Profile PictureM.E. Purfield - Autistic Author of Genre Fiction

Just (short story) - eBook

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Miriam is a devout woman of faith, who finds herself struggling to understand the modern world. When she takes on a job as a substitute teacher, she discovers a little girl who’s been adopted by two women, and she's determined to do whatever it takes to ensure the child's safety.

However, the world does not agree with her beliefs, and she soon finds her life and faith thrown into turmoil. 

Faced with a seemingly impossible task of doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, Miriam embarks on a journey that will test her faith and morality to the absolute limits.

If you enjoyed the powerful story of faith, morality and love in Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper, then you're sure to be captivated by Just. Buy now before the price changes!

The kids settled down at their desks. I understood why they were so wily. It was the day before Thanksgiving break and thirty minutes before lunch. Sometimes they were like wild puppies or kittens. So cute but also messy and hard to control. I loved them, though. I loved being a substitute teacher.

Especially when the school offered a long assignment. Mrs. Torres was out on maternity leave and expected back after Christmas. I covered her 5th-grade class last year, too. Again, she was having a baby. The current one was her fourth. I couldn't believe she got pregnant again so soon but I supposed it was common for her people to breed a lot. In a way, I was a bit jealous. She had a husband who couldn’t keep his hands off her and wanted children. I was going on thirty-nine and so far no husband, not even a boyfriend. People often said if I wanted a baby I could have one without a man. People did it all the time. Imagine that. A baby out of wedlock? No, way I was sending my baby and me to hell.

“Very good, class,” I said, sitting on the desk. Something I did often when I wore pants. I would never in a skirt. Some teachers did that. The younger ones. Of course, they wore appropriate lengths but to flaunt sexuality like that in front of impressionable minds was crazy and dangerous. “Now, after lunch we’re going to do one last assignment and then we’ll have our Thanksgiving party.”

The class clapped and cheered. Tommy Wesley hooted in the back. He was black so I expected him to act so rambunctiously. He never got wilder than that.

“We’re going to write about what we’re thankful for this year.” A few groans. I smiled. “Now, come on. You must be thankful for something God has bestowed on you. Also, I will send them to Mrs. Torres. She would love to read them since she misses you so much.”

A few heads nodded. Mostly girls.

“Good,” I said. “You can take a moment to think about it. Write some notes in your composition book and after lunch, we’ll work on a final draft.”

They took out their notebooks and pencils.

“Anyone know off the top of their heads what they’re thankful for?” I asked.

Jennifer Hersh raised her hand. A cutie with long, straight blond hair. I nodded for her to speak.

“I’m thankful for my new pet guinea pig,” she said. “His name is Squeaky and he is so sweet and cute.”

“Awe,” I said. “I’m sure he’s thankful for you, too.”

Larry Mears raised his hand. A handsome boy with floppy brown hair and a mole on his right cheek.

“I’m thankful for my Dad having a new job,” he said. “He’s home at nights now.”

“That is something to be thankful for, Larry. A father should be home with his family at night.” And not whoring around at bars like most of his people did. “I’m sure your mother is thankful, too.”

Ruthie Starcher raised her hand. Probably the sweetest little girl in the class. Long, straight blond hair that was almost white and a pixie face. She’s new to the school and from what I heard had been a foster child all her life until recently. A loving couple adopted her and gave her a home.

“I’m thankful for my moms,” she said, smiling brightly.

I smiled back. It was so cute when the white kids talked black. Too much television would do that to a child. But as cute as it was, teachers had a responsibility to teach proper English.

“No, dear,” I said. “Mom. Singular. You’re thankful for your mom.”

She frowned in confusion. A few of the other kids did the same and shook their heads.

“No,” Ruthie said. “Moms. I have two moms. They adopted me.”

“They’re lesbians,” Jennifer said as a matter of fact. “They’re married.”

Some kids nodded. I slid my butt off the desk despite my legs weakening.

“That’s terrible, Ruthie,” I said, my heart breaking. “I’m so sorry.”

Confusion twisted her face even deeper. The poor girl had no idea what was right and wrong.

“But they love me and gave me a home,” she said.

“Homosexuality is a sin, dear,” I said. “Don’t you know that? They’ll go to Hell when they die. You might go with them.”

“What’s a homosexual,” someone asked from the back. Pretty sure it wasn’t Larry Mears.

“Enough,” I said, holding my hand out as if a truck was speeding towards me, even though it already ran me over. “Let’s all be quiet and brainstorm. When the bell rings you can line up for lunch.”

The kids sat in peace. Some thought and some wrote. I dropped down in the chair behind my desk and tried to wrap my head around what Ruthie said. I knew the Devil was out there taking souls, ruining the sanctity of marriage, and stealing children with the help of the government but I never experienced it. I never met anyone trapped in the situation. Poor, poor Ruthie. She wrote at her desk, so happy and proud. So naive.

The bell rang for lunch and the kids lined up. I walked them to the cafeteria where they talked over each other, laughed, and filled their gut. I wished to do the same but nausea prevented it.

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Just (short story) - eBook

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