing you to act this way?”
“Nothing,” Abigail answered looking down at her feet.
“It’s something or you wouldn’t be acting this way. Has there been more trouble with your father?”
“Don’t ask me that,” Abigail Anne answered and her eyes filled with tears. “I can’t tell you things about our family cause if I do, I’ll have to stop coming to school.”
“Nonsense! If your father tries a thing like that I’ll notify the state authorities!”
“Papa don’t care about the state authorities.”
“Well, he will care if I go out there with—”
“Oh, please, Miss Troy, please don’t come! Papa will claim you’re a trespasser and shoot you dead in the heart!”
“He can’t do anything of the sort; there are laws against that type of behavior.”
“When Papa gets mad enough, he don’t care a bean about laws.”
Judith Troy took hold of Abigail’s hand and clasped it tightly as she looked into the girl’s eyes. “Child,” she said, “you’ve got to talk to someone. You can’t keep troubles bottled up inside you. You’ve got to pour them out so that somebody can help.”
Maybe it was the fact that Judith Troy’s voice sounded so much like her mother’s or maybe it was because the crows had stopped cawing in her ears; whatever the reason, Abigail opened up and told Miss Troy how she’d agreed to marry Henry Keller after she turned sixteen.