The papers lay waiting,
Slips with words needing to be discovered,
A few weeks have passed,
will I find them or will I sit lost...
He hands me one - conviction in his smile...
I nod and unfold it...my grin matches his...
The cold, cruel wind slapped at my cheeks; no doubt making the rouge I had applied obsolete.
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Soft layers of cotton wrapped around my legs. I could feel the weight of the fabric, much lighter than was needed for the season, cling to my chilled skin. A heavier scarf fluttered behind my head, desperately trying to make me turn around and return to the house. It's pattern was simple, lines of deep navy, white and pale cerulean traveled from tassel to tassel. The thick threads knotting with each gust.
He loved blue.
Even now I could hear his voice.
"Who would not love the shades of heaven?" The words, a deep baritone that bellowed when excited. Then he would lightly kiss my cheeks. His rough beard scratching gently and his face glowing with love.
I always thought that if heaven were blue it would be the blue of his eyes on a warm spring day and that hell would be the blue I saw only once - so dark, so deep a navy that in its depth black at the core. That one moment, that one color, that one anger - I swore I would never evoke since and kept my promise.
The chuckle escaped my lips on a sob. Others had seen that darkness, had felt his wrath and knew that he was a formidable man. A man that did not back down from any creature. Yet when the cool cerulean blue returned they saw only the man I loved, the man I idolized and the man who had taught me of living.
Tears stained my cheeks, running down my chin and dripping onto the light blue eyelet dressing gown. He would not approve of the tears, of the sadness, he would tell me to remember that life is still right here. That standing here at this moment is proof that there is more to be done.
Dark brown mud glistened with dew. At the top of the mound lay wreaths of flowers, colors that seemed too bright, too perfect to be real. But I knew they were. I had walked among them in the garden for years, had played beside the petals and smelled their sweet essence. The marble headstone etched only with his name and our family symbol; the swan.
The breath ached as I took in the cold air of morning.
I know he is right.
But why must it be me...all alone...here?
The scarf continued to flail behind me, towards the house. Turning I put my back to the wind and looked up.
Above me, yards away stood the only home I had known. Stately arches and gardens all at once seeming larger than before. Eccentric lines, painstakingly built generations before my own, appeared too much for one woman, one girl to oversee.
"You are the mistress, Carina, you are the one I will leave Dowelunder for. It has always been yours. For in its walls life spills, in its garden life grows, and in its heart you are the keeper. Guard it well and it will guard you." At seven the words had meant only that the castle like home was a fun playground. It was a place where hallways changed, windows were more for traveling than looking and gardens where creatures I had once thought only in my imagination lived. There had been adventures, shared with those I loved and the one man who had taught me our ways.
But now, knowing the secrets he had so carefully guarded, I saw its grandeur, its possibilities and the idea that my destiny was still to be discovered.
Glancing back at the marble grave, I saw that no longer did mud cover the mound. In the seconds I had turned grass had risen to the top; deep blue green grass. Amongst the strands small bluebells had slipped in, creating a blanket of pale perfect blue.
A pain shot through my heart at the beauty but I held back the tears and let the smile come freely.
"Yes, papa, it is mine. As you were, as I to you and as we are to the day before us. I will be the mistress, I will be the keeper and I will see you again...one day..."
As the words left my lips I felt the object appear in my grasp. Small, silver and extraordinary - the quill of a Swan.
The key to Dowelunder and to the awakening day.
Have a Terrific Thursday!
"Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I just have one day, today, and I am going to be happy in it." - Groucho Marx