Tough Potato
by: Sarah


She hated potatoes. Mostly peeling them, but never mind that. It wasn't that they didn't taste good, just that she'd never seen a potato less that 300 hundred times every day of her life.

She'd grown up in Ireland, on a farm. Her own father had even delivered her there. It was a half hour drive into the city, and they hadn't had that much time. She had been impatient, as she still was today.

She had a twin brother, born seconds after her. Jordan and Mark, they had been named. Jordan was an odd name for a girl of eighteen, but she loved it.

Her father was an honest man, hard working, only wanting the best for his family. A potato farm, however, was not the most profitable business, and they had little money to spare.

She and Mark had graduated from high school a month ago in June. The city was too far of a drive in the morning, and they had been home schooled all their life. The houses were far and few out in the country, so they were each other's best friend.

They had decided to wait on college, and remain on the farm. Their father paid for their services, and though it was a measly sum per week, they didn't complain.

One day she was out in the field, digging up the firm potatoes from the ground. She looked at them in disgust. They were her family's only source of income, but she had become sick at the sight of them, being around them for eighteen years.

She threw a few in the basket set beside her, and looked up, wiping off the sweat from her forehead. She noticed a van farther up the road, steam rising far above it.

She straightened her hair and dirty clothes as best she could and jumped the fence. She approached it slowly, wary of the people piling out.

"Hey." She greeted.

"Hey!" The man answered. "Our van conked out on us! Anyone around here who can give us a hand with it?"

"My family lives right over there." She pointed to her house. "My dad could probably give it a look-over."

"Would he?" The woman asked, relief and thankfulness creeping into her voice. "That would be wonderful!"

"I'll be right back." She turned and ran back through the field. Five minutes later, she and her father were back on the road, her dad's head disappearing beneath the van's hood.

It was then that she noticed him. Their eyes met and she blushed. He walked over to her, and she was suddenly ashamed of her grubby clothes.

"Hey," He began softly. "I'm..."

"I know who you are." She cut in. "You're one of the Hansons, right?" Sure, she lived in the country, but she managed to somewhat keep up with the latest trends.

"I'm Jordan."

"How old are you?" He asked.

"Almost nineteen." She replied, smiling for the first time. "And you?"


He was cut off for the second time as his family's van revved to life. Her father was thanked profusely for his help, which he modestly brushed off.

"How'd you folks like to come to dinner? Our house is right down the road."

"Oh, we couldn't possibly intrude..." The woman started.

"Nonsense!" Jordan's father laughed. "Come on! Get all those kids together and we'll eat in an hour!"

True to his word, an hour later, they were seated at the table blessing the meal. Roast beef and mashed potatoes. Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. She hated them! What she wouldn't give to be whisked away from this life and...

"Can you pass the juice, please?" A little girl sitting to the right asked.

"Sure." She replied, smiling at the cute little girl.

An hour later, everyone was finished their meal, and the woman volunteered to do the dishes to make up for their trouble in preparing such a large dinner.

"We better get going in about 20 minutes," His father announced later on. "We still have to find a hotel once we hit the city."

"I'd offer you a place to stay," Jordan's father answered, "But I'm afraid we don't have enough room."

"Don't worry about it," His father said. "You've gone to enough trouble already, and we thank you for it."

"Hey," He said softly to her. "Wanna go for a walk?"

"Okay." She blushed and straightened her overalls, following him out the door. She gave him a tour of their grounds, pointing out the fields of potatoes they made their income off, but mentioning how sick she was of them.

"This is Bryer's pond." She said as they came upon a small pond near the edge of the property. "I don't know why we call it that."

It was a beautiful little spot. A small, clear pond lay beneath an ancient wooden bridge. A tall weeping willow completed the scenery.

"I like it here." He announced as they walked onto the bridge and came to rest in the middle. He leaned against the railing. "It's pretty."

"I grew up her. I've lived here all my..."

She was cut off as he turned to her and kissed her slowly. They broke away in a minute and she looked at him in pleasure.

He just smiled and wrapped his arms around her from behind as they stared out across the pond.

"Come with me." He whispered.

"What?" She asked in surprise.

"Come with me." He repeated. "We're leaving tomorrow morning for America. We're going home. Come with me."

"I couldn't possibly..." She started.

"I could give you a better life!" He said convincingly. "You'll never have to see another potato again as long as you live!"

She fell silent, considering her options. One on hand, their was an exciting new life ahead with a boy she truly felt for. On the other hand, their was her family of eighteen years, her twin brother, the life she had grown up with. It suddenly seemed much more precious to her.

"Isaac..." She started again. "I wish I could. I really do. But... I can't."

"Jordan..." He said pleadingly. She turned and silenced him with a kiss. A minute later, she heard his father from a distance, calling both of them back in.

"I guess I have to go." He said.

"Yeah." She replied.

They walked back to the house silently. Good-byes were said, thanks was given, and the family trudged back out to the van.

"Well," Isaac smiled feebly. "It's been nice knowing you."

"Maybe I'll see you around sometime." She offered.

"Maybe." He grinned with hope. "Bye."

"See ya."

The family piled in and pulled out of the driveway, disappearing around the bend within a minute. She turned and entered the house, jumped up the stairs and went into her room.

She lay down flat on her bed, staring at the ceiling. She looked at the wall to her right, admiring the one small Hanson poster donning the wall.

In a second, she began to cry softly. She told herself to stop it. She had made the choice not to be with him. It had been her decision alone. She now felt the regret. Wasn't she eighteen years old? She deserved a life of her own. It was too late now though. Tough potatoes.

Two days later, she remembered his words. They had arrived in America that morning. She had never been to America, and she repented her decision with all her heart.

She made up her mind firmly and walked to the single telephone in the middle of the living room. She was home alone and had no one to bother her. She dialed the 0 button and waited for someone to pick up.

"I'd like to make a collect call please." She stated.

"For what city please?" The operator asked.

"Tulsa, Oklahoma." She replied.

"For what name?"

"Isaac Hanson."