Saturday, May 19, 2012

Not Tonight - Susanna Hochstetler

It was late, but Susanna Hochstetler was nowhere near ready for sleep. She stood at her bedroom window and peered down into the darkness, searching the yard and her family's stretch of farmland for any sign of movement.
'Ach, this is no good,' she worried. 'Dat's bound to catch up to us eventually... oh, he'll be mad as be! If Jacob comes tonight, I dassent go out to meet him... oh, but do want to.' Suddenly Susanna caught sight of Jacob's dark head coming through the field, between round bales of hay. Not another thought about not going out to see him crossed her mind, as she quickly hurried to her door, and crept downstairs.
She hurried to meet him in the front yard, her heart thudding away in her chest. "Hello, Susanna," he said softly, smiling she approached him. "I stopped by the singin' last night. I'd hoped to see you after, give you a ride back home, but Lettie said you hadn't come."
"Oh, no, I didn't. Caleb was runnin' a fever, bein' real fussy, and Dat was out in the fields late again...."

"He could'da called on my brothers and me. Me own dat's fields are near done, we'da been happy to help."

 "Ach, you know Dat. He wouldn't ask for a hand if he were drownin'. And besides, I thought... I thought...."

 "You thought what?"

Susanna rubbed her bare foot in the grass, shifting her eyes. "I thought you'd be at the singin' with someone else."

"Like who?"

"Ruthie Esh," Susanna said quietly, and shot a look up at Jacob when he started laughing. "Shh!" She shushed him, glancing up at the dark house behind them.

 "Sorry," he apologized, still chuckling. "Firstly, Susanna, I don't go to singin's - I'm too old. I made special the trip last night to see you. And secondly, I've no affection for Ruthie Esh. I don't care much for girls with such luftich ways -- I seen her in town one night on her rumspringa, lookin' ferroontzled, and half nockich to boot! Nah. Besides, there's already a girl I'm fond of."

Susanna drew a quick breath, and Jacob smiled. He reached out to stroke her cheek, "And she's the pertiest girl in Simmersburg."
A deep blush crept up Susanna's cheeks, and she held his hand to her cheek. "Ach, Jacob, I'm sure fond of you too."

He grinned, and Susanna's heart went pitter-pat. "So next singin', you'll want a ride home with me?"

"I surely will."
"Wonderful-gut. Now you best get on upstairs, you look schlafferich. Get some sleep." With a kiss to her forehead, he was gone, weaving back through the fields towards his family's home.
Susanna stood watching him go, grinning from ear to ear, until he was out of sight. She was still smiling when she crept back inside.
That is, until she heard the creak of her father's door opening.

"Susanna?" He asked, his eyes barely open and his voice rough with sleep. "What're you doin', child?"
"I, uhm...." Susanna glanced quickly down at her dress, her polished black shoes, and realized she couldn't say she'd been sleeping. "I went out for a walk," she lied quickly, hoping her voice didn't show her guilt.

 "A walk, at this time of night? You weren't out seein' that Henner Bieler, were you?"

Surprise colored her face, "No, Dat. I wasn't seein' Henner. I couldn't sleep, it's so terrible warm, and I wanted to get some breeze."

 Her father studied her for a moment, before nodding his head. "You best get up to bed now, then."

"Yes, Dat. Gut nacht." Susanna hurried up the stairs, making it to her bedroom before letting out a deep breath.

 'He'll catch you eventually, silly girl' she thought to herself as she climbed into bed a short while later, 'But at least it wasn't tonight.'