Dear Anonymous Sponsor - Chapter 8
Judith knew that rumors like this will always follow behind the scenes. It’s not just because her sponsor is generous. This is because he wasn’t an ordinary state lawmaker of Kinsley or a member of a well-known family, but a wealthy man of Waltz. Like all young people of this age, Kinsley was full of students who envied Waltz, the city of dreams.
Judith rarely paid attention to the countless gazes that were a mixture of curiosity and doubt. Her fine, half-tied black hair fluttered behind her as she walked past.
“Thank you for saying I’m pretty, Peter.”
Judith Wortherford was rather the most distinctive and noticeable student in the Wortherford group due to her neat appearance and her personality, which was quiet and docile.
In contrast to her calm voice, her strong accent, which proved that she wasn’t from Baja, quickly attracted attention, even if she didn’t speak loudly.
“You’d be better off not insulting Mr. Ans. He wouldn’t be very happy to know that he’s the subject of vain rumors at a rural college. Of course, I won’t be happy either.”
Each enunciated syllable carried a warning from her lips. Few were properly aware that Judith was rolling the amber pendant between her fingertips as it hung from her neck.
And every time the pendant was removed from her neck, the crimson red irises were revealed, casting a glow that left a shadow under her eyes.
Her eyes were still a common auburn color, nothing special. However, the male student froze in a staggered posture as if he had been hit with a cold front from the north wind.
It was unbearable for him and filled him with a sense of reluctance and displeasure. He tried to turn his head, but his body froze as if he had been caught by the opposite pole of a magnet.
“So, be careful with your mouth. Don’t spread false rumors. Everyone knows you’re the one who has been stirring the pot, Peter Everett.”
There was an echo that transcended the sense of space in her gentle voice. Red lightning flashed in front of her. Soon, a vision of a dark brown pupil twirling swirling engulfed him.
* * * * * *
“I hope you get a stomach ache that makes you feel like you are on the verge of dying, Philip.”
All the way from their campus to the town post office, Millian spoke about the boy rudely.
He was aggressively pedaling the bicycle so much that Judith, who was riding in the back, was becoming nauseous.
“You can tell those kids a hundred times that you have never met your sponsor, but it’s useless. They see only what they want to see and believe only what they want to believe. Narrow-minded and stupid things.”
“His name wasn’t Philip, but Peter,” Judith responded indifferently.
“I don’t really care. It’s not just one or two kids talking like that behind your back…”
She didn’t pay much attention to any of the rumors about herself.
The dirty and sullen gazes followed her throughout her childhood in Kilgeny, it wasn’t particularly new for her.
Her gaze, for example, was like a poisonous and fragrant mushroom.
The essence of this ability to freely penetrate a person’s consciousness and unconsciousness has the magnetism to attract others to herself, whether in a good or bad way.
Usually, one is divided into two categories. The type who is loved by everyone unconditionally and the type who is rejected without reason.
Sadly, Judith was the latter. If it hadn’t been for the amber pendant, Liselotte’s memento, that acted like a protective shield, this tiresome rumor would not have ended.
But that didn’t mean she hadn’t received insults in the past. And each time the story is different.
“Stop secretly calling me behind the dormitory, Millie. If you get more penalty points here, you could be kicked out of the dormitory.”
It meant she would take care of it and deal with it quietly, but of course, Millian, who did not understand, was about to burst with anger.
“Is that important now? How are you going to back down like that and continue to live in the world like this, Jude!”
Judith didn’t answer, vaguely averting her gaze. For the time being, either Peter or Philip will suffer from hallucinations of being accused of sexual harassment and defamation in the city.
It wasn’t strong enough to cause delusions, but it would be enough to suffer from nightmares and bed wetting every night.
It’s been a long time since she’d revealed her abilities, even in a fleeting moment. She was at a high risk as no one should ever find out, but the effect was always clear.
Judith distracted Millian from nagging by pointing to the mailbox in the distance.
“I will live a good life, and it won’t happen again in the future. He won’t be getting caught up in dirty rumors anymore. Stop in front of the mailbox over there.”
“What do you mean, that’s another…”
Millian was skeptical, but gently slowed the bike down.
Judith checked the address on the last thin package. 401, 7th Waltz Avenue, Waltz. It was a familiar address that she had written down countless times over the past five years.
Swallowing bitter regrets, she mailed the package. After leaving the post office, Judith got back on Millian’s bike. The post office quickly faded into the distance.
“What did you write in that letter?”
“Just, ‘I received the greetings and birthday gifts well, thank you for everything,’ that’s all”
“It’s the thank-you greeting you always write… Wait a minute. Thank you for everything? Why is it in the past tense?”
“That’s because it’s my last letter to Mr. Ans.”
Her response caused Millian to hurriedly stop his bike and look back at her.
Judith, who almost fell off her bike, rolled her eyes, but Millian didn’t care and shouted.
“You mean you won’t be sponsored anymore? Are you crazy? Why did you do that?!”
“…Now you’re acting ridiculous.” Judith sighed and grabbed Millian’s waist.
“It’s been 5 years already. You can’t just receive donations without giving something in return. I should be able to live well for 10 years just from what I’ve received so far.”
“Isn’t that what a sponsorship is? I need to live 50 years in abundance!”
“You can’t live like a leech, Millie.”
“Hey, do you think an elephant would be concerned about a leech stuck to its foot? And what’s with the donations? I don’t know where you spent that money…”
“I can’t hear you. Don’t use strange analogies and just go, fool.”
“How do you know what analogy I used when you said you couldn’t hear me? Ouch!”
Eventually, she pinched Millian’s waist hard. He reluctantly started pedaling the bike.
However, Judith had to suffer from Milian’s fierce nagging all the way back to the dormitory.
* * * * * *
Judith, Millian, and other former Wortherford Orphanage residents returned to the orphanage every vacation and weekend, as it was their instinct to return to the place they knew as their home.
Life at the orphanage was always the same. It was a repetition of dozens of children under the age of ten being washed, fed, and swept to bed like a shepherd herding sheep.
Director Rachel insisted that there was no need to come every weekend since they now attended college and lived in a dormitory, but they always rode their bikes back to the red brick building surrounded by poplar trees.
Wortherford Orphanage was much larger than it was five years ago when Judith first arrived. Behind the main building, a new building was purchased, and an annex was made to create a dormitory with separate living quarters for the boys and girls.
The number of children staying at the orphanage had also risen from forty-five to seventy.
“It was all thanks to our lucky charm.”
Rachel sat deeply on the sofa and let out a deep sigh. She was overflowing with regrets that she had no intention of hiding on her beautiful face, which had been eluded by time.
When Judith avoided her gaze, Rachel sighed sadly as if she wanted to hear her.
“In the monthly sponsorships; donations, and gifts sometimes come as a bonus. It was very smooth.”
“The weather is really nice today. Have you seen the clouds?”
“Before winter comes, we have to repair the boiler room…”
“Spring is in full swing, Director. There’s still half a year left before it gets cold.”
“I heard that you wrote a letter saying that you would no longer accept sponsorship?”
“I love the scent of coffee…mmmm.”
Judith, who was trying to avoid the conversation, finally raised her hands at the firm tone.
“I sent it last week. Did Millian tell you already?”
“I know everything.”
“…Yes, well. I’ve been thinking about it since last winter.” She smiled awkwardly and fixed her gaze on her cup of coffee. “The director knows, too. That I’ve been treated beyond my means. I’ve been extremely lucky.”
“Luck is also a skill and a talent.”
“For me, it was a once in a lifetime miracle. It is enough to enjoy such a miracle for five years.”
A foreign girl who crossed the sea alone without knowing how to speak the language fluently went to college.
The surgery scar on her right chest left only traces and healed as if washed away. Even if it’s impossible to fully run, it’s enough to cycle around town on a bicycle.
She’s made countless friends, which she previously thought was unimaginable. She adapted to dormitory life after a while and started working part-time at a grocery store in the city two years ago.
After graduation, she had a small dream of becoming a state school teacher in Kinsley.
Judith was living a normal and safe life as her sponsor wished. And she would continue to live like that.
A lifetime in this cozy Kinsley. Judith’s lips were relaxed. Rachel’s eyes narrowed as she observed her.
“Well, I don’t think you’ve had enough of your luck.”