Almost Free, by Paula Rose Michelson

Authors Observation

Everyone has a calling that only their heart hears. For some it is to forge into the unknown. Others know early on that hearth and home is their portion. Still some, like Naomi, never hear what their heart is conveying because altruistic to the core of their being, without knowing it, they seek a higher call. Once they have determined what they are willing to sacrifice all for, like the Salmon that swims upstream to spawn, they never give their lot a second thought as long as they can accomplish the illusive goal that their heart is fixated upon.


What is your hearts desire?

How will you accomplish your goal?

Who or what might stand in your way?

What would happen if_______________?

The Text

                When their session ended, Naomi headed to the kitchen to wash the morning dishes. I never knew she could be so kind. She glanced at the clock and realized that her tía had spent an inordinate amount of time explaining the Bill of Rights.
                “But, Tía,” Naomi remembered asking, “why do I need to know such things?”
                “It is one of the foundational documents of this country. It is important that you know what you have so you do what is necessary to keep this country the free place it was intended to be.” Naomi thought about how she had come to this place and silently admitted, Freedom is hard won and easily lost.
                The outside world beckoned as it always had. Instead of pretending that she did not notice, this time Naomi allowed her desire for freedom to engulf her. Her feelings of claustrophobia surfaced and her situation seemed to hem her in on all sides. She struggled to fulfill her obligation—for fulfill it she would because it was her desire to leave knowing that she had done all she had promised. Tía kept her word and taught Naomi a little about the world outside. Yet, it did not occur to the young woman that her eminent departure was on Tía’s mind until one evening when she stayed out late, entered the casa and said, “Naomi, I have something for you. Come and see.” She pointed to a baby-blue valise.
                Naomi hurried toward her. 
                She smiled. “I have a new suitcase for you!”
                “But, Tía, I have a suitcase.”
                “That is old and worn. You are to begin a new life in a new country. I intend to send you off with a new suitcase. I want you to put it in your room. You can look at it and plan. Plans are what take us from what is to what is yet to be. Without a plan, nothing happens. Always remember that.”
                “Gracias.” Naomi took Tía’s gift and turned toward her room.
                “I … I … wish you would … stay with me.” Tía’s voice was so unfamiliar in its hesitancy that it did not sound like the old woman at all. Naomi stopped but did not answer, nor did she act on her urge to run to her tía and throw her arms around her. “But … I know you must … go.”
                Naomi turned and looked at the old woman. “Why did you treat me differently than the others?”
                “Because … you are different.”
                Naomi nodded. “Tía, being here has been the greatest blessing and yet the most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I thank you for all you have done for me and for what you taught me. But I must go.”
                “I thought so.” The old woman fought to regain her composure, and forced a smiled, though it was tremulous at best. “Of course you must go … after all … you have plans. Soon you must be on your way.”
                “Thank you for understanding.” She turned toward her room and counseled herself, This is not the time for false hopes—for my family’s sake, I must forge ahead. She entered her room, put the suitcase down, pulled out a sheet of stationary from her side table, and sat on her bed. The blank page looked intimidating. After all this time, she was surprised to find herself wondering how to begin her letter. She wanted to let her tío know that she would come to him soon. Yet she fell asleep looking at the piece of paper. Her subconscious mind seemed to dictate,
                Dear Tío,
                My time of servitude and hiding is ending. I look forward to meeting you in the light of day and enjoying the freedom of this country where we do not need to fear being who we are.
                Your sobrina,

                No, she told herself, use English. Sign it, your niece, Naomi!

Matthew 6:19-20 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

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