A damsel stands near some train tracks. Contrary to the anticipated narrative, she holds a rope –the restraint that was meant to keep her tied her to the tracks. She was supposed to be crying out for a cowboy to save her in the instant before her demise. But she knows knots, and she knows cowboys and she knows the train schedule and wasn’t about to sit there waiting for the 5:00 train to come. So here she stands, unbound.
She takes the rope and walks away. A damsel in defiance.
She meets a schoolgirl, engrossed in her reading on the bank of the river. Her penchant for learning is palpable. This girl was supposed to fall in line at her school and in her small community, but she learned too much.
Her favorite subjects are history and math, and so she understands what happens when people are told to fall in line, for she has read about this many times and her father explained it to her over many long talks. She knows the place they have carved for her and about the walls that are built to block her out or shut her in.
She also knows that the pattern 1+1+1 eventually equals too many to hold back. Too many for any wall of man-made construct. But for now she is just 1.
They chat and move along together – two defiant damsels.
They are drawn to the sound of a lady singing. This lady used to sing in the shower, a proper woman, afraid for anyone to hear her sounds of dissent. But the air started to fill with noise. Thick, ugly, smoggy noise.
She felt the world needed better so she started singing in her kitchen. Next she moved to her yard, singing to and with the birds, and she followed them to the park where they continued their chorus. She built up the courage to start walking through the city, spreading truth in the streets. Serenading any open ears she found with clean words made to touch souls and inspire.
Some people listened. They heard her story and said it was also their story and promised they would try singing in their kitchen when they went home.
She continues relentlessly, hoping someday the air will be filled with the song of truth and the polluted cloud will dissipate.
The girl thinks she is on to something. “It’s a matter of numbers,” she says.
They, and the damsel, walk for a long time, discussing and growing tired–for talks like this can make people weary.
A mother sitting on a stoop sees their exhaustion. She invites them in and feeds them. Gives them sustenance in the form of attentive ears and encouraging words.
She can see they are good people. She knows they will make a difference. She tells them to buck up. She says she has raised many children, all of them strong people.
“Where are you headed?” she asks the three.
They aren’t sure, but they know they need to keep going until they figure it out.
She tells them she will bring them to meet a woman of action.
Renewed, they continue on with the mother.
The look in the woman’s eyes is bold and steady as she makes their acquaintance. Her aura that of fierce determination.
She asks the four, what they will do with their gifts.
“I am on a mission.” she says. “Will you join me?”
She shows them a map, tells them they cannot go back where they came from and that she is determined to advance forward. They understand she is right and know that they too have found their next path.
The girl does the math. She knows from books, what can happen when 1+1+1+1+1 get together.
They keep going – looking for the next one.
Original version Published on January 19, 2017 on Damsels in Defiance