Fields of Barley, Vol. 11
(If you want to read this from the beginning, click on the Stories, Short & Otherwise Link above)
“I don’t understand. Just last week we talked about working through this. Wasn’t it you that said married couples fight all the time, but they work through the problems? Didn’t you sit there and tell me that?”
Heidi sighed and placed her head over her folded arms on the desk where she sat. She didn’t cry. She had cried all the tears away weeks ago.
“Yes, Mark. I did say that and I still believe it.” She raised head—her tired eyes spoke volumes. “I want you to look into your heart and tell me what you really feel. Do you really think we’re going to make it?”
Mark hated Heidi when she did this, when she showed maturity that exceeded her seventeen years. Yet it was one of the things that made him love her even more. And the worst part was he knew she was right. His heart had known for some time, only his head would not let go and face the fear of the unknown. After all, she was the only girl he had ever loved.
Mark understood from the beginning the couple had lousy odds for success. Heidi came from a farming community several generations deep. Their family cared for the earth as if it were a sickly child, in need of constant care. This hard work and dedication was in their genes—in her soul. She knew that she would work, live, and die on the same ground where she was born, where she grew up, and where she learned much more than could ever be contained in any textbook.
Mark, however, knew this was not where he would stay and live and eventually die. His plans always included leaving the small town and venturing beyond the potato and wheat fields, beyond the fields of barley to someplace else, anyplace else. Only Mark’s plan included having Heidi with him. She would finish high school the year after him, they would get married, and she would join him in the town in which he attended college, eventually moving to a large city where money solves all problems. Mark had applied to (and been accepted by) several universities in the surrounding states. He had chosen the University of Utah due to the exceptional reputation of the business school, and the scholarship couldn’t be beat. Their plan began to fall apart when it became apparent Heidi was having a tough time accepting the fact that she would be leaving home for the first time in her life. This was their main problem and the gap became wider and wider as Mark’s departure drew closer. Eventually, everyone knew no solution existed for this problem, but no one dared express these obvious feelings. These two teenagers shared a common bond that if allowed to continue on its inevitable conclusion would doom their love forever. The drives within them were equally strong, equally important, and yet undeniably separate.
“Heidi, you are right,” Mark said finally in defeat. He too was tired and needed closure on this painful decision. “I know how you feel and I can’t ask you to leave your home and your family.”
To be continued...
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