She loved him with all her heart.
She ran to the fence line and didn’t know what to do. Should she go? Should she turn around? Should she try to talk to her family about this?
The little pig bounced around in her teddy bear back pack, nose and front feet peeking only to tumble back down with every other step. She was only four, but she had the heart and wisdom of a noble warrior. The family was given the pig for Christmas. This was the Serbian orthodoxy, and that was the tradition. Being a little child of only four, Anica only knew one thing: her heart did not want this living creature to be slaughtered for some dinner. What made things worse, the family even named him. How could they name him and plan to eat him. Were the adults all insane? What was wrong with her parents? How could she be related to such murderous and callous people such as this?
She could not understand. She only knew she needed to escape.
The farm property sprawled for acres. The grasses were long near the fence-line. She waded through it to the rickety wood border that some how kept the cows in.
She turned to look back at them. She thought it was good that her evil parents needed to keep them alive for the milk and cheese.
She blew a kiss to them and said a silent prayer in her head for God to watch over them, then turned and ducked between the weatherbeaten rails.
Down the gravel path she walked. When she was a few farm yards away she began talking to the pig. Eventually, to ward off boredom, she began singing little french children’s songs she learned in her music class.
“Don’t worry, Dragi. We will get you safe. I will sing to you to keep your mind off the trouble… Sur le pont d’Avignon… l’on y danse, l’on y danse… Sur le pont d’Avignon.. l’on y danse tout le rond…”
This filled her heart up with a little more happiness and she almost wanted to skip if she thought the little fellow wouldn’t bounce entirely out of her back pack.
She had gotten far enough away by the time the sun began to go down so the adults would not be able to see her and she would not be able to hear them. She decided to sit under a tree for a bit. She knew the town was close now. She pulled a wrapped peanut butter and jam sandwich from her dress pocket and decided she needed to solidify her plan except that she had no plan.
The street light was ensconced by a shape coming her way. By the glow, she thought it might be a holy person or an angel of some sort, but she was still a little afraid. She drew her forearm up to block the glare. Chewing still, sandwich in hand, she called out, “Who’s there?”
The jogger with a curious dog came over and knelt down next to her revealing herself from the shadows.
“Whatcha got here, little one? Are you okay? You lost? You look pretty okay judging by the sandwich,” she said and she smiled.
“Do you eat pigs?” Anica asked.
“Haha. No.. I don’t actually. That’s a strange thing to ask,” said the jogger.
“Well, my family wants to eat little Dragi here and I have to save him,” Anica replied.
“Hmmm… that IS a dilemma,” said the jogger. “I can help. I’m not in the habit of this, but my farm is right there. I’ll give you a lift home and if you like, Dragi can stay with me and you can visit any time you like.”
Author's note: Many of these stories are inspired by real people. Some of them are fiction stories based off of an encounter with a stranger or co worker and I'd often tell them when the story was published. In this case, she had actually come from a Eastern European family and when this happened, well, partially happened, she had indeed heard the word Draga often which was an endearing nickname for darling or sweetie which was what she nicknamed the pig.
The grand hall was illuminated by the morning sun streaming through the columns. They were as tall as redwoods reaching up and out into an endless sky. You could see the dust floating about in the air like a fine mist. There was her small silhouette within the forest. The round curve of her forehead to her nose and then down and around over her top lip point and her plump bottom lip and chin. As she looked up she imagined there was some color at the top of the columns. She visualized the moist dark brown tree bark fading into a green canopy with a little bit of blue and white peeking through. You could see the reflection of it in her eyes.
Her hair was pulled back into a perfect blonde bun. She had a tiara on that mimicked the pearl and crystal gem stones in her bodice – tulle hovering over her white legs as she tip toed on the marble floor shoes dangling in her hands.
She paused for a moment in the silence and closed her lids softly. Then she sat, criss-crossed her legs and slid her wrapped feet in to touch the hard canvas hidden behind the elegant exterior. The soft satin ribbons securing the torturous devices as she lifted all at once from the ground to her pointed toes arms like wings gracefully opening up over head. She indulged in the symphony in her mind playing ravenous Tchaikovsky and dreamlike, whimsical Satie. She glided and whirled around the columns – writhing in agony as well as she would burst with joy and love. She articulated with intelligent transmissions of empathy, passion and fervor despite her youth.
The music came to an end when she became distracted by a pain in her head. Then she noticed there was no one around. No one was calling her. Where was her mother? She heard a rumbling in the other room. Adults were in some kind of meeting. She looked closer and saw her mother. The room looked like a court room: the columns, the white color, the marble. It was all so majestic.
In the center, the room fell away. She could see the city street, but it was silent. Her mother’s rosy cheeks were more flush than usual. Her charcoal tartan stroller coat and voguemont felted wool hat – her hair in perfect curls – She was so beautiful. Especially when she cried.
The little girl walked closer. She was worried she would now be late for the audition. She would be the youngest ballerina to enter the company. She assumed all of the white bearded gentlemen in robes were the judges of course.
She walked closer. Her white tulle and bodice blood red. Her pale neck lay limp over her mother’s arm. She could smell her mother’s soft perfume. Her breath warm on her face and tears like rain drops smacking the young girl’s skin.
All at once everything sped up. The images she was witnessing were now moving at full pace. The elegant, beautiful woman was seizing and screaming and gripping the little ballerina, staining her tartan coat in red. The truck driver did not see the four feet of her entire glimmering self skipping happily across the dank grey New York City street. It all happened just so fast.