Guten Morgen, Leute! For y’all today, I’ve got a short little piece that just kinda popped into my head. Don’t even know what to say about it! Well, here we go… hope you enjoy!
The sky seemed endless as I rolled about in the grass. I didn’t spare a thought for the fact that I was sixteen—far too old to be rolling around in the grass according to the rules of propriety—and that my perfectly nice white dress would be grass stained by the time I finally made the long walk home. Being a child was far too joyous a thing to give up. Childhood was something that I so yearned to have in my grasp once more. Mama would scold me when I got home. Grass stains on white dresses were considered bad luck—or at least, that’s what my cousins always told me. But it was so easy to let superstition sit at the back of one’s mind when one was enjoying life.
“Hero, you’ll be the death of me!” my mother hollered, even as she ran down the hill after me. I grimaced a little at the tone of her voice and looked back at her apologetically.
“Oh, but Mama, don’t you miss being a child?” I asked her breathily as she pulled me up to my feet after reaching me at last, trying to catch her breath.
Mama put her hands on my cheeks and shook her head as she stared into my eyes. “Hero, Hero, don’t we all miss being a child?”
“I do! All the time! And yet, society dictates that I am sixteen and therefore unfit to be tumbling about in fields! It’s unfair Mama! Childhood is-.”
“A thing of the past, darling.” Mama whispered, shaking her head. “Come along now. Let’s get these grass stains out of your dress. You know full well that you’ve got to be at home to receive the guests.”
“I don’t even know these guests! You refuse to tell me anything about them!” I huffed, even as my Mama scowled a little and pulled me after her, back to the house.
“Because, I’ve been asked to keep it secret. And I intend to follow through with what I’ve promised!”
“No promise was ever made in good intentions.” I proclaimed, shaking my head.
“And you’re a little cynic.” Mama chuckled, patting my cheek a little. “Your father’s daughter, you are.”
Unwittingly, a grin broke out across my face.
“Can we make a game of it then?” I asked eagerly now, my sour mood suddenly having dissipated.
“Of what, Hero? Really, I never can seem to keep up with that ever so jumpy mind of yours…”
I shook my head. “Never mind. I’ll just ask Cook! I’m sure that she knows who’s coming for dinner!”
Mama’s jaw dropped, her eyes wide. Laughing good-naturedly, I ran into the house, skipping over the small pond in which frogs liked to sit all summer long.
“Hero!” Mama called after me even as I raced up the stairs to my bedroom and closed the door hurriedly, still laughing. I could hear Mama racing up the stairs behind me, short of breath. “You really do want to kill me, don’t you?” she said between labored breaths.
I opened the door and shook my head, smiling as I helped her to sit down on the bench across the hall from my bedroom. “I love you too much, Mama.” I replied, sitting beside her.
Resting my head on her shoulder, I looked up at her from the corner of my eye. Mama ran her fingers through my hair, shaking her head even as she smiled down at me. “I love you too, darling.”
“And yet, you won’t tell me who’s coming to dinner.” I pouted playfully.
Mama shook her head. “You need to learn patience.”
I nodded, my smile returning again. “I know, I know! And I know that you can’t tell me who’s coming to dinner. I just wish that I did know.”
“And you will know.” Mama said and I looked at her, my eyes lighting up a little. “At dinner.” She added, a grin flitting across her face as she got up from the bench, patting my head gently.
“No hints.” She affirmed.
“And I can’t ask cook?”
“I’m trusting that you won’t.”
“Will I at least be happy to see whoever it is?” I asked hopefully, wringing my fingers together nervously.
“You’ll be very happy.” Mama said, relenting a little. “Now, wash up for dinner, won’t you? Our guests will be arriving shortly and you’ll need to be wearing a clean dress!”
I nodded, watching as Mama walked carefully down the stairs, likely to go and fetch Papa out of his study. I looked over at the paintings that lined the walls and pushed myself up off of the bench. The steps I took towards my bedroom were short and yet, I arrived at the door within a few steps.
My bedroom walls were lined with pale blue wallpaper that was decorated carefully with small pink flowers and shelves of dolls that I’d had since childhood. My cousin, Iris, always told me that I was too old to have dolls but I could never bring myself to remove any of them. Not when they held so many memories that I wanted to hold onto forever. I reached out to touch one particular doll that was wearing a pretty green dress and had pretty brown locks of hair tumbling over her shoulders in sharp contrast to my own blonde hair. I smiled a little, remembering when I’d received it all those years and how happy I had been. Then, taking a deep breath, I went to my closet to find the right dress to wear to this mysterious dinner that Mama refused to tell me about.
My closet was a splash of colored fabrics. Purples, greens, blues—every color that one could imagine. I bit my lip, unsure of what would be right for the occasion. I loved all of the colors and yet, all of the dresses seemed far too elegant and far too constricting.
“Hero, come down here!” Mama called from downstairs and I paled.
I looked at all of the dresses and closed my eyes, tapping my feet anxiously. “Coming, Mama!” I called back to her, closing my closet as I ran down the stairs.
The hall leading to the front door was empty and I gulped. I quickly ran to the parlor, hoping that I’d find them there. I threw open the door and felt a blush immediately rise in my cheeks. “I…” I whispered, taking in the company that had been gathered in the parlor. “F-forgive me for the grass stains on my dress.” I whispered, dropping into a sloppy curtsy.
When I rose, Mama looked absolutely horrified, her eyes wide with shock and utter embarrassment. “You really must forgive Hero!” she exclaimed. “She just came in from-.”
“From a little run about the fields?” a familiar voice said, ringing clearly throughout the room and I gulped a little. The voice didn’t sound angry, though. If anything, the voice sounded amused. “You used to run with me in the fields. I remember!”
I looked up. “Julien?” I gaped. “But I haven’t seen you in years!”
“Surprised?” he smiled brightly and I looked to my mother for help. “Oh, you really must forgive your mother… I was the one who asked her not to tell you who was coming to dinner. I thought that after all this time, it would be nice to surprise you with a little visit and well, your mother was more than willing to oblige and-.”
“Julien, you’re rambling again.” His mother scolded.
“Sorry.” He said sheepishly and I smiled a little, regaining my composure. “Well, my point is that it’s good to see you again and-.”
“You’re starting with it again…” his mother sighed and I couldn’t help but laugh a little.
“So, I see you haven’t changed.” I said amicably and he raised an eyebrow.
“I could say the same about you.” he quipped good-naturedly, gesturing at my dress.
“Really, Julien, I’ll send her up to change into something more presentable.” Mama said quietly, clearly mortified by the situation.
“Lena, I rather think that the young man doesn’t care about Hero’s dress.” Papa spoke up and I smiled at my father a little.
Julien stood and walked over to me. “You used to be taller than me.”
“And you used to be shorter than me.” I reaffirmed. “Wherever did the time go?”
“Well, there are a good many places that the time could have gone-.” Julien started up, but with a quick glare from his mother, he shut his mouth.
I laughed. “Ever the jokester, I see.”
Bending a little to the side to whisper to me, he said, “I’m not quite sure that I’d be myself if I didn’t crack a joke every once in a while. Just as much as I wouldn’t have been quite sure that you were the girl I’d known as a child if it weren’t for those grass stains.”
I smiled a little. “If that’s the case, I must say that you arrived quite on time.” I confided. “I was just about to throw on the most ridiculous orange dress.”
“Orange?” Julien asked, a grin spreading across his face. “Why orange?”
“It caught my eye, that’s all.”
He laughed loudly at this. “Hero, I must say that I hope that you never grow old in spirit.”
Dinner was over altogether too soon. I was still laughing and smiling even as Julien and his parents left the house after dessert had been served.
Mama walked me carefully up the stairs to my bedroom and patted my cheek. When she left, I somewhat reluctantly traded my white day dress for my nightgown and crawled into bed. Just as I was about to switch off the light on my nightstand, there was a soft knock at the door.
“Come in.” I said quietly, stifling a yawn with the back of my hand.
The door opened slowly and my father walked in, smiling. “That was quite the dinner, wasn’t it?”
I bobbed my head in a nod. “I hadn’t thought that I’d ever see Julien and his parents ever again.” I admitted.
“But you’re glad that you did?”
“Oh, I’m so glad that I did!” I exclaimed. “It was just like old times again. Everything was so… easy. Like breathing.”
Papa chuckled, sitting on the chair that was located right by my bed. “It was good to see you two so happy just like old times.”
A light laugh escaped my lips. “Happy, yes! But he nearly gave me a heart attack! I thought that I might die of shock when I saw him! I do believe that he might have been trying to kill me!”
An amused smile spread across Papa’s face.
“What?” I asked when he didn’t say anything.
“Oh, I was only thinking.”
“Thinking? About what?”
“Well, your Mama always exclaims that you’ll be the death of her and you always reply that you love her very dearly.” Papa said calmly, an easy grin resting on his face. “That being the case, I suppose that Julien must love you very much.”
A contemplative smile flitted across my lips.
“Goodnight, Hero.” Papa said and I could practically hear him smiling as he closed the door behind him.
And that’s it for me! Hopefully that was mildly entertaining! I’m not even sure what I was thinking with this one! What do you miss most about childhood? Vielen Dank und tschüss!