So, since I happily “finished” my story, I’m here to give you sneak peeks from it. 🙂 😉 It still needs a lot of work and TONS of editing but you guys will love my failures in writing, right? I hope so…. Laugh along side me at my, uh, mistakes. XD
It was a cool spring evening. Birds sang quietly as they perched in the tall trees. Large fluffy clouds floated lazily through the deep blue sky. A gentle breeze picked up the soft fragrances of flowers and brought them through the open windows of a small house. Laughter and chatting, coming from a family sitting around a large table, mingled together and gave a peaceful, joyous feeling to the casual evening.
The five Peterson children laughed merrily while their parents looked on with gentle, happy smiles.
“Can we go over everything that’s going to happen again?” Lisa asked with a furrowed brow. “I just want to be sure that I understand everything.”
“Sure, Honey.” Mrs. Peterson said with a slight smile. “Okay, where do I start? I guess at the beginning…so your Grandma and Grandpa paid for a trip for me and your father to go to an island. It’s a long ways away from here.”
Mr. and Mrs. Peterson slipped away towards their plane and the children were left standing beside their Uncle Bruce.
An hour later, Susan and Harmony stumbled back to the house, and headed towards the kitchen to get some tea to calm their aching stomachs.
As they stepped through the kitchen door, they saw that Bruce was on the phone. His voice was sad and his brow furrowed in concern. The girls stepped back and waited until he set the phone down.
“Hey, is everything okay, Dad?” Susan asked.
Bruce stared absentmindedly into the distance and didn’t respond to Susan’s question. When Susan repeated her question, he looked as though he had been awoken from a trance.
“Dad, are you okay?”
Bruce sighed and shook his head. “No, not really. Can you girls assemble everyone else? We need to talk.”
Harmony’s already pale face turned as white as paper. Every muscle in her body started to shake, leaving her feeling panicked and afraid.
When Harmony had walked through that same door half an hour earlier, she had been a carefree, joyful girl. Now she was crushed and broken. A black fog seemed to surround her mind, whispering lies and terror into her heart.
Harmony stepped through the door and looked around her. The house had a cozy, clean feeling. She saw a cinnamon candle burning brightly on the kitchen counter. She stood, still and unsure of what to do, in the doorway while the woman and her uncle talked for a few moments. Bruce brought the three boxes of Harmony’s belongings into the Jones home. He took them to the room that Arleta Jones had designated to be Harmony’s. After everything was in place, Bruce turned his young niece to bid her farewell.
Once Harmony had retreated to her own space, Arleta turned to her husband.
“I’m worried about her.” She sighed. “Did you see the look in her eyes?”
Peter nodded. “Her eyes were like stone. There was no feeling, nothing in them.”
As soon as Harmony was out of the sanctuary, she ran to the bathroom. She put her hands on the rim of the sink and sobbed loudly. There was no one in the bathroom, but even if there had been, she wouldn’t have cared at all. The ends of her long hair dangled in the sink. Suddenly, the door creaked open. Harmony was startled and looked towards the intruder with large, pained eyes.
“Are you okay?” The gentle voice of a girl asked.
Harmony studied the smiling, yet concerned, face of the girl. She was beautiful. Her hair was a lovely auburn. She had shining eyes that matched. Her tall, thin figure moved gracefully towards the miserable girl standing in front of the sink. Harmony suddenly felt shy and lowered her gaze.
“I’m fine.” Harmony lied. “The song just…just…reminded me of myself, I guess.” More hot tears gushed from her eyes and her shoulders heaved up and down.
“You know, the song is true.” Kaitlin said gently. “God is great enough to heal our broken hearts.”
“I used to believe that.” Harmony said sadly. “I used to think that God was powerful enough to do that. But in the last week or so my faith seems to have disappeared. God seems so far away from me! I tried to pray last night and it was…cold, you know? He is so far away. He can’t possibly hear what I say.”
Kaitlin smiled. “He’s not far, Harmony. Your sorrow just blinds your eyes so that you cannot see him.”
“I wish people would stop telling me that everything will be okay.” Harmony said to herself. “People think that just saying, ‘I’ll pray for you. Don’t forget that God is in control of your life’ will make everything better for me. God doesn’t care anymore. If he is in control like everyone keeps saying, it certainly doesn’t seem like it.”
She climbed into bed, fully dressed, and lay awake, watching the alarm clock that stood on the nightstand beside her bed. The minutes ticked away slowly. She heard Peter and Arleta head to their bedroom for the night. When she was sure that they were asleep, Harmony quietly crept out of bed. She grabbed a flashlight and the slip of paper. Opening her window just enough to slip through, she disappeared into the darkness.
I don’t care about anything anymore. All that I loved is gone. Why not just give up? This is better than lying awake all night, crying and thinking about my family.
“Harmony?” Arleta laid her hand on the girl’s forehead. “Are you okay?”
“Not really.” Harmony mumbled yanking the blanket up over her chin. “I feel sick. I can’t get out of bed today.”
“Are you coming down with the flu?”
“Yeah, I think so.” Harmony lied.
As soon as Arleta had left the room, tears began to make their way down Harmony’s pale cheeks.
I’ve really lost everything now. I’ve lost my family, I’ve lost my dignity, I’ve lost my faith. I’ve lost everything I believed in. There isn’t anything left to live for. I just want to die! God, if you are even there, just let me die. Couldn’t you just grant me this one request? Just let me die, please. I don’t care about anything anymore. Just let me die. Let me die…
Harmony still went to church, but she tried to avoid Kaitlin. She was too ashamed to be around the gentle girl. Deep in her heart, in the place that she herself would rarely venture, she believed all the hurtful words that people would hurl at her. She believed that she was worthless, stupid, ugly and that she would never amount to anything other than a failure. She was afraid that if Kaitlin found out who she really was, she would judge and abandon the Harmony. Harmony couldn’t bear to be forsaken by her only true friend. So instead, she pulled away from Kaitlin and ignored her.
Oh no! Harmony’s heart raced. She can’t see me here! I have to hide!
She stood up. Arleta looked at her with question in her eyes.
“Where are you going?”
“Home, Mrs. Jones.” Harmony said coldly.
Peter, who was sitting opposite Harmony, shook his head. “No, you can’t go home right now. We’re going to stay until the meal is over.”
Harmony sighed loudly and sat down again, hoping that Kaitlin wouldn’t see her. Much to her dismay, she was spotted and Kaitlin walked quickly towards her. She sat down in the empty seat beside Harmony and smiled.
“I haven’t seen you in a while!” Kaitlin said, after giving a silent prayer of thanksgiving for her food.
“I’ve been…umm, busy.” Harmony tried to smile.
Kaitlin looked at her face closely. Harmony squirmed around uncomfortably.
“Can I talk to you somewhere private?” Kaitlin finally asked.
Harmony’s heart sank. She had half a mind to refuse. But something inside of her chose to accept the offer. She sighed and followed Kaitlin away from the noise of the fellowship hall and into the quiet of the sanctuary. They sat down in one of the back pews and were silent for a few seconds. Kaitlin stared up at the wooden replica of the cross.
She turned to Harmony and said, “It’s hard to believe that God would allow his son to die such a painful death.” Her voice grew quiet and reverent. “For us, he allowed himself to be nailed to something like that and to die that way, so that we could have life forever. He made that sacrifice for us!”
Harmony shook her head and traced the wrinkles in her dress with her eyes. “He made that sacrifice for you. He hasn’t done it for me. I am not worthy of that kind of love.”
Kaitlin looked shocked. “Harmony, I didn’t know –” She began, but she was cut off.
“I don’t deserve to be loved by anyone after – after what I’ve done. If you knew, you would abandon me. You would be horrified and you would never want to be near me again! You don’t know the real me! You don’t know what goes on in the real world! Your life is all smiles and laughter! My life is darkness, misery and hopelessness! I just want to die!” Harmony burst into tears. Kaitlin reached out to hug her, but Harmony pushed away. “Don’t ever come near me again!” She yelled through her tears. “If you knew –”
“Harmony!” Kaitlin nearly screamed. Her voice was loud at first, but gradually grew softer and softer until it was almost a whisper. “I don’t care what you’ve done! I still want to be your friend! And you know what? God made that sacrifice for us all! Not just me or the other people in this church. He made that sacrifice for you as well! He knows everything that you have done – everything that you ever will do! But that doesn’t change his love for you!” Tears streamed down her face as she stared into Harmony’s miserable one. “He wants you to be his child! You are his child, Harmony! You told me that, before this whole mess happened, you knew God loved you – you believed his love for you! Remember that love! Don’t give it up just because hard times have come! Don’t lose your faith! Harmony, remember his love!”
“I have a friend who lives in Colorado. She is getting married and she invited us to the wedding. I gave her a phone call a few days ago and we talked over the details. She’s really excited to meet you! After the wedding we can just visit tourist places and enjoy the sites.” Arleta smiled.
“Okay…” Harmony said less than enthusiastically.
“What’s wrong?” Arleta looked worried.
“I would just rather stay here while you go.” Harmony admitted.
Arleta sighed and shook her head. “I’m sorry, Harmony, that’s not an option. We’ll try to make this time enjoyable for you.”
An hour later, after they had settled into their hotel room, Arleta said, “Harmony, Peter and I need to go to a couple stores. Would you believe that I forgot Elise’s wedding gift? We’re going to try to find something here in town. Do you want to come with us?”
Harmony thought for a moment and then shook her head. “If it’s okay with you, I’d just rather stay here in this hotel room. I would like some peace and quiet.”
“Okay, Harmony.” Arleta nodded. “Just don’t leave this room and lock the door after we go.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Jones.”
As soon as Peter and Arleta were out of sight, Harmony grabbed the room key and left the hotel.
Harmony turned around and attempted to remember the way back to the hotel. But in the growing darkness, the buildings seemed to blur together into a confusing mass and she couldn’t remember where she had come from. Hot tears of anger and frustration began to trickle down her face.
I have to find someone to give me directions. I have to get back before Mr. and Mrs. Jones get back! Oh man, if they find out that I left….I don’t want to think about it. I’ll just find someone to help me….
She glanced in all directions but the streets were fairly empty. She moaned in anger and frustration and leaned back against a building.
The woman said nothing, but carefully looked Harmony over. Harmony squirmed around nervously. She felt exposed and ashamed. She wondered, with a shudder of horror, if this woman could see right into her heart.
Felicia sighed. “I think I know someone who might be able to help you. Can you come to this park tomorrow around 3:30?”
“Sure.” Harmony said quickly. Inside, though, she was racking her brain trying to figure out how she would get away from the Jones without them noticing.
“I’ll give you directions back to your hotel. In fact, I’ll walk there with you.” Felicia said softly.
A few minutes later, Harmony leaned over to Peter and asked, “Mr. Jones, can I get something from the car? I forgot my camera there and I really want to take some pictures of the people after the wedding is over. Can I have the keys?”
“Just wait until the wedding is over!” Peter whispered back.
Harmony sighed in frustration. “I really need it now, please, Mr. Jones!”
Peter slowly took they keys from his pocket. “Fine, go get your camera. But don’t be gone too long. You’ll miss the wedding!”
“I need to stop by the bathroom, too.” Harmony whispered, hoping to buy as much time as possible.
Harmony slipped quietly out of the church. She unlocked the car, grabbed her backpack and then stuffed the keys into her pocket. She slipped her backpack on and then ran as fast as she could towards the park.
“I want you to remember that you are priceless.” David dropped the gift into Harmony’s hand and then, without another word, he stood up and walked away. Harmony stared at the glittering piece of jewelry for a moment and then jumped up.
“David, you can’t give this to me!” Harmony called, running after him.
David turned around and called loudly, “Remember, you are priceless!” A moment later, he was gone.
“Jesus, I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I’m sorry for lying to Mr. and Mrs. Jones, I’m sorry…. I’m sorry for everything. I’m so, so, so sorry!” Tears chocked Harmony’s voice. “Please forgive me. I know I don’t deserve it at all but my friend Kaitlin said that….that you still love me no matter what and that you’ll always forgive me. I’m sorry! Help me to change my ways!”
Suddenly, she heard someone shout, “Harmony Peterson!” The voice sounded very angry and very relieved at the same time.
She froze in her tracks and looked around. On the other side of the street stood Arleta and Peter, along with some people she recognized as being from the wedding party. She rushed over to them. Arleta was very angry. Peter and the others looked relived, slightly angry and very confused at the same time.
“What were you thinking?” Arleta yelled. “You ran off and we’ve been looking all over for you! They even stopped the wedding so that we could fine you! Are you crazy!?”
“I’m really sorry, Mrs. Jones!” Harmony said.
Arleta was too angry to hear Harmony’s apology. “We have been sick with worry for you! We thought you might have been kidnapped or murdered! And you just ran off for fun! Peter and I have been patient with you! We have overlooked your terrible attitudes and your disrespectful words. We have tried to love you and this is how you repay us?! You steal our car keys so we can’t even use the car to find you! This is too much, Harmony Peterson, too much!” Arleta stopped for a breath. Harmony stared at her in dismay.
“Mr. and Mrs. Jones, I want to say how sorry I am for the way I’ve been behaving lately. You both have been so kind to me and I shouldn’t have treated your like that.” Harmony hesitated. She knew she had to tell them everything. “I…I need to tell you about…something.” Peter looked at her in concern. Arleta just glared at her. “Well…I’ve been…umm…”
“If you’re going to tell us, you better tell us, Harmony!” Arleta’s eyes flashed.
“You should have told us, Harmony.” Peter said. Harmony couldn’t bear the disappointed, pained look in his eyes. She burst into tears and threw her arms around his neck.
“I’m so sorry!” Harmony sobbed. “Everything was just so hard and I thought you’d hate me and….” Her voice was lost in her tears. Peter hugged her silently.
Harmony felt like she would faint. “Am I dreaming?” She whispered. “Is this real?”
“It’s real!” Peter said excitedly. “You’re going home!”
“I’m going home at last!” Harmony said, while tears of joy gathered below her long lashes. “Thank you, Lord!”
They all agreed. After Lisa had finished her story, Mrs. Peterson turned to Harmony and noticed the beautiful necklace that she wore around her neck.
“Did the Jones give that to you?”
Harmony smiled. “No, they didn’t. A man named David Chutter did. He used it to illustrate to me that my life was worth something. It’s a long story.”
Harmony smiled. “I think I want to help kids like me to see how much God loves them and how much they are worth. David showed me that…and I want to share that with others. I know that it won’t always be easy, but somehow I feel that God is telling me that that is what I need to do. I think he’s given me this trial so that I could better help those who are going through similar things.”
“That’s a wonderful idea, Harmony.” Mr. Peterson smiled. “I’m so thankful that God showed you that you are truly priceless.”
A wide smile spread across Harmony’s face. “Thank God indeed.”