Thou Shalt Not Envy
My Ma died when I was six years old, so I do not remember that much
about her. I do remember she loved her bible and used the teachings of
it to warn me about life. As well as warning against men, sin, idleness
and greed she also took great pains to warn me against envy.
“Where there is envy, there is confusion and evil at work,” she used to
say. Of course when I was six years old I had no idea what she was
talking about, but her words stuck in my head because words, a faded
scarf and an old photograph were all I had to remember her by.
Pa was real sad when Ma died; she had been a good wife and left him with
three fine sons and one daughter. Pa could afford the indulgence of one
daughter and indulge me he did. My three older brothers had it pretty
tough, Pa sent them to the best schools and he wanted nothing but the
best from them in return. There would be hell to pay if one of them came
home with anything less than straight Grade A’s on their report card.
But Pa was content to let me stay at home, wear pretty dresses and play
with dolls and things.
When my Ma died, Pa hired Rosa, a young girl from the village to take
care of me. Rosa was real pretty. Just between you and me Rosa took care
of my Pa some nights too.
Apart from the loss of my Ma which was sad, I did have a very happy
childhood. I wanted for nothing. There was no danger of me turning to
envy, who would I envy?
Then I grew up.
I first saw Billy Woodruff coming out of Church after Epiphany. He was
real handsome, he looked about sixteen. I was fifteen, just the right
age to be thinking about boys.
I didn’t get to speak to him that day but I was pleased to overhear him
and his family would be attending the church dance the following Friday.
Despite Rosa’s protests, I insisted on her making me a new dress for the
dance. It was a lovely blue satin, the colour of the sky. I just knew as
soon as Billy Woodruff saw me in this dress he would be mine.
On the night of the dance I wore my hair piled up on my head and my new
dress fit me like a glove. Though I say it myself I looked pretty fine.
Several boys’ heads turned to look at me as I entered the room. I
rewarded a few of them with a casual smile. However the smile fell from
my face when I spied Billy Woodruff with Abigail George. I hoped she
would be a temporary distraction but Billy stayed with Abigail all
evening. Not once did he ask another girl to dance. He did not even look
As I watched Billy leave the dance with Abigail on his arm, I was
careful to remember my Ma’s words. I did not envy Abigail George at all.
That would be a sin. I simply hated her and the world in which she
Author: Liz Haigh
Liz Haigh lives in the UK. She writes to escape. She dreams of her
writing taking her to a better place. Her work been published in,
Apollo's Lyre, The Legendary, Linnet's Wings, Foundling Review, Blink,
Bewildering Stories, Delivered and other places.