from "A Soldier to Love"
story was formerly part of The Love Anthology.)
picked up her bag and hurried down the alleyway, looking for anything that might be edible or wearable. Her stomach growled
painfully and she rubbed it to try and soothe the emptiness. It was so hard to be alone, an orphan with no family, no friends,
and no money. The landlord had thrown her out of the boarding house when she ran out of money three days ago. He was a big,
fat, mean-spirited man and she was glad she wasn’t living in his house anymore…glad…and scared. She had
no place to go and it was all Daddy’s fault, God rest his softhearted soul. Oh, he took care of her, after a fashion,
while he was still alive. But the gambling and moving from one town to the next was hard on a young girl who no longer had
a mother to teach her the finer points in a woman’s life.
the lid of a barrel that stood outside the battered back door of the tavern. It stunk like nasty, rotten food, making her
empty stomach turn over dangerously. Gagging, she slammed the lid back on, turned, and hurried back to the main street of
had picked this little nothing of a town in Georgia to gamble away most of their money, then die in the middle of the night
was anyone’s guess. The doctor, who had cost Christine a whole dollar, had not been good for much. She had been frantic
when Daddy woke her, moaning and clutching his chest, calling, “Chrissy, Chrissy!”
and begging, she had finally convinced the landlord to send someone for the sloppy old gentleman doctor. He had come in the
wee hours of the night just in time to see Howard Lawson draw his last rattling breath.
she brushed a lock of dirty brown hair out of her face; picked up the carpetbag containing all of her worldly goods, and walked
slowly down the boards, her feet making sad clumping noises as she wandered aimlessly. If she didn’t find a job and
earn some money soon, she would just have to find a corner somewhere to curl up and die of loneliness and starvation.