Tis a Dilemma

It was a small town. Despite what all the other stories might say, I know that, in this town of mine, no one knows anyone. The sky is bright and the sun is high on its pedestal. There are no other shadows cast, except for mine. Me, with my vivid purple sundress and a silver belt. Bare feet, of course. My soft brown hair that has been hacked short.

Down the barren road, I walk. The dust gathers around my heels as I pound them firmly into the dry and cracked pathway.

I stop. Slowly I start to pivot around on my left foot. After a moment, I decide that the movement is not befitting of me. I spin and finish with a flourish (facing the same way I was before, naturally) and the most childish smile one can imagine materializes on my face. My arms are flung out to both sides. This is my show, the brilliant dance of my life.

Look carefully and you will see the hardships and happiness I have regretfully accepted.

The young woman looks at me with sad eyes and turns to the older, wrinkling headmistress beside to her. I can see their lips move with the words I have heard so many times before. The repetitive nature of their routine from the very start.

"One of these days, that child will disappear from our sight and return a woman."

My laugh rings through the empty street and I notice that it's higher than normal. The wind picks up, across this deserted home. It whispers in my head and sneers at my false thoughts.

Day by Day,

I continue to walk down that empty street, waving to the man who isn't there. "Milady! How is it that you may remain so young and lively, when the rest of us grow wrinkly and plagued by Death?" he yells.

I cry at his receding back," My lord, you are not plagued if you are willing!"His soft chuckle tickles my ear, before it is swept away by the tide.

"Mama, Mama, where are you hiding?" the lost child is calling to me. Is she calling to me, or who I am to be, or perhaps who I was...'tis a dilemma. "My dear, you are lost. Come to me when your Papa comes home."

Quickly and elegantly, I move up the stairs of the Cathedral. It is the place where my utmost happiness once began, and also where it ended. This library holds all the journals, of all the beings in this village.

Day by Day,

I shall not forget the events that occurred within these walls. I will not forget because, as I said before, I have regretfully accepted them.

"My goodness! Is this the sight I see before me?" the crone sighs with a heavy heart.

I smile, with the same brilliance as before." Come now, Middy. Did you expect no less?" I brought my suitcase in from the porch, my fifteen year old daughter dutifully following. "Where is Henry?"

Middy sags. "He is upstairs." She is the most repressed woman now. How different she was, from the flamboyant mistress of many face-less persons. I had admired her, but she saw me like the child I really was. She had been my nurse, but in the end despised me for my youth.

Ignoring the whimpers of the cat that had begun to approach me, I launched myself up the stairs. My skirts wrenched loose of their bindings and ripped. I smiled, knowing and feeling my daughter cringe. Ah, if only she was as wild as I. The fun we could have.

My love, he whispers.

I push open the shutters in his room. I tie back the heavy drapes and the weak sunlight creeps in.

My dear, where have you been? His voice is croaky from the obvious lack of use. Henry, have you not been up and about? Have you painted no pictures? I frowned, picking his hand up from the armrest. Oh, how I detested the contraption that had confined him to his seat.

No, I have been waiting for my inspiration to return. Have you brought me gifts?

I nodded my head vigorously.

He smiled.

What did you dream about? Was it exciting? What did you think about? I asked with a yearning that surprised him. He sighed and swept his arms, draped in a wide robe, in a flourish.

I saw the world in your eyes, what else did I need? He paused. But I did notice something. A grand dance, with the obscurities of the past and the present, all playing with you. He glances at me. Maybe I was just delirious.

I couldn't hold it in. The hate and love that I could not control. I wept for the lost and the revered. For the husband and soul mate that had shown the pitiless wild-child the world of hardship and remorse. Of regret and acceptance.

Henry released his hand from my hold and moved towards the open window. I could never catch you, never see what you wanted. Maybe I was so blind that I was no longer alive, he murmurs. So low that the wind snatches it away, before it ever reached me.

The wheelchair fumbled and stopped.

"Ah, I must buy another one."

Day by Day,

A soft knocking at the door interrupts the light, reflective mood. Father? The girl boldly steps forward. My child, I have returned. He waves his hand weakly, before letting it droop, uselessly.

I watch as she turns to me, an odd gleam to her eyes. Maybe...maybe she was more like me than I knew, I thought as she ran to me. I opened my arms and readily welcomed her into the embrace I had deprived her, all her life.

"Tonight, we will be a family. Me, your mother and you. Maybe Middy will also join us."

It was a small town. Where no one remembers anyone.