No Family for Christmas

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Chapter 4: Melody of the Heart
(by NativeRose, added on 20 December 2008 12:00 AM)


Melody sighed as she sat at her desk with a textbook before her. She couldn't focus on what Mrs. Donne had assigned. Her mind was consumed with thoughts of the girl next door. Too bad Mrs. Donne wasn't the house mother anymore. She was the assistant director of this home. She was also responsible for teaching the middle school grades. The new house mother, Rebecca, was not nearly as sensetive. Actually, she was rather impatient and blunt, sometimes to the point of being highly abrupt. She had been hired because of her credencials, but what did that matter if she didn't care for the girls? Melody thought Scott and Alanna, the house parents for the boys, would be much better suited for the job. She sighed again as she remembered the bedtime scene earlier in the evening. At about 8:30, Miss Becky had marched into Rowena's room to put her to bed.
"But I don't want to!" Melody remembered the fear in the little girl's voice, but Becky would have none of her tears.
"Rowena, it is time for you to go to bed. I will not say it again. She had turned to leave, but Rowena stopped her with a question.
"Um?"
"what?" Becky had said, sounding annoyed.
"Story, please?"
"I can't read a story to you. You need to learn how to get to sleep without things like that. I don't have time for that!" And with that, Becky had left Rowena to cry alone.
Melody had stepped out of her room just as Becky was closing Rowena's door.
"You have schoolwork to do!" she said.
"I was just thinking that...well, I can go read a story to her."
"No, Melody, she needs to learn that stories and such aren't always possible. I'm far too busy for that. If you go in and read to her, she'll come to expect that, and that is inappropriate."
"But it's her first night here, and--"
"The answer is no! Do as you're told."
"Yes, ma'am!"
Now Melody pushed the chemistry book away and tiptoed to her door. She opened it a crack and, not seeing Becky, slipped into Rowena's room. The girl was still crying quietly, and Melody just couldn't listen to it without trying to comfort her.
"Go away!" Rowena screamed without turning to see who had entered.
"You have to be quiet. Miss Becky will hear you, and we'll get in trouble," Melody whispered, quickly crossing the room.
"Oh...what?" Rowena turned to face Melody, and the expression on her face displayed relief.
"I'm scared, and that lady is a meanie! The monsters came here with me, and I can't make them go away!" She disintegrated into sobs again, and Melody reached out to her.
"The monsters?" She just held the broken child as she continued to explain through her sobs.
"Yeah, in that place I lived before...they were there every night! And they...those big people told me the monsters would eat me if I wasn't a good girl. That lady is mad at me, and that means I'm bad. The monsters will eat me because I'm a bad girl!" She buried her face against Melody's shoulder.
"You're not a bad girl. Miss Becky just doesn't know how scary it is to live in a place like this. She lived with her mommy and daddy for a long time, and she never lived in a home like this. The monsters aren't here. Let's look together before you go to sleep."
"Okay," Rowena said hesitantly.
"I'll get my flashlight." When Melody returned with the light, she found Rowena sitting on her bed impatiently tapping her little feet on the floor. "Come on, let's look together. We will make sure they are all gone." Melody took her hand and led her to the closet. They looked in between all Rowena's clothes, in the corners and behind the door. Next, they turned to the desk and dresser and looked in all the drawers. Finally, they looked under the bed, and Melody even peeked under the sheets and blankets to assure Rowena that monsters weren't hiding there. When Melody finally tucked Rowena into bed, the little girl said sleepily, "I like you."
Melody went back into her own room, looked at the clock and got into bed. She'd need some sleep if she wanted to go to classes the next day. She tossed and turned, remembering her first days here at Rosewood Terrace.
Melody's mama had died of leukemia when Melody was seven. She had been terribly broken inside, but her hope was in Jesus. She knew she'd see her mama again someday. Daddy had died just weeks after her birth. Mama never remarried, and she often reminded Melody that her daddy had loved her. He had anticipated her birth just as Mama had done. And in the weeks before his death, he had showered her with love, according to her mother. She would see him again some day too, because he had put his faith in Jesus, too. That was what gave her hope as she moved on to this place.
Now Melody was miles away in Minnesota rather than Mississippi. People still looked at her strangely because she still spoke with a Southern accent and used the dialect, and some made fun of her "Southern charm." Or maybe it was the fact that she was black. She couldn't believe how prejudiced people still were, even in 2008!
Rowena was in the minority, too. She was a Native American. Maybe that was why people were so mean. Clearly, Rowena didn't have the same comfort as Melody. She vowed to make sure Rowena didn't have to go through this alone. She had done this sort of thing for other new arrivals. It wasn't for recognition; it was just her way. Mama had taught her to serve Jesus by serving His people. And the people here were some of the most needy. It still made Melody sad to think about her mother. She still missed her companionship and the love and wisdom she had imparted to her daughter. Still, she could thank God for allowing her to come here to help people like Rowena.

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