June 22nd, 1631:
It has been slightly more than a year since we've arrived in the colonies, Alaizabel and I. We were supposed to find freedom from England, here, in this place. I'm still searching.
June 25th, 1631:
Perhaps I should explain the previous entry. I was in a rather ornery mood, you see. I'm sure you'll understand.
Alaizabel, whom which I met a year ago on the flagship "Arbella," had to be the most lovely person I have, and, most likely, ever will see in my entirely short lived life. Not only was she absolutely beautiful physically, but somehow Alaizabel possessed the ideal personality that every parent and husband would long for. I myself am most certainly not anything near to perfection as she, and it was by pure happenstance that I discovered her on that ship.
It was curious, to say in the least, to see such the docile creature embarking on a life-altering passage through the Atlantic and into the Colonies. Even curiouser, though, to see her without any parents.
I spoke to her, inquiring why she was here without any guardian. I examined her face as she straightened herself, placed a hand on the railing, and turned towards me. She must've been my age at that time, sixteen, maybe seventeen, at the most. Her eyes crinkled with laughter, and her lips turned upwards into a smile that I had so often tried to achieve in my mirror. The only words that passed her lips were something along the lines of "escape".
I didn't bother to ask her what she was supposedly "escaping" from; I just knew that this was a girl that I could trust. After a moment, I replied with a small, half-amused, half-happy smile, and a warm "it is such a pleasure to meet you." I am positive she heard the jest in my voice, for she laughed heartily, as did I.
The happiness in that memory was easily shattered, though, for when we arrived upon the shores, her smile drooped, and the constant lightness in her step weighted down. I knew not why, but she fled southwards, into land unexplored. It was not the fleeing with reckless abandonment that has tortured me, but the fact that she fled with reckless abandon without me.
To this very day, I remain here, waiting for the opportune moment to follow Alaizabel's path. It has been a long time since I've seen her, but I came here for the same reason she did. I escaped my suffocating parents like she did. Even if I will never match her amazing spirit, I still share her ideals. What if she is in a wonderful, glorious place, now that she left without me? "We were supposed to find freedom from England in this place. I'm still searching." Yes, I said that... But I'm not even sure I'll find it anymore.
June 29, 1631:
I found my quaint little cabin nestled snugly in a grand forest that bordered the colony. It was two days after we'd struck land, and it was after running in a blind frenzy in search for Alaizabel that I stumbled upon an abandoned cabin in the very forest I'd lost myself in. I crept up the cobbled pathway with the utmost caution, pushed gently upon the door, and found that it swung open on its hinges with ease.
Inside, I found a cot, a warm hearth, and basic furniture. As I walked in further, peered through the window, there lay a small garden of plants. Truly, it was a blessing, for I was weary with hunger and cold. I remained there for two additional days, and no sign of the previous occupant had I seen.
I wondered if it had been the Indians who got the owner. It matters not. I do not fear Indians. I do not fear death.
I wandered around, exploring the forest with a childlike curiosity when lo-and-behold; I found the very city (within the colony) that I had been searching for. Granted, it did resemble something of a village, but it was refreshing to encounter so many people after the past week of exploration.
I must've appeared as though I had visited the Devil and come back, for they fawned over me as if I needed help, when all I needed was a clean dress. I quickly explained to the people the outline of my situation, and was able to live in my cottage and visit the village often. I learned the pathways of the forest quickly, and was able to sell various plants I either grew or had found for curing ailments. People seem drawn to these plants, as though they are a miracle from above, but I am skeptical of their silly notions.
The truth is a queer thing. I only told them of the passage there and of my wild blundering through the forest, and that was all they needed. The credulous village women absorbed the story like a sponge, and helped me without question of my parents, nor how I survived. Sometimes the bare facts are all people need; the entire truth is hardly valued anymore. Perhaps it isn't the village women who are to question. Perhaps it is I who knows not of the truth. Truth is a shifty thing, indeed.
I don't think I will remain here much longer. I believe that the day I follow Alaizabel is coming. I don't want to remain in this place any longer. Why am I still here? Rather, what is holding me back?
July 1, 1631:
Sometimes I visit Sunday's church gatherings. In England, I was a pious, respectable daughter of God, but of late I cannot describe myself as such. Perhaps I'll be smote in the afterlife for my sinful ways, but that day is long to come.
Today was an exception, and I took the brisk walk to the dainty church house. I had come to hear the preacher's son's sermon. Today was his first experience following his father's footsteps. I sat patiently and listened, realizing he did indeed do very well, possibly surpassing his father's high standards. I congratulated him afterwards, saying "you did very well" and such praise. He looked at me oddly, and a smile blossomed on his face. I realized that he couldn't be more than four years older than me. "Thank you. I don't believe I've seen you before," he said.
"I don't visit often. Just came to see how well you fared," I said placidly.
A rather queer expression of mixed surprise and laughter took up his features. "And how did I fare, miss?"
I smiled broadly, and replied, "Very well." The conversation trailed off after that, and I decided it was well past time to take my leave. "I must be leaving now, if you'll excuse me."
His smile drooped slightly, but he persisted, "Of course. Will you be visiting again anytime soon?"
It was my turn for my smile to quaver. I thought about my chase after Alaizabel, my only friend in this world, and responded, "I don't think so." His sad expression made my smile drop altogether.
His mouth formed a small "o," and I hesitantly turned and began to take a step. He quickly blurted out a series of words I deciphered as: "Might I know your name?"
I paused, and looked over my shoulder at the young man. He eyed me expectantly, as if his life depended on my answer. But he wouldn't need my name. I wouldn't be coming back here, if I ever found it in myself to leave.
Without responding, I turned my gaze ahead of me again, and walked away without looking back once.
July 4, 1631:
Today was the day. I packed the bare essentials for the long journey through the New World, into lands unknown. It had taken more than a year for me to prepare my mind to leave, for I had naught a material nor person to hold me here. I figured that I cannot remain here, always wondering "why". "An unfulfilled life is the greatest sin," I heard once, though cannot recall from where.
It is a difficult thing, storing away items for survival in the wild, for a journey that could, very possibly, be fruitless. I do not know what truly happened to Alaizabel. Perhaps she merely went crazy, and ran because of that. Perhaps she died before she reached her Utopia. Perhaps her body is lying in the woods as I write, buried under a year's worth of soil.
Perhaps I am crazed for entertaining the notion that she could still be alive, and that I can find the Utopia she might've. None of it matters; I don't pay mind to rational thought anymore. I am positive there are rumors being spread by gossiping villagers as I speak, questioning my sanity.
I was jerked out of my thoughts when I heard a rapping on my door. It was strange, to say nonetheless, for I had never gotten a single visitor. I rose to my feet, walked towards the front entrance, and opened the door. My mouth fell open on its own, my bottom jaw dangling by the hinges. It was the preacher's son.
He presented me a tight smile, and then glanced over my shoulder, at the small, burlap sack of various items I would need. "Going anywhere?" He asked suddenly.
I closed my mouth and let my eyes dart to the floor, near his feet.
Boots. He wore boots.
I nodded abruptly. There wasn't a single reason he should be here; I didn't know his name, even.
"Where," he asked skeptically, "are you going?"
I felt small and stupid. How was I to respond to such a question without sounding like a complete imbecile? I couldn't. It sounded stupid, even to me. I was chasing after a dead dream.
I don't know where I am going, I wanted to say. Oh God, I don't know what I am doing anymore! Then I wanted to say in reprimand to myself, You idiot, why consider talking to God? Why talk to God at all? He isn't there anymore!
I felt like crying, and fell to my knees. I could feel the tears welling behind my tightly shut eyes. I buried my head in my hands, and let the tears roll down my cheeks. He didn't comfort me, kneel and wrap his arm around my shoulder, anything. He just stood there while I broke down. It seemed like a long, long time before I stopped. I just let the tears wipe me clean and fresh. I glanced up through my eyes red and watery with crying, and saw his boots again.
They were made of a dark brown, leathery material, with a nice buckle.
I rose to my feet, wiped the last tear from my eye with the back of my hand, and sighed dejectedly. "I'm not going anywhere," I whispered.
He smiled then. "Good."
I then realized that he didn't know my name, nor did I know his. He seemed to realize this, too, for he repeated the very question like he had back at church.
I wondered what to say. No one had said my name for a year, since Alaizabel had run away... Run away. That didn't sound quite so valiant anymore.
I could hardly remember my name. I think it was "Rebecca," or something of the sort; I didn't like that name anymore, and decided it was time for change. I was a new person, a new girl. I glanced back at my calendar, and it read "July 4th". It was my birthday. I was 17.
And then I had it. The name I wanted.
"Alaizabel," I said, and my smile broke through the sadness like a beacon of light breeching the storm clouds. Like a beacon from God. "Alaizabel."