orphan. her new family found her living in the woods one day, hungry and alone. She had run from the orphanage. the couple was old, but they never had children so they took her in. they found her quite quirky. dramatic. they had their struggles. but they love her now. she is their daughter- not by blood, but in name. [Anne with an E inspired]
Her delicate fingers fasten the white sheet around her shoulders. It draped over her body- like an oddly shaped dress. Her eyes study herself in the grimy mirror of their small house. Grabbing another piece of fabric she wraps it around her waist, when she looked into the mirror this time she imagined the frame to be embroidered with jewels, golden, delicate features climbed the edge of the reflective glass. Looked like small golden vines were slowly benign to encase the glass, tulips made from rubies littered here and there.
She imagined that the sheet she wore, was a gown fit for a high ranking citizen of the capitol. It hugged her body in all the right places, the silk material shimmered as it cascaded to the floor. It was emerald in colour, with a delicate sleeve of lace with such intricate details that it took her breath away. Her dark hair which usually cascaded down her back, was pulled up and away from her face, small pearls crowned the stop of her head- like a tiara. Small curls framed her face, her lips pulled back into a smile. She was beautiful. In the mirror, the reflection she had created, she looked like one of those beautiful girls in the books that she read. Perfect, flawless. But not real.
In reality her clothes were warn, they had holes and they were rather plain. She didn't mind that much though, she was extremely grateful for everything that she had, for the life her new family have given her. So very grateful. She was an orphan child. Her parents she assumed had past away when she was very young. She knew nothing of them, and was told nothing about them. When she begun to ask questions, they would just shoo her away, 'isn't there work to be done?' They would say, before turning away, her unanswered questions following close behind.
So she stopped asking questions.
She started reading.
She never really fit in with the other kids at the orphanage. She was often found alone, reading, or creating her own stories. When it looked like she might be talking to herself, she was in her own imagination, creating characters who others might only dream of. She liked it there, tucked away where she could create stories where she belonged. Create characters who were heroic, charismatic and kind. But also villains who scared her, who frightened her so much that she might find herself trembling... but then remembered that she could paint herself to be a warrior, to be strong and fearless. And she was no longer scared.
She often found herself wishing she could be more like the girls she imagined herself to be.
The other bullied her because of her active imagination. They called her strange. She didn't think they realised just how much her words wounded her- or they did and they just did not care... Or they cared too much, and the satisfaction of watching her crumble by the viciousness behind their attacks. They didn't understand her, understand the workings of her mind. And if she was being honest with herself, she never really understood them either.
She couldn't quite fathom how the others never really got involved in her story telling. How no one every wanted to play other characters, to create a fictional world with her. Didn't they understand that they could create anything they wanted? They could allow themselves to be anything they wanted and not just be constricted to box that they had been placed in. Most of them so small that she would find herself feeling claustrophobic. Always finding it hard to breath when she was reminded that she was not expected to arise too much in her life time. Not being a citizen of district eleven. It was quite tragic really.
One day the girls pushed her too far. Their words had cut deeper than knives. They had whispered cruel things in her ear. Told her that her parents were better off without her and her crazy antics. They had said it with such vindication that she found herself believing them. Maybe they were right. Maybe this hand in life that she had been dealt was right for her. Maybe she should stop trying to look for something different. Maybe she should stop imagining that she could be, or that she is, anything more than a lonely orphan girl.
No, she couldn't allow herself to believe them.
So she ran.
And running was probably the best thing she could have done.
For the first week or so she had relished in her new found freedom. She had made home in an abandoned field, found a hollowed out tree which she converted into a temporary home. Here she could let her mind run free. She allowed herself to see the place as a small wooden cottage. Her home decorated purely by her imagination, with features that you might find in a book. She imagined her bed to be made from the finest moss, her pillow to be made from the softest cloud in the night sky. She imagined that the little forest animals were her friends. She wore a crown made from a vine, her dress embroidered with flowers and an arrangement of foliage that she managed to weave into the old fabric of her dress. She was a princess in its own right. Surrounded by her little woodland creatures, friends.
But then she got hungry. The weather turned sour. Her imagination could no longer fight with the elements. They tore down her fantasy. Her hollowed out tree couldn't protect her from the harsh winds, or the rain that pelted into her tanned skin. She was cold, her body soaked and shivering to the bone. She was hungry and lacked energy.
She briefly wandered if she would die out here.
But then she meet them. At the time she wasn't to know just how important these people were about to come to her.
They had found her shivering. Starving. Her skin slathered in mud and dirt. They were kind people, they took her into their home, cleaned her up and filled her belly with some warm food. "You have such a beautiful home." She had told them a night a couple weeks into her stay, her eyes glistening with delight, "I once imagined myself to live in a place like this, surrounded by family. Siblings, where we each fought each other for the last piece of bread at breakfast! And at night talk about the days events, all seated together enjoying a delicious hot meal. I imagine the meal to be some sort of soup, filled with so many flavours that taste buds would explode in absolute delight." She sighs, a smile dancing of her lips as she gets lost in the recollection of her imagination.
The lady had laughed, taken the girls hand in hers and smiled. "You have quite the way with words, young lady. Would you like some more food? You are so skinny I was sure that wind was going to blow you away!" Her remarks had the girls heart beating faster. Never before had someone shown concern for her like this stranger. Her words embraced the young girl, wrapping her in a warm hug. "Oh, Ma'am, you shouldn't have to worry yourself with things such as that! I couldn't possible take more from you than I already have. I appreciate everything you and your lovely husband have done for me and I will be eternally grateful for the kindness you have shown me. I have only read about this kind of graciousness in books, I never thought there would actually be people out there like you two to bestow it upon me. But here I sit, in your presences. I could never thank you enough...
But I should go. I have bothered you two for long enough. Thank you again for showing me such kindness." The girl bows her head deeply. She was so gracious for what these strangers had done for her. She didn't want to leave them, she wanted to be surrounded by this sort of energy on a permanent basis. But she knew that she would never get to experience something like this. She was an orphan girl, who was quirky, and strange, and better off a lone. Just like the cruel kids had told her.
She doesn't witness the exchange between the couple, but the man gets up from the table, kneels beside her so that he is at her height. "Arabella," he said, his voice was deep but reassuring. "Mrs Shirley and I have talked and we want you to stay. And before you start to cut me off," he remarks, watching her chest puff up to refuse the offer, "we could use the help around the farm. And... And, to be honest, we like having you around. You bring, uh.. um.." During her short stay, Bella had come to realise that Mr. Shirley (He insisted I call him Matthew) struggled to express his feeling, often fighting to find the right way to express how he was feeling. "You bring something to the house that we, uh, didn't know that we were looking for."
"Please stay," mrs Shirley (Ellen, she also insisted that I call her by this name) asked, "you aren't in our way. Its quite the opposite. We know this is an odd request. But we can't help but realise you don't seem to have anywhere else to go. We could use the help." She says the last words as if knowing that the girl would not able to refuse the request to help the people who have given her shelter.
A feeling of warmth fills her and her eyes begin too well with tears of joy. How could people who have only known her for a mere two weeks show her more kindness than she had felt in her lifetime. Without thinking she warps an arm around each of them, pulling them in tight. She wanted to hold onto them for as long as she could, to never let go. She wanted to always know the feeling that was embracing her heart now. She never wanted to forget it. "Matthew. Ellen. I will never be able to express in words just how thankful I am for this. I promise you that I won't let you down. This I swear to you." Her vow fills the space between them. They often like to remind her just how dramatic she can be.
The emerald dress fades and once again she stand before the grimy mirror, white sheet tied around her waist. She smiles to herself. "Bella! Bella, come down stairs. Time for dinner." Her smile grows, tossing the sheet to the side she runs a hand through her knotty hair reminding herself that she would have to run a comb through it later.
But right now she had to join her family down stairs to share a meal,