“Every weekend it’s the same thing,” Papa Hudson said as he stood in the doorway of Ruby’s bedroom. “Every weekend, you go and hang out in nasty clubs with those fast tail girls. You ain’t never gone find a husband that way.”
I’m not looking for one, Ruby mused, keeping that thought to herself.
Though she was twenty-five and could certainly speak her mind if she wanted to, the fact that she didn’t want to cause her father any unnecessary stress prompted Ruby to keep her mouth closed today. Every day, in fact. The quieter she stayed during his weekly tirade, the quicker it would all be over.
Papa Hudson wasn’t happy about her choice of friends or with her wild weekend lifestyle. He wanted all three of his daughters married with children. The older two got married right after high school. Ruby went off to college instead. When she was summoned home, she remained far from matrimony. In fact, she was doing everything in her power to stay single forever.
“Men don’t want to marry loose women, baby girl,” Papa Hudson continued, once again trying to convince her to permanently change her ways. “You changed your rural accent because you believed it held you back in society. Why can’t you change your wild ways? They’re keeping you from a good man.”
As usual I get no appreciation for how much I’ve changed already, Ruby thought with a frustrated sigh.
Monday through Thursday, she was a model daughter to her parents and a model citizen of Blue-eyed Hollow, a small Virginian town in the Blue Ridge Mountain area. Yet on Fridays and Saturdays, she became something else altogether. Not in Blue-eyed Hollow, of course. But rather in Cleavertown, which was almost an hour away and was a much larger city.
“Loose women end up old and alone, surrounded by hundreds of cats,” Papa Hudson went on to say.
Good thing I like cats, Ruby thought, still maintaining her silence as she packed her overnight bag. She was spending the next two days at her friend Peggy Lee Spears’ apartment as she often did on weekends. Nancy Lennox, her other friend, still lived with her mother. Nancy’s mother did not allow outside females to sleep over for fear that they would seduce one of her many lovers, particularly her longest kept lover.
“Are you hearing me, baby girl?” Papa Hudson asked, when Ruby failed to respond to anything he’d said so far.
“Yes, Papa.” She paused to look at him. “I heard every word you said. I always listen to you.” As usual, her voice was respectful and demure.
“But you never heed my advice. Hearing and heeding are two different things. If you did heed my words, you would’ve been married to Logan Benjamin by now. Probably pregnant with your first child.”
Ruby frowned at the mention of her high school sweetheart. “Logan is not and never was the man for me, Papa. Trust me when I say that.”
Papa Hudson’s blue eyes flashed ire. “Well, he’s certainly the only decent man around these parts that still wants to marry you after what you did.”
Ruby lowered her eyes in shame. Times like these she wanted to pack up and run as far away as she could get. Just leave this small town where people still lived on small farms and kept traditional lifestyles, speech, and narrow mindsets.
At her age, Ruby didn’t really have to run away at all. She could just walk away from Blue-eyed Hollow and go anywhere she wanted. Yet she wouldn’t. The guilt of what she’d done to her family kept Ruby right where she was. It also kept her trying to repay them for all the shame and pain she caused them with that wretched video.
“I’ll be back on Sunday in time for supper, Papa.” Ruby kept her eyes lowered as she spoke. Then she zipped up her bag, eased past him in the doorway, and made her way out to her car. Each step away from her father made her feel lighter and lighter.
© 2014 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier