He simply kept her too long. There was a time when he was supposed to let her go. He always thought he would–that someone worthy would take her and keep her. But that time passed. No one would care for her now. Not like John would. He was her keeper. But he was losing her now.
It started happening a week ago. He walked into her room early in the morning–well before her breakfast time–in order to collect her laundry and have it done before she had to get dressed. That’s when he saw her, attempting to pry apart the boards over the window with a flat comb.
When he took the comb away and asked her–gently, of course, he was a good man, and good to her–why she was trying to pry off the boards, she said she wasn’t. She was just trying to make a crack between them so she could see out there. She was so embarrassed. She was so sorry.
John had to explain to her–again, so gently–that she would only be disappointed by what was outside. All those men, they wouldn’t want her. No. It was better for her to be safe here with John. He didn’t tell her it was his fault the men wouldn’t want to marry her. That he never brought home potential suitors from work. None of them ever seemed worthy enough, and now it was too late. She was well past the marrying stage. But he couldn’t leave her on her own. She needed a man. Someone to keep her safe. Someone to provide for her. Now, in her late thirties, she would never find a husband.
At least he gave her children. At least he could do that for her.
It became harder and harder for John to look after Annie ever since her mother died. He couldn’t bring home a caretaker, so he retired early. Now money was tight. He wasn’t eating well, but he made sure his daughter and grandchildren would be cared for. It was his responsibility as a man.
Annie never understood that. She never understood how hard he worked to keep her. Maybe she was beginning to understand that he kept her too long. That must have been it. That was why she was holding that hammer with fury in her eyes.
Today’s prompt categories were: “Something kept for too long,” “The opposite of your political views,” and “An embarrassing moment.”
Sometimes I give myself the creeps. Didn’t have enough time to wrap this one up how I wanted, but hey. I spent a good two or three minutes of the fifteen wondering what to write. What exactly my political views were, and what was opposite. I thought about patriarchy, and a “thing” being “kept” could be what a radical/insane patriarch might consider a woman to be. A literal father keeping a daughter “too long.” That he might consider a woman in her thirties to be well past marriage material.
Probably my creepiest story yet out of the hat trick challenge. I feel like I need a shower. Hope it made your skin crawl half as much as it did mine! See you tomorrow, Reader.