I pull the wool shawl tighter around my shoulders, bracing against the cool morning breeze. The sun is barely peeking over the horizon, yet our bustling homestead already stirs to life. Roosters crowing in the distance intermingle with the gentle rustle of leaves.
It’s been three long, hard years since I lost Benjamin. War’s cruel hands ripped him away from us, leaving me to pick up the pieces. I still feel the sting, his loss, a raw wound not yet healed. But there’s strength in me, too, and a desire to carry on for my children and him.
A commotion rouses me from my reverie. A rider approaches, his horse’s hooves pounding against the cobblestone. He carries a bundle of papers, the morning’s news. The rider dismounts, hands shaking as he hands me a paper. “It’s over, Ma’am,” he says, his voice thick with emotion. “The war… it’s finally over.”
Tears prick at my eyes as I unfold the newspaper, reading the large, bold print: “Treaty of Paris Signed – The American Revolution Ends.” Relief washes over me, a wave breaking upon the shore. The fear that’s been lodged in my heart, the dread that my sons may one day follow in their father’s footsteps, begins dissipating.
I find my children gathered in the kitchen. Thomas, my eldest, stirs the porridge over the hearth while Sarah and little Benjamin sit at the worn wooden table, waiting patiently. The innocence in their eyes starkly contrasts the harsh reality we’ve been living.
“Children,” I begin, my voice barely above a whisper, “the war is over.”
Thomas drops the spoon he’d been stirring with, a look of disbelief on his face. Sarah, ever the sensitive one, tears up, her hands flying to cover her mouth. Little Benjamin, named after his father, just looks at me with wide, questioning eyes.
Sarah is the first to break the silence. “Does this mean… they won’t take Thomas?” she asks, her voice choked with tears. I reach across the table, taking her hand in mine, my thumb rubbing circles on her knuckles in comfort.
“No, my love. They won’t take Thomas.”
At that moment, something shifts. It’s not joy, not quite. Joy is too light, too carefree a word. But it is release; it’s the release of breath we’ve been holding for so long. And maybe it’s a hint of hope, a delicate bloom.
Benjamin’s spirit seems to fill the room, almost palpable in the newfound peace. His dream, our dream, of an America free, has come to fruition. He may not be here to witness it, but I feel him in our victory.
We spend the day in quiet celebration, sharing stories about Benjamin and reminiscing about him. I tell them about the love we shared, a love that birthed a family and endured even the brutality of war. His absence is felt, but his spirit and legacy live on in our hearts.
The war is over, and life will continue. We carry our scars with us, invisible markings of the past. But there’s comfort in knowing that our sacrifices, Benjamin’s sacrifice, were not in vain.
“Whispers of the Free” is a work of historical fiction. While based on real events, the story, characters, and incidents are fictitious.
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