Title: A Change of Grace
Excerpts from Grace’s Journals 1883-1963: Part 1 of 4
Summary: Taylor ends up traveling back in time to New York in the 19th century. There he meets Kathryn, Benjamin, Joshua and Grace among many others. The story follows both Taylor’s adventures in the past and Isaac and Zachary’s search for him in present (1997/1998) time.
July 15th, 1883
Again, it happened. I was at Joshua’s for supper, and again, I was speechless. I could not, for the life of me, say a word to him. I could barely even look at him. I felt so shy.
Why, does this happen?
I’ve known him forever, we played, we laughed, we dreamt, we fought, and now, we
cannot even speak. He looks at me as though I am plague stricken, and he can’t wait to leave me.
Look at what he’s done with his life, and he dares to look at me like that? Hanging about in pubs, with women no better than they should be, drinking, that music.
I’m so confused, my dear diary, I know not what to do. I care for him, he used to care for me, what happened? I grew up, and he did not? Why can’t he see, in order for us to have a future, he must grow up, and away from the nonsensical dreams of fame and fortune?
Sigh… yet, I look at him, and my knees grow weak, he speaks to me, my heart pounds, he touches my hand, I feel warm all over. Now, dear diary, I am blushing at the thoughts running through my mind, thoughts that are completely improper… my goodness!
Dear diary, I can speak these thoughts to no one but you, I love Joshua Gage. I do. But he must change. He must. For us to have a future as man and wife, he must become the responsible person his father is. As I will be, and already am, the responsible lady society expects me to be. After all, I AM
Good night, dear friend, until tomorrow.
July 28th, 1883
I wish you could speak to me, and tell me how foolish I’ve been the past weeks. I’ve been insisting that Joshua is the one who must change. I sound like my mother. God save me from that.
Again tonight, I was treated to “a talk” from my parents. About Joshua’s irresponsible behavior, his refusal to find a “real job”, his music, his disreputable friends. While I can see their point, it is valid, he cannot provide for me, and our family, if he continues in this vein, it bothers me to no end to hear Father speak that way of Joshua.
Josh is a good man, I know he is, he’ll not neglect me, or our children, if we are so blessed. But Father cannot see that. He sees only that Josh sleeps in the day, and is out until all hours, in pubs, singing. He doesn’t see the softer side of Josh… but then, when was the last time I saw that side?
He shows it not to me, not anymore, he’s abrupt, when he speaks at all, that is.
Is it me? Have I changed in some way that is unpleasant to him? I cannot see how, I’ve simply grown up, into a lady, the type of lady society expects me to be. Does he want something different? And if so, what? I’m proper, the way I should be. I do not tolerate foul language spoken around me, or drunkenness, or irresponsible behavior. I play the piano only for the church now.
God, I AM my mother… Is it any wonder he has no use for me?!
Good night, dear diary, on that sour note, sour for reasons not understood,
I go to bed.
August 8th, 1883
Life is most unbearable. Meetings between Father, and Mr. Gage have not gone well. Father is insisting that Josh be gainfully employed within another fortnight, or our betrothal is annulled.
I agree with him, a position at the paper will be the making of him, yet I can see Josh’s point of view. Not that he’s ever expressed that to me, he still does not speak with me, not in a civil manner. He barely looks at me, and has not touched my hand, or my waist (oh my!) in ever so long.
Where is the boy I grew up with? Somewhere in that uncouth, rude, snappish, sarcastic, almost evil person, is the Josh I love. Does he love me still? Did he ever? Was this betrothal forced upon him? I think not, I remember the day our families agreed we would marry. He did not look unhappy, I saw the look in his eyes when he agreed to our marriage.
He’s the only boy I want to marry, I can see myself with no one else, not since I pushed him from the tree, when we were ten, and he broke his arm. When he told his parents that he fell, not a word said about my part, he saved me from a beating, and I knew I loved him. I’ve always loved him.
Why does he look at me with such scorn? I’m all that a lady of today should be. I attend church regularly, and live my life according to the Bible. I’m a devoted daughter to my parents. I’m proper, and modest, and quiet.
Oh God… I’m boring. Is this why I feel such dissatisfaction in my life? If I bore myself what must I do to him?
More tomorrow, dear diary, I must think about why I’m unhappy.
August 9th, 1883
I barely slept last night, I thought all night about who I am, and what I’ve become, and who I used to be.
As a child, Josh and I played together. We were practically raised together. All our time was spent with each other. Josh’s family was my family, I was as comfortable in his kitchen as I was in my own. We learned our letters together, Josh secretly helping
me with arithmetic, sneaking him his verb tenses. We fought, sometimes with bloody results, and we stood up for each other. We were everything to each other. I was never “just a girl”, not to Josh.
When did that change? When I put my hair up, and let my skirt hems down? Mother told me that men do not like such hoydenish girls, it was time to be a young lady. Was I just Lou’s age? I learned quiet proper behavior, I stopped playing the piano for pleasure. Mother taught me that music for pleasure was near sinful, that music was for church, and the glory of God.
Josh and I had dreamt of a future together, our plans had been made, and sealed with a spit promise; we would travel the world, he singing, me playing the piano for him, and we would be famous. I’m glad I never shared that with anyone but him, Mother would have been horrified, Father scandalized, I would have been locked in my room until old age took me away.
But, in a corner of my heart, that dream lives on. Why must we all conform to some vague rules? Why is individual accomplishment not prized? Diary-friend, I can’t speak these thoughts to my friends, or to my Mother, they would never understand. At one time I could have spoken of them to Josh…
Why, I barely can believe I’m speaking them at all, even to you! It goes against all I’ve been taught, all I know of correct behavior. I will live my life as I’ve taught, but I will always wonder… what would life had been like, if I had roamed the world, and sang for my bread?
Foolish dreams, I suppose, and you, my diary, cannot tell me they aren’t. This is my niche in life, and I cannot change, nor break free from it.
Good night, dear friend, until tomorrow.
August 12th, 1883
I MET THE STRANGEST, MOST SCANDALOUS, BOY I’VE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!!!
My word, I’ve never seen anyone like him before, and I doubt I ever will again!
He was just so completely different from anyone I’ve ever seen, so comfortable with
himself. He chattered with Louise as though they’d known each other forever, and he was plaiting her hair!
A boy! A young man really, at least Joshua’s age!
And putting beads in it!!! How can he not know that that is not done??? She’ll be so disappointed when she’s laughed at, and made to remove it, I hate to see that happen to her.
And HIS hair! It’s longer than any boy’s hair I’ve ever seen past age 6! Why it’s longer than some girls!! It’s lovely and soft looking, but still! And he has the oddest plait hanging down the back, that he put a bead on.
I have no idea where Josh met him, or how they became friends. I’ve never heard about him ever. If I had known anyone like that I would have talked about him all the time! He seemed to take great pleasure in goading me to an outburst.
Louise, however, was so sweet, she seems to have the biggest crush on this boy named, who’s name is, of all things, Taylor. Though I seem to recall he said it was in actuality something else… so strange!
She was well aware that he could not choose suitable beads, as he is “a boy”. I helped her choose the decorations for her plait, and in the process, was talked into letting him
re-do MY hair!
I was so uncomfortable, sitting there, his hands in my hair, even though Mrs. Gage was sitting right there, it just didn’t feel proper.
But, I must say, it looked ever so pretty, and a much softer style than I usually wear. Josh seemed to like it, his eyes softened a bit when he looked at me. Does he still care? Oh, please God, let him still care for me.
OH! I almost forgot! Taylor was playing on the piano, very odd music, but he’s very talented, and he and I played for a while. It was so much fun, making music just for the joy of it. I showed him songs, he showed me songs, he talked to me as though I had intelligence! Like I was of use!
What a strange thing that was, I can’t remember the last time someone asked me my opinion of something, as though it mattered. God knows Josh never does. I felt so free, I had so much fun, it was almost a shame that Josh and his mother came into the room, I could feel the shyness creeping up around me, the walls coming up, the society lady taking over the child that lives within me.
OH!!! And that boy, that odd boy, had the nerve to ask me if I loved Josh!!
And he insists that Josh loves me! How does he know these things? How can he say such words to me? I DO love Josh, but I no longer know him, know his thoughts, or his feelings. How can Taylor know these things?
And, dear diary, you will never guess what he asked me to do. He asked me to come
visit him tomorrow! At his apartment!! At the Dakota building! It’s so far out of the way, it’s a journey, not a cab ride!
He didn’t seem to understand how improper that was, to ask me to do that. He has some very strange ideas, and concepts. But there’s something that draws me to him, makes me want to talk to him. Makes me want to confide in him. How scary this is for me. But exciting too, in some strange way. I’ve never met anyone like him. He got so
sad, talking about his family, he misses them enormously. I felt quite bad for him.
Am I misunderstanding Josh? Does he care for me? It hurts so much when he’s cold and distant…
Sigh… I must sleep, mayhaps I’ll dream of Josh… good night,
This fictional story is hosted at Gifted Ones,
with permission from the author Sheryl.