This just won the 1pg short story contest and was performed at the Novel Writing Festival. I’m so happy to have been selected! You can watch it being beautifully read by Val Cole at https://novelwritingfestival.com/2016/07/05/galicias-granite-short-story-reading-by-janice-tindle/
Galicia’s Granite by Janice TindleIt was the first time she had ever had brand new furniture. A gift from her cousin and cousin-in-law. A beautiful maple dresser with a large mirror and nightstand. The mirror reflected the light as it came into the room through the window with the paisley drapes and sheer white curtains. It was a far cry from the stark room of the family farm in Poland.
The passage by ship had been horrible, but seeing the Statute of Liberty and walking through Ellis Island was the greatest day of her life. She was home. Home to stay. That night, she put her Bible on the nightstand, turned out the light and thanked God for all her blessings. She offered thanks for her escape from Poland before the Nazi soldiers seized her family home.
At just fifteen years old, it had been difficult to leave her family behind, but, staying under the threat of war and death or even torture was more terrifying. Even the lice, dysentery and hunger on the ship was more agreeable than the idea of coming face-to-face with a Nazi beast. And her parents most certainly knew what would become of her if she stayed. Her skin was sun-bronzed. Her hair shone like melted chocolate. Her eyes sparkled like blue topaz and when she spoke, she put everyone into a sweet, sweet fantasy that only she could create. Yes, her parents knew that the first soldier who saw her would take her away, so they made the ultimate sacrifice and sent her away from their own eyes, but never from their hearts.
After she said “Amen.” she whispered her new American name, “Lucy.” She crinkled her nose. She didn’t feel like a “Lucy.” Ludwicka was the her name. Sometimes her parents called her “Luddy” for short, but since she could not speak, read nor write in English and the man at Ellis Island couldn’t pronounce nor spell “Ludwicka, he declared her “Lucy” and that was that. At least here, under this roof, she would be who she was always, in name and in spirit.
Her new job as a housemaid came with a handsome landowner. A farmer’s daughter was familiar with hard work. Her beauty would do the rest. She was in.
No complaining, ever. Momma said. Becoming the mistress of the manner was all but done.