A Shunned Amish Woman (Anthology)(4)

By: Erica Fanning

“Are you okay?”

“No one’s ever helped me like that before,” she managed to get out between sobs. “Why are you so nice to me?” She leaned into him and although he was shocked by the gesture, he simply held her for a while until they heard cooing noises. They both turned to see that little Bella had seated herself and was waiting patiently for whatever her Mama was preparing for her. Anna pulled herself away from Mike and continued making her daughter’s breakfast. He wasn’t sure what to make of what just happened, but he decided to file the moment away for a later time.

For this moment, I will simply be here for her.

Two weeks later

Mike didn’t think he would want to house anyone else after what happened with his wife, but something about having a woman’s touch in the house was nice. Every morning, he woke up to a nice breakfast spread and every evening there was a home-cooked meal that he didn’t have to prepare.

Mike worked as a blacksmith, and since he was so close to the only Amish community that he was aware of, he assumed that’s where Anna came from. She had finally opened up to him some, telling Mike stories of her growing up years and different friends and family that impacted her life. However, no matter how many stories she told, she never mentioned just why she ran away. It didn’t bother Mike as much as it did when she first landed at his doorstep, but he was seeing more of the Amish than he used to… and some of them seemed to be looking for her.

“Excuse me, sir,” one gentleman with long, brown whiskers began. “Have you seen any… young women running about in this area?” Mike gave the man a confused look.

“I don’t know what you mean. I’m on the edge of town, I see a lot of young women running around. Can you be more specific?”

“Eh, no. I’m afraid not. Though, she would have had a little girl with her. We believe she was kidnapped.”

“Kidnapped?” This news piqued Mike’s interest, and the little Amish man could tell.

“Yes, the woman in question claims the child was hers, but we have proof to the contrary. If you do see her— she would be dressed as one of us— would you please give me a call at this number?” The man wrote a number down for Mike before the small band of them left.

Later on that night, Mike didn’t wait for dinnertime. He wanted to know if what he heard was true. He came home early and called for Anna. She ran from the kitchen, surely thinking something was amiss.

“I want you to tell me why you left the Amish community you’re from.”

So this is it, Anna thought. He’s going to find out why I left and I’m never going to see him again.

She stood there, frozen in the living room, hoping beyond hope that this could wait at least until she figures out what to do for her and Bella.

“Anna.” Mike’s voice pulled her out of her endless thinking. “I’m not going to judge you or make you leave. I just need to know why. Some people came looking for you today and I want to know if what they said was true.”

“What did they say?” Her voice seemed far away, but she willed herself to listen.

“No, that’s not how this works. Tell me your story and I’ll tell you if they were telling the truth.”

Anna didn’t like that, but she told Mike to take a seat and sat across from him. She checked on Bella, who had followed her into the living room when Mike came home.

“I have to begin by telling you that I lost literally everything because of my own bad choices. I don’t blame anyone else for what happened to me.”

Mike shook his head. “You don’t get to make that judgment either. Tell me.”

The man was relentless, Anna had to give him that.

So she began the story as far back as she felt was relevant: at the beginning.

The earliest back that Anna could remember, her Papa used to touch her in ways that she was sure weren’t right. She was told it was okay and her Mama always told her not to tell anyone, and so the touching continued.

Anna was the youngest of five children, and the only girl at that. The boys were taught that what happened to Anna was okay. Papa did it and Mama said it was fine as long as Anna didn’t say anything to anybody, so that’s what happened.