This week I did not write a new short story to share here, but I did find something that I wrote a few years back which I never shared with anyone. At the time when I wrote it, it was a bit too personal. But now, several years later and with a slight touch of editing, I don’t mind sharing it with the world.
The idea came from a dream that I had one night, of a life full of joy and fullness. It was odd for me to dream that way, because usually my dreams are like my stories, they have a touch of sadness or they end around a tragedy (what does that say about me, I wonder). But this one was happy and complete. When I sat down to put it onto paper, the story came out in bits and pieces, like snatches of time from different points in the same life. With that in mind, each paragraph is a separate moment of its own, but together it creates a whole.
She sat contentedly beneath the huge oak tree in the midst of the meadow, scribbling furiously away, scraps of paper scattered around her. Little hums and various snatches of songs escaped her lips as she wrote, and here and there she let out a laugh as though an idea had just come to her or a problem had been irreversibly solved.
She scrambled through the tree’s branches, seeing the world from as many different angles as she possibly could, giggling with delight. When she was satisfied that she had seen everything, she settled down on a large branch, swinging her legs and enjoying the simplicity of the world.
She picked up her violin and played, swaying with the music, dancing through the grass, loving the cool damp feeling underneath her bare feet and the swish of her long skirts as they swirled around her.
Her seat was light as she flew along the worn and beaten forest trail atop her handsome steed, challenging the four winds to a race. She clung to the horse as together they leaped anything in their path, leaving ribbons and sparkles in their wake.
She lay beneath the blazing summer sun, sleeping peacefully on the bank of a little river. Her horse’s lead lay loosely in her hand and the watchful steed looked up from his grazing every now and then to see that she was still there.
She danced through the gardens of her castle, singing along with the birds, a cheery delightful melody to the flowers. She picked up the long flowing skirts of her pure white dress and ran, floating lightly between the beds of flowers, over the creek bridge, around the fountain, to where a new life was awaiting her.
The fire blazed cheerfully in the cozy main hall of the castle. Her beloved prince sat comfortably in his heavily cushioned chair while she lay stretched out on a thick rug at his feet. Each held a copy of the same book, their voices alternating playfully as they read aloud in turn, singing a line here and there and laughing together.
The courtyard blossomed into magnificent color and light as she darted here and there, decorating and setting out flowers, preparing lamps, followed faithfully by two or three dogs, watched solemnly by a large and fluffy cat who sat regally on a bench, her voice ringing out instructions to her assistants.
She sat alone on the pavement of the courtyard, listening to the silence left in the wake of her ball, her body weary from the hours of dancing she had only just finished. The candles were burning low as she sat there, surrounded by the yards upon yards of silk and ribbon that made up her gown, looking up at the stars in quiet amazement and wonder at the beauty of life.
She lay before the fire, this time in the company of the cat, now many years older. Her pen moved swiftly over the paper before her and she murmured little thoughts under her breath, pausing here and there to read over what she had written. She could hear sounds from the other end of the hall, soft squeaky noises as her prince worked out the notes he was learning to read. She lifted her pen for a moment, distracted by the music, for she could recognize the gentle mellowness of her old beloved violin and it brought back a flood of memories. Smiling fondly, she turned back to her writing.
The crisp fall air made her smile as she carefully mounted her steed and gazed out over the broad and beautiful countryside. Many of the trees in view were a sight to behold, decked out as they were in their colorful autumn splendor, but many others were nearly bare of leaves, which alongside the chill in the air, made it clear that winter was coming on soon. She arranged her skirts, eager to move out over the hills. Her laughter rang out in the breeze as she rode, going here and there, heading in whichever direction made her curious. When the sun was high in the sky, she finally dismounted, loosing her horse to his own will, unstrapping her violin from her back and settling down under the huge, ancient oak tree to play one more time.