Just to clear things up, this is a new edited chapter. I mainly fixed the gramatical errors, but I did change some sentences and took things away that I thought didn't flow. Hopefully it's an improvement.
Chapter 1: A Journey of MemoriesThe cool breeze brushed passed Laura Patterson's auburn hair, letting it flow freely in the wind, as it carried scents of lilacs with it. As the wind passed her countenance, the sun's fierce rays continued to beat down upon her pale face. This breeze was a welcome comfort for Laura in the spring's unusual March heat. As this occurred, she looked out of the wagon she was presently riding in, and watched the forest landscapes, with the setting sun in the background, as it created a beautiful array of colors. She was praying, hoping that all this was a dream and that she would wake up from it soon. She felt trapped and stripped of her freedom. Free was how she wanted to feel. She wanted to be free from the confinement of her family to start a new life. As clear droplets streamed down her face, one might have mistaken a single tear that rolled off her cheek, for sweat. It was not sweat, though. They were tears of sadness. Laura was mourning for the life that she would leave behind, from the man, the love of her life, Eric.
God, why does everything have to change so rapidly? She questioned in her thoughts, I had the perfect life and now it's all being stripped away.
Laura was bitter-and she had every right to be. It just didn't make sense to her that she would have to leave behind the life she loved. Everything about it had been perfect, and now all that was gone with her moving West. Her parents had owned a booming business and now they were leaving that behind. Who in their right mind would leave that job to go West? Laura had to admit, however, that inside she felt that Eric was the main reason that they were going. She kept telling herself, though, that her parents weren't that heartless. They knew how much that they loved each other.
Then what other reason would there be to move West? she asked herself.
Her parents had always been supportive of her and always treated her like royalty. What had she or Eric done to have made her parents decide to take them apart from each other?
Inside, Laura screamed, in protest, that it wasn't fair that her parents had to dictate every part of her life. She couldn't understand why her parents had a sudden interest in moving West to farm as well in years as her parents were. What would they do when all their kids were married? How would they manage the land then?
She was the youngest of four, with two of her siblings already married off. Mallory, the eldest, was enjoying her new life with her husband John, and was expecting a baby in a few months. Frank Jr. recently married Hannah and they were settling well in their new home. Walter still had yet to find a woman suitable enough for him. Then there was her, the youngest, and in love with Eric, the man of her dreams. He was perfect for her in every way, and she was sure if her family would have moved to the West one month later she would already be married, but that apparently wasn't the case and she was forced to leave behind her beloved Eric. No matter how much she protested, her parents didn't change their decision to move.
While one side told her that Eric was the reason that they were leaving the East, the other side or her told her that her parents had a reason for doing it. She just couldn't see why her parents would treat her like this after doting on her for years and years. As she pondered on this, her thoughts went to Eric- the way he looked, the way he smiled, and the things that they did together. It scared her that she was already forgetting how he looked like. At this rate I'll forget completely who he is, she sadly thought. I won't let that happen! She screamed to herself trying to grasp with all her might the memories she hadwith EricShe couldn't allow him to slip away from her memories that easily. She loved him and it was those memories of him that helped her deal with the separation.
As she thought of Eric, she recalled the last night they were together and the promise Eric made to her. It would be a night that she would never forget…
"So, you're really leaving tomorrow, aren't you?" Eric sadly asked.
Laura nodded slowly and painfully wishing there was some other way. "I'm afraid so. There's no stopping my parents now. I've tried and tried but they won't listen to me."
"But what if we got married? Surely they would let you stay here with me, then. They just couldn't take us apart." he declared reaching for her hands and gently caressing them.
"I've already brought that up, but my parents say that I'm too young right now. They say maybe in a year, but they wouldn't consent to me being married at sixteen. They say that I'll find another person, and that true love doesn't exist at so young an age."
"This isn't fair…them taking you away from me like this. Surely they can see that there'll never be another for you, or me. We're meant for each other." He argued.
Soft tears trickled down her cheek as she tried to swallow a knot in her throat. "I agree but there seems to be no other way. It's just hopeless, though I wish it wasn't."
"Maybe, I could come to the West." He exclaimed excitedly after a pause.
"Could you really?" A new hope was installed in her and she earnestly looked to Eric with anticipating eyes.
"Maybe not with you, tomorrow, but when the next wagon train goes your way I can go and settle on my own land. I'm sure that my parents wouldn't object now that I'm 18. I'm responsible for myself, and besides, you're the only one that I want to be with." Eric replied.
Laura would be lying if she said that she wasn't disappointed, because she was. She had hoped that they could travel together and endure the rough terrain as husband and wife. If that had been the case, she would have not objected to moving. Now she would have to wait around a year for him. It seemed like it would be forever before she would see him again. A year was just too long, but there was no other option. Oh, how she wished there was some other way that made their parting much easier. It seemed like the only option left to her, though, even on the eve of her departure, she still prayed that there would be some other option available that would be much easier to deal with. "I guess that it's our only option." She replied swallowing a knot in her throat and trying to hold back a wave of tears.
"I promise, Laura, as soon as the next wagon train comes, I'll be ready and packed, eager to see your smiling face."
Seeing his expression, she knew that he would keep his word and he would wait, however long it took, for her. This meant a lot to her and she really couldn't help but smile at Eric's thoughtfulness. As she wiped her tears she saw his head leaning in and they shared their last kiss in a way in which one would never forget it. To Laura, it proved her worth to him.
"Wait for me Laura." He whispered in her ears so tenderly. "I will; no matter how long it takes I'll anxiously wait for your arrival. I'll pray for you everyday that somehow we would be reunited again." Laura exclaimed with tears still streaming down her face as she slowly parted from Eric. That was the last time she had seen him in a month, and though she held his promise, she couldn't help but cry at her loss.
God, she silently prayed please help me deal with this. I know that everything happens for a reason, but I just can't help but think of how unfair it is. Help me to accept whatever comes my way. I need your strength now more than ever. I also pray that you would forgive me for harboring anger towards my parents. I want to glorify you in all that I do, but this grudge holds me down. Help me to let go of it.
More tears fell as she prayed this silent prayer and so she took her hand and wiped a few streams of tears. She then turned her attention to the inside of the wagon where her family was. Her mother, Harriet, sat concentrated on a needlework she was doing not bothering to look up. Even with the extremely bumpy road they were on, she kept her focus on the work and seemed to not be bothered by the continuous interruptions.
She's going to have to learn to sew most of the clothes now, Laura thought with a smile.
Back in the East, they were very accustomed to buying their clothes, eating out in restaurants and such things that were not as primitive as the work they would have to become accustomed to on frontier they were headed towards.
Laura looked to the front of the wagon, now. Walter sat beside his Pa in the front trying his best to help with the load his father had in steering the wagon. At this point her father, Frank, was driving and she could tell that he was aching and wanting to stop for the night. He wiped his brow, attempting to relieve his discomfort by removing the trickling droplets of sweat that ran down his face. Walter had his eyes closed, seeming to avoid the sun's light for some time longer, until they were given the signal to stop. A good thirty minutes passed when, at last, they were given the signal to stop. Frank seemed grateful for it. Laura and her mother wasted no time in gathering wood for the fire. It didn't take long for the fire to get started, and as Laura looked around she could see many people already preparing for supper. Harriet did the same, and when all the wood was gathered, Laura attempted to help with getting the food supplies from the wagon. Before long, the supper was ready to be eaten.
The supper that night didn't bring much talk. There was only the occasional conversation of their new life in the West, and the things they would do. Laura hardly said a word and just gloomily ate her meal. When she was done she figured that she'd turn in early seeing that it was her duty to cook breakfast the coming morning. It was a routine that her family had established. Laura would be alternating meal duties between her mother and herself. Her parents had no objection to her leaving but she could feel their eyes starring and looking at her in pity.
They're the ones that made me this upset. They should be pitting me. She thought, but immediately repented of her sin. Who was she to lash out on them? Walking up to her wagon, she opened the wagon flap and climbed inside. With a few blankets she made herself a comfortable spot on the hard floor of the wagon to sleep. As Laura laid there, she prayed another silent prayer.
God, help me show love toward my family that has inflicted this pain on me. You've gone through much more pain that I ever will go though, or could ever imagined, but still I'm hurting. I pray that you would help me in my time of need that you'll not abandon me here in the west. I know that you're still going along with us and I pray a safe journey for everyone on this wagon train. And… please…please be with my Eric who I long to see. Be with him as well because I know that this parting isn't easy for him either…please I just ask for you're presence here with me. I know with you I can get through any tragedy that comes my way…including Eric's death.
Her last statement surprised her and she franticly wondered if Eric really would die. What would she do then? All her hopes and dreams revolved around being with Eric, yet she knew that God was in control of everything. The Bible said that he would be with her when storms come into her life. She prayed she would have the strength to deal with it if it ever happened.
I, I can't go through this on my own. Please, Lord, be with all my family and all my friends back home, and again I ask for our safe travel.
With that she whispered out loud her "amen" and closed her watery eyes to sleep. Though she tried to stop them, a tear trickled down and rested on her lip. She could taste its saltiness. As she wiped her tears, Laura twisted and turned until she found a comfortable position. In this way, she slept- letting her weariness overtake her and pass her to unconsciousness.
Laura was up before the sun and made her way to perform the dreary task of preparing the breakfast. She was comforted, though, upon seeing that she wasn't the only one awake. It was spring and the dawn brought sudden chills to Laura, so she was forced to retrieve her shawl. She then decided to gather sticks for the fire but she found that her father, Frank was already attending to that. She was a little relieved, but, in another way, was upset that she didn't do the job she was assigned. Nevertheless, it was already done so Laura just continued to cook the breakfast, which wasn't much. It only consisted of some bread and scrambled eggs. As she was cooking Walter appeared from the wagon ready to help his father with the work. Harriet wasn't far behind him and they all gathered to eat their simple yet well wanted meal. As they were all eating their breakfast, one of the fellow passengers, Mr. Hansin, greeted them. The gentleman tipped his hat to the family in greeting. Everyone was curious as to why he had approached them. Their curiosity was put at ease when the man finally spoke.
"I hope I'm not disturbing you but Mr. Garbs said that breakfast will be cut short. He say's that we're starting off early today. I was sent to inform everyone." Mr. Hansin, stated.
Mr. Garbs was the wagon leader, and a mighty good one at that. He had been in charge of many wagon trains before, and Frank was mighty glad that he ended up leading this particular wagon train.
Frank nodded and thanked him for the warning. He glanced at his family, which was interpreted by them to mean that they should hurry up and eat. Everyone ate their breakfast in what seemed like record speed and, soon, they packed up to move again. Laura told her family that she was going to walk for awhile. Her parents consented, and within fifteen minuets the signal was given to begin the day's travel. The wagon's wheels slowly began turning and gained more momentum as they headed onward.
Laura looked around to see who else decided to walk. To her surprise there weren't that many. Only a handful of women were available for company, so Laura began to run, holding up her dress to keep it from getting dirty, in order to catch up with these women. She was surprised to find that they were already in a deep discussion. Among those women were Mrs. Kinston, Miss Danielle Paten, Mrs. Tutts, and Mrs. Falter. Mrs. Kinston was a young woman around twenty-four, coming to the west with her husband and five-year-old child, Brett. She was fairly tall with dark brown hair and deep blue eyes. Miss Danielle Paten was traveling with her family. She was only seventeen and had two younger brothers. She had long flowing blonde hair with soft sky blue eyes. She seemed quite energetic and Laura was not surprised to fin that she was walking. Mrs. Tutts was an elder woman around fourty-two traveling with her husband. The same went for Mrs. Falter, though she was around thirty-five, from what Laura could guess. Mrs. Tutts had fading brown hair with a gray crown surrounding her temple and brown eyes to match. Mrs. Falter had faded red hair, but as of then there was no sign of gray hairs.
"Yes, she never knew it until recently." Mrs. Kinston stated."I heard her say that she had a suspicion but she never voiced it before to anyone, including her parents." Mrs. Falter added.
"Well, I remember my first child, I remember feeling something was wrong but I couldn't put my finger on it. You can imagine my surprise when I found that I was pregnant." Mrs. Tutts stated. "I don't really blame her for not knowing."
Everyone else agreed. "How long did she say it would be until the baby's born?" Miss Paten asked.
"Oh, I believe she said it was in 5 months." Mrs. Falter answered. "Hopefully she'll be safe in a city where a doctor would be near by, when it does come."
Everyone nodded her heads in agreement.
"Even so, we have a decent midwife who I hear to be very skilled." Mrs. Falter continued. Though Laura wasn't aware of whom they were talking about, Laura just followed behind them listening intently trying her best to find out who was the woman that would be expecting. Their conversation went on for some time and when she still didn't figure out who it was she interrupted the conversation with her question.
"Oh, we are sorry. We had no idea you were interested. Why, it's the Mrs. Dawds that'd be expecting." Mrs. Tutts replied simply with a smile in her face.
Mrs. Dawds was around 20 and was traveling with her husband and 2 year old daughter. Laura smiled upon hearing this. She had talked to Mrs. Dawds before and she seemed such a sweet lady, and obviously was eager for a big family.
Maybe I'll go over and see her today. She thought. No doubt her husband wanted her confined in the wagon, and being so can be extremely tiresome. Yes, she concluded, I will go and see her today.
After about an hour of walking she felt she had enough for the moment and made her way into the wagon. She was glad to be seated now, but that feeling was short-lived because of the nasty bumps that tossed her up in the air and made her land on the hard surface with a "thud".
At least my feet are getting a rest, she thought trying to be optimistic. That, however, wasn't working as well, and she found herself complaining. Upon inspection though she realized that this wasn't right. At least she had food and her family with her. She reprimanded herself and prayed to God to forgive her sins.
As she sat there she, yet again, thought of her beloved Eric. She tried to figure out when it was that she first fell in love with him. Her mind raced back to memories of all the things they had done together. She smiled upon reminiscing the first day her and Eric met. It was spring and the rain was falling hard on her. She had been all alone. Beforehand, she had told her parents that they would meet each other at Christi's, an Italian restaurant. At that time she was fifteen. The rain had confused her and made her panic at the thought of not seeing her parents again. At this she started to cry. That is, until Eric showed up in his buggy offering to help her arrive at her destination. She couldn't see what he looked like through the rain, and wondered why on earth he would want to help her.
"Now, why might a young lady like yourself be doing in this rain?" Eric asked kindly. She looked at the gentleman.
"I'm lost. This rain suddenly came upon me and I was unprepared." Laura replied defeated. Though she couldn't see him Eric was smiling kindly and gave his hand out to her.
"Come on, I'll give you a ride."
Laura was ever thankful and accepted his hand, and got into the buggy with him.
"Where is it that you had to go to?" Eric asked.
"Oh, I was meeting my parents at Christi's" she replied trying to wring out some water from her hair.
He laughed. "You look fine." He stated, "You're parents will understand the reason behind your sogginess."
She laughed too but sill continued to wring out her hair. As she glanced at him a couple of times, she could tell he wanted to know why she had been so unprepared and what she was doing alone, along with things about herself. Nevertheless, Eric never preyed it from her and just sweetly said that if she ever needed his assistance that she could always call on him. Laura just smiled back and voiced her gratitude for the gentleman's help. All that night she thought about the kind man's act but it soon dawned upon her the she didn't even catch what his name was. The next day she ventured to call on this man and found his name to be Eric. That was the beginning of their relationship. It was actually a matter of weeks before they began courting each other. They had gone to many shows, spent long walks in the park, and just enjoyed each other's company. That mere infatuation soon turned into real love and passion for each other. She could see her parents booming approval of the match.
Laura figured that it was that time in the buggy that really made an impression on her, and figured that it was love at first site. At least that was what she liked to think. She smiled upon recollecting that night. Still she was very upset that her parents never gave a plausible reason for moving and she secretly hoped that it wasn't because of Eric. It just couldn't be. She recalled their smiles and compliments that they had made to Eric. Surely they would not have wanted to move away from a man, and family that they admired. Laura shook her head in disgust at turning a wonderful memory back to holding resentment toward her parents. She sighed long and heavily.
Maybe, I'll be able to forgive them someday. She thought.She really wished it because she hated being angry; especially toward her parents. It put her in a state she didn't like to be in. she sighed again, but her thoughts were interrupted by her mother's voice.
"Did you have a nice walk?" Harriet asked
Laura nodded, "Oh, yes. I had an interesting conversation with some of the ladies who decided to walk as well."
"Well that's good."
"I heard that Mrs. Dawds is going to have a baby." Laura said excitedly.
Harriet's eyes widened. "Really? Well, that is some good news. When is the baby expected to arrive?" She seemed quite please with this wondrous news that Laura brought her. Even though Laura wanted to talk about the reason why they were moving west Laura just smiled and continued the conversation about Mrs. Dawds. She didn't want to start an argument.
"In five months. She never knew really untion now, though I hear that she had some suspicion." She replied.
Harriet smiled, "Well, I happy for her. I just hope that we'll be in town by the time the baby comes."
"I do as well. It would be awful if something happened to the baby." Laura replied.
"Indeed it would be tragic."
"I was thinking that I might visit her when we stop for dinner." Laura stated.
"I think that that's a good idea. I believe that I'll accompany you in seeing her." Harriet declared.
"I don't mind." Laura replied, though inside she really wished she could make the visit on her own.