It was rare, leaving our home.
Even more rare that it was for pleasure. I remember it being a sunny day. With William by my side and little Ruth in the stroller cooing up at us, I found a smile spreading across my face. Maybe the worst was behind us. Maybe we could be happy and have another child. After all, Ruth fills my heart despite all the trouble I seem to have with happiness. Perhaps another child would cause that glow to move outwards, and we can be happy. I can be happy.
That was the last thing I remember. When I woke up, the doctor told me that the incident was purely by chance. No one else had been hurt. Ruth and William were both unharmed. The cart had simply hit a bump in the street causing the crate of apples to fly out of the back. I had gotten hit in the head by the crate before it crashed into the street causing the wood to split and the apples to scatter.
“She should be fine in a few days,” the doctor told William, “But she should still rest. I advise you to give her a week in some fresh air to be safe.”
William decided to follow the doctor’s prescription and that maybe I needed to go and visit my father in the country. Ruth would stay with him and our wet nurse Abigail. That is when I travelled away from the only thing that kept the pieces together, Ruth. After all, the doctor said it would do me some good, and I believe in his diagnosis.
Doctors. They are so different here. They always treated me kindly like a lady when I was on the outside. Here, I am a burden. There is no such thing as a lady here. No proper societal norms. There is no sanity. There is no chance of being cured. No chance for escape, except one, but that hadn’t gone right the first time. It only made things worse. Now I am here.
Every day I begged to see my Ruth, but they continued to keep her from me. They said once I was well, we would be reunited, but how was I supposed to get well without her beautiful smile?
A week later, I found myself completely unable to get out of bed. Despite all the doctors telling me that I should be well, my body grew weaker. William and the doctors could not explain why, and I could hear them beginning to whisper about my health behind closed doors. It grew worse after that. I began to collapse trying to get out of bed. Both William and my father grew very angry with me.
“A proper lady does not act this way,” they both kept telling me. Their constant chiding only seemed to exacerbate me more, and they continued to keep my Ruth away.
The day came when I no longer even tried to get out of bed. Either William and my father would grip my wrists and pull me only to have me collapse back into bed. My frail body began to bruise from their attempts. Their anger began to grow. They would come into my room screaming, pull me up, and when that didn’t work, they slapped me. They said they were trying to wake my sensibilities, but it was to no avail. I couldn’t take much more.
I can still remember how it felt. The blood running down my arm was warm at first, and its presence comforted me. I desired the peace it was supposed to give me. But as with most things in my life, it quickly grew cold and my hope of freedom was once again taken from me. Now I am trapped here without hope of seeing my Ruth. I am completely alone.
To Be Continued…