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Story [Anne of Windy Poplars (L.M. Montgomery)] The Other One We Make - mini-games Pride Challenge oneshot

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by amidalachick, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 3, 2003
    Title: The Other One We Make
    Characters: Katherine Brooke, Anne Shirley
    Notes: I've put most of the notes at the end, but there are just a few things I want to mention here.

    Written for the mini-games as part of @Briannakin's Pride Challenge. Thank you, @Briannakin, for coming up with this amazing challenge! Thank you also to @Findswoman for organizing WIP Month which gave me the motivation to actually finish this. [face_love]

    My color and meaning was Red - Life. I was so excited to get it because it's absolutely perfect for Katherine. I only hope I've done justice to her and to the prompt!

    The title and the opening quote are taken from The Hard Way by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

    Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy! :)


    The Other One We Make


    "We've got two lives, one we're given
    And the other one we make."


    They laughed at me again today.

    "Fire! Fire!"

    Pointing and staring at the hateful red apron.

    I wanted to scream and hit them and run away.

    I ignored them and took my seat.

    I knew it was no use complaining to Aunt Gertrude again. Last time she told me I should shut up and stop bothering her and be thankful I had clothes.

    I threw myself across the bed and looked up at my picture.

    They laughed at me for that, too.

    One day all the other girls were whispering about which boys they liked best and talking about the husbands they'd like to have, and one felt sorry for me and asked me which boy I'd pick.

    "None," I said.

    "Oh, Katherine!" she said. "Surely there's at least one boy you find handsome. You must marry someday, you know, or you'll be an old maid."

    "I don't want to marry," I said. "I don't think boys are handsome."

    They all giggled at that.

    "I don't," I repeated stubbornly. "I won't marry, I'll go and explore the world."

    "Old maid, old maid," they chanted, and laughed.

    I set my jaw and made myself forget their laughter. I'd meant it though. I didn't think boys were handsome, I didn't want to marry, and I did want to see the world.

    I stared at my picture, imagining I was drinking from the cool spring under the palms and following the camels across the desert.

    I didn't belong here. Maybe I would there.


    I frowned at my reflection, considering the stylish velvet hat with its brim pulled low over my forehead.

    "You're sure it's not too much?" I asked.

    "It's absolutely perfect, dear Katherine," Anne said.

    She stepped up beside me and threw her arm around my shoulders, her bright red hair a contrast to the rich dark red of the hat.

    "Thank you," I said impulsively.

    "For what?" Anne asked, turning from the mirror to face me directly.

    "For the hat," I said. "For your friendship." I swallowed past the lump in my throat and laughed. "Goodness, I sound so horribly sentimental! But I am grateful. You've helped me live."

    "Oh, Katherine," Anne said, and her voice was gentle. "You've always known how to live, I think. You just needed someone to remind you."

    "No," I said, and leaned into my friend's embrace. "I needed someone to teach me."

    All my life I'd felt so alone and different. My views on men and marriage had never changed. When girls in my classes whispered forbidden words about desire and chattered about how attractive one or another of our male classmates was I didn't understand what they meant.

    I'd heard rumors of women who loved other women, and for a time I'd wondered if I was one of them. But the thought of being with a woman in that way didn't interest me either.

    What interested me was travel. What I desired was to escape my life here and roam around the world. And I ached for simple companionship, someone I could confide in and laugh with, someone who didn't think it silly that I wanted to leave the Island, someone who might even love me a little. But the few men who approached me only wanted a lover or a wife and all the women seemed interested in was marriage and children and domesticity. As the years passed I concluded it was my own shortcomings and terrible failure in all aspects of life that explained why I couldn't seem to like and be like other people.

    I finally finished my studies and took the assistant principalship in Summerside, determined to pay back Uncle Henry and Aunt Gertrude for every cent I'd cost them. I grew more bored and lonely and bitter. I still dreamed about the camels and the spring in the desert, the world that lay out there beyond my room and my schoolhouse, but I began to lose hope that I'd ever see it.

    And then Anne arrived. And somehow she - brilliant, friendly Anne full of life and romantic dreams - decided I was worth befriending. At first I pushed her away but she persisted. And when I finally gave in and let myself trust her, I felt that a whole new world had opened up to me.

    She wasn't like anyone I'd ever met. True, she was engaged and madly in love with her Gilbert, and her dearest wish was to settle down and raise a family. But she had an imagination and she knew how to listen and she understood me in a way no one ever had.

    When I confessed that I didn't want marriage or a lover, that I wanted to travel and see the world, she didn't laugh or think it unusual. She encouraged my dreams, and she was so certain in her belief that I could pursue them and live the life I wanted to live that I started believing it too.

    I looked into the mirror again and tilted my head to view the hat from another angle. With Anne's arm still around my shoulders I smiled at our reflection.


    I paused in the narrow cobblestone street to take a closer look at a display of bright silk shawls embroidered with colorful flowers.

    I let my hand slide over the soft fabric, admiring the exquisite needlework, until one shawl in particular caught my eye. It was a beautiful scarlet, trimmed with fringe in the same glorious red and flowers in shades of pink and yellow and orange.

    The elderly woman selling the shawls smiled and nodded as I held up the red one. Together, with my meager Spanish and gestures and smiles, we negotiated a price and I handed over my money.

    I thanked her and carefully tucked the heavy silk under my arm, preparing to go on my way, but she held up one finger. She removed a rose, red as my new shawl, from a box on the ground next to her and handed it to me.

    I reached for more coins but she shook her head and smiled again.

    "Preciosa," she said.

    "Gracias," I said, and I reached for her hand. "Gracias, señora."

    Later, with my new red shawl wrapped around me and the rose tucked behind my ear, I thought again of the woman's kindness, just one among dozens of kindnesses I had encountered in my travels so far. People could be interesting after all, these strangers I passed in foreign streets with their own lives and stories and languages. I had begun to truly understand that all of us, everywhere, were making our own journeys through the world in our own ways, and I couldn't wait to share my thoughts with Anne in my next letter.

    But for now, I revelled in being here, standing on the Spanish shore with Africa somewhere across the water and beyond that India, the Silk Road, the Orient. I might never find the desert spring from my childhood picture. But I would find strange, wonderful, new places filled with sights I couldn't yet imagine. My body tingled with the possibilities.

    The breeze blowing off the Mediterranean grew cooler as the sun sank below the horizon, casting gorgeous hues of red and orange across the sky and making the water shimmer like fire.

    Overcome with joy, I threw back my head and I laughed.


    Up until a couple of years ago I'd never heard about asexuality in humans. I don't even remember where I first saw it, but I came across an article or a blog post or something, and when I started reading something clicked. It was kind of comforting to realize this was me and there were other people out there like me. As soon as I saw this challenge and the first person POV I knew I wanted to write an asexual character, and I knew that character was Katherine Brooke.

    Anne of Windy Poplars
    has always been my least favorite of L.M. Montgomery's Anne books but I loved Katherine from the first time I read it. I knew her. She was a kindred spirit, as Anne would say. She's a minor character who only appears in this book, and only in about three chapters and a handful of other mentions, but I identify so strongly with her. She didn't want romance or kids or all those things we're automatically supposed to want, she just wanted to travel. I even had a picture like hers (mine was a Mediterranean villa with palm trees and water) and I used to watch the Weather Channel's international forecast and look at all the city names and just daydream about seeing them. So Katherine has always been close to my heart.

    The red apron and the kids yelling "Fire", the red velvet hat, Katherine paying back her aunt and uncle for raising her, her friendship with Anne, and her picture are all from the book. She also says in the book that she doesn't want marriage or a lover. I just took those elements and ran with them.

    The final section is my headcanon that Katherine did indeed get to travel and "know, not just believe, that the world is round", as she puts it. Her shawl is a flamenco shawl. This part of the fic is set in southern Spain because I feel like that would be a realistic destination for a single woman just starting to venture into the world in the late 1800s/early 1900s, Andalusia is the kind of word that makes me shiver because it just sounds like magic and I think she'd feel the same way, and I had a 'beach moment' of my own watching the sun set on a deserted beach in Malaga, which was one of the most beautiful and profound moments of my life. I'm also a sucker for beaches and sunsets in general. :p

    I think that's everything. Thank you again to @Briannakin for hosting this challenge, and if you've made it this far, thank you so much for reading! [:D]
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2020
    TheRynJedi, Kahara, Tarsier and 3 others like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    You did an excellent job capturing Anne's lovable, vibrant personality!!!!!!!! Katherine's dilemma and feeling like she wasn't like anyone was well portrayed. I am very glad she finally got to travel and experience the exotic and unique in other parts of the world.
    Kahara, amidalachick and pronker like this.
  3. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Glorious and so evocative of her personality without a reader even knowing her at the beginning, and knowing her well at fic's end.=D=
  4. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    I adore this so much. It's been ages since I've read a LMM book and I've only read a few, but I still feel like I know Katherine from this fic. The way you describe her spirit and personality are just as vivid and full of life as the colour you got in the challenge.
  5. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Mar 3, 2001
    This is so beautiful -- appropriately so for the prompt! @};- The snapshots of Katherine's life capture such a clear sense of where her character came from and where she is going. (Off into the great unknown! [face_dancing])

    She sure began with isolation even before realizing she wanted different things from her classmates. Her aunt and uncle don't sound like the most warm and fuzzy people, and the kids in her school definitely zeroed in every vulnerability as kids are prone to do. It's really sad that she didn't have anyone who understood why she might want a different life than what was average on her island home -- or at least not for a long time.

    Really pretty imagery, and I love how the memory of the picture as a kind of touchstone comes back later when she is out seeing the world after all! :)

    I really like how we get enough of a picture of her friendship with Anne that it has so much of a sense of history and depth to it, even though I've actually never read the book! It's really wonderful that Katherine was able to find a kindred spirit of sorts in Anne, someone who supports her wanting to make a life out of travel and adventures and who is just thrilled to see her on the road to all that.

    And the red scarf! It sounds lovely, and I like how she's able to become more attuned to the kindness of people like the vendor -- maybe that the step she took in trusting Anne has made her more able to see the good in people in general.

    This is such a great ending, I really like how bright and glowing it is both in the landscape and in Katherine's mind too! =D=
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  6. TheRynJedi

    TheRynJedi Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 20, 2018
    My memories of LMM are hazy, I remember the first Anne book, and liked it, so my Grandma sent me the next few books. But my interest waned as Anne aged (I was 12). I have a vague recolection of this character, but wether I had remembered her or not, you wrote so evocatively that I got to know her immediately.

    It also helps, I guess, that my stepdaughter is very much the same. She is Ace/Aro, and last year she joined the Air Force and is out seeing the world. She is a ground mechanic stationed at Kadena AFB in Okinawa and is perfectly happy being single. (Well, she could be happier, she’s currently confined to the base because of the pandemic and hasn’t been able to go explore like she hoped she would)
  7. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Feb 27, 2014
    What a beautiful little character study and portrait of a friendship! I don’t know LMM’s work at all, but Katherine’s determination, self-knowledge, and love of life really shine through, as does Anne’s acceptance and friendship and willingness to understand her friend just as the way she is, even though the two women are pretty different from each other in some ways. I love the way you worked in the red theme all throughout the story, making the red apron, hat, shawl, rose, and dusk sky all emblematic of Katherine’s love of life. And as @Kahara notes, Anne’s friendship seems to be instrumental in bringing out that love of life. @};- Thanks for sharing this lovely vignette with us! =D=
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Oh wow! So. I had to step back from this and figure out how to leave a reply that would really, really capture how much this vignette hit me and struck hard! I don't know if I've quite managed that, but I'm going to try my best!

    In short, this was a wonderful character study, full of life and endless possibility for dear Katherine. I love her coming to know herself, and thus the world around her, all the better as she grows and explores.

    Yet, I particularly enjoyed . . .

    Oh Katherine! :( I never read past Anne of Avonlea - which I honestly should fix! - but I remember Anne and her poor hair color giving her such grief. Of course she's going to see a kindred spirit in Katherine, no matter how much Katherine may first resist. [face_mischief]

    (And then yikes children never change - you think they'd grow out of this particular mantra already. o_O)

    Right here. Right here I went from feeling for Katherine to really understanding Katherine. (I appreciate how much you were able to say on a personal level in this story - I'll confess that I've had similar realizations myself over the years and this really, really hit deep. [face_love])

    I LOVED this visual! And Katherine owning that she loves such a bright, joyful color thanks to her bright, joyful friend. [face_love]

    Oh Anne. I could completely see every bit of her in this. [face_love]

    And I was just so happy for Katherine here that my grin split my face and I just couldn't stop smiling.

    This was GORGEOUS! I love that Katherine is traveling, living out her dreams the way she wants to live them! The more you see of the world you really realize how very connected we are; we're all living and loving in our own ways, with our own stories to tell, no matter the divides between culture and nationality. This was so, so spot on poignant and special. [face_love]

    A beautiful ending for a beautiful story!

    Again, I can't say how much I enjoyed this story and felt it really hit home. Thank you for sharing such a personal, resounding piece with us! [face_love] =D=

  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Jul 31, 2014
    This was a really nice read and it made me think a lot. Having somebody support me the way Anne supported Katherine here, I would've travelled the world twenty thousand times by now. Not on the far end of the spectrum, but far enough to have people assume that I am lesbian and hiding it (no way, would've had a GF by now) or too picky/selfish. I can see how writing that kind of a character into that era would have presented a different kind of a challenge, but the annoying sentences that are told in our youth when we don't even express the desire to date if we're not the types to succumb to peer pressure...those remain the same. And they often feel like taunting.

    I can totally, totally imagine Anne Shirley/Blythe as somebody who would not have any questions and just accept somebody the way they are - it's like a permanent reflection of how Matthew immediately accepted her with her quirks and a frighteningly rich inner world. Isn't it? :)

    Disclaimer: I read the first two books of the original series, they were the only ones translated here after the original Anne films were shown as miniseries prior to broadcasting the entirety of Road to Avonlea. And yes, combining details early on made it all very confusing. :p
    amidalachick likes this.