Living in a farmhouse with her uncle and aunt, Miranda knew all about living the hard life. Her daily routine was a soothing balm in her existence. But all that changed when she was left to fend for herself in circumstances that were tragic to say the least.
The safe route of her life had now taken a dangerous turn, and having depended on everyone but herself for all her life, she is now at her wit's end as to how to overcome her current situation.
With new people becoming part of her life,
She woke up before the sun had cracked through the heavy clouds, bathing and getting ready for the day ahead. There was a song on her lips and a twinkle in her eye. She patted her hair dry and scrunched it up with a faded ribbon. Her dress was not a beacon for high fashion, but then in a farmhouse all that was required was something sturdy and comfortable. Her printed frock ended just below her calves and was tightened around her waist with a leather belt from which hung a muslin pouch.
Her first task for the day was to scatter sunflower seeds for the errant birds that had awakened her, as usual, at the crack of dawn. She hurried down the long flight of stairs, her feet causing every other step to creak and groan. She reached into the pouch at her waist for a handful of seeds and put them in the bird-feeder near the entryway, calling out to the birds who were regular visitors in her uncle's farm.
She was a creature of habit. Somebody who felt comfortable only when she had a routine to follow. Even when she was carrying out her chores, she was mentally revising her task table. She had dedicated a journal, not to her personal thoughts or events of importance in her life, but to her daily chores and her assessment of how well she accomplished each of them.
The place she called home was a sprawling farmhouse nearly a day's drive from the big city, a place where she had lived since her parents had died in a car accident fifteen years ago. Her father's cousin and his wife had taken her in, not because they felt empathy for her predicament, but because her parents had left her a considerable inheritance, which was to be under the care of her only living relatives until she attained the age of twenty and five.
Her uncle and aunt were not callous people, but neither were they effusive in communicating their feelings. They did not have any children of their own and very few relatives. Having lived a life of frugality, the mere thought of them having control over money that they hadn't earned, or even deserved, they leaped at the chance of becoming Miranda's guardians. They brought her home to their run-down farmhouse when she was just eight summers old.
Living with her uncle and his wife required a lot of effort and adjustment for Miranda. When her parents had been alive, she had lived an easy life of a beloved child. She had been home-schooled by her mother and her evenings had been spent in her father's bookstore. During the long evenings that she had spent at her father's knee, books had become her favorite companions. She had lived like a princess with Cinderella, and had fought many a tough battles with Joan of Arc. Her dreams were dazzled by magical creatures from the mystical land of Narnia, and her wit sharpened by the adventures of the Famous Five. She had few friends because of her sheltered life, but she was a happy child.
All that changed when her parents' car skidded off a wet highway when they were on their way back home from the Annual Bookstore Owners' Conference. Miranda had been too young to understand the details of the horrific event that had changed her life in an instant, but she did understand that nothing would ever be the same again. Bearing her immense loss, she spent the next few days in a blur of teary eyes and sniffling noses. On the tenth day, her uncle Patrick, whom she had met only once before in her life, told her that he would be taking her with him to his farmhouse to live with him and his wife, Belinda.
The little girl hardly understood a word of what her uncle said to her, her inconsolable grief making it impossible for her to clearly listen to him. They left her beloved home the next morning and reached her uncle's farmhouse after a day's journey by train. Her aunt welcomed her in the house with a smile and a warm hug which Miranda remembered to this day because that was the only time her aunt had betrayed any emotion in front of her.
Days blurred into weeks, weeks flew into months, and months melded into years. Life went on for Miranda in this new place that she began to call home. She went to a local public school where she remained detached from the other children, often spending time with her books. She was mostly found sitting in the library, with a book in hand and another in her bag.
When school ended, Miranda started to help out her uncle and aunt with the farm work and the various chores that needed to be taken care of everyday. From feeding the birds, to cleaning out the hen coop, Miranda was given a number of responsibilities which she gladly shouldered. She got immense satisfaction when she helped out her relatives because it made her feel like a part of their family and their life. Her craving for acceptance and love had not died with her family's death. She still wanted her uncle's affection and her aunt's appreciation, and for that she worked like a mule, day in and day out.
Her days were filled with domestic duties and her nights belonged solely to her books. They transported her to far-off lands where she could be anything she wanted to be. She found new lives for herself between the inked pages of a paperback and she continued living them in her dreams. But when dawn broke, she was once again the farm girl who wanted nothing more than to spend the day working hard and earning a smile from the people she lived with.