Chapter 1 : Prologue: The First Poem
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Ever, yes, that’s perfect I think, gazing down at the baby in my arms. Her sapphire eyes stare up at me, first with fear, and then, getting used to my features, with love. A tuft of brown hair sticks up on the top of her head, and I smooth it down gently with the tip of my fingers.
She had be born in the early hours of yesterday, but still I had not chosen a name. And now, sitting on the old window sill, the perfect name came to me. Ever. My breath steams up the frosted window, so I wipe it with my sleeve and peer through the glass towards the snow covered garden. I see my husband and two step children. He works while they play. He isn’t interested in the baby, neither are the children.
“What does it give us?” my husband would ask, “Not joy, not happiness, not luxury, not time. It is a waste of space, give her to the nannies to care for.”
I looked at him, anger in my eyes.
“Never would I give up my baby,” I said, my voice shaking, “Not in a million years. I don’t care what you think, I don’t care what you do. She is mine, I tell you, mine. And there’s nothing you can say, nothing you can do that can take her away from me.” and with that, I left the room, never wanting to lay eyes on him again.
I hear the call of a bird not too far away. A sorrowful call that brings tears to my eyes. I brush them away roughly, I’ve been so weepy lately, I must toughen myself up. And fast.
Before we got married, he said to me one of the reasons he loves me is because I am rarely weep. That’s no longer true.
I sit on the window seat, my favourite place in the house. The walls are lined with old, forgotten books, the pages dusty and yellowing. One sits beside me, so, with my free hand I pick it up. As I open it, the strong smell of old, musty pages lingers round my nose. A smell that I love and am familiar with. I look down at the page, the text is almost too old to make out, but my eyes are practiced.
I start to read a page, already captured by some other world.
The Queen stood up, her golden hair in perfect curls, falling down to her waist, and her eyes, icy blue and threatening, stared down at the child who stood before her. Her gaze pierced him but he did not flinch. He was a brave boy.
“Your majesty,” a voice called from behind, “We have got the woman,”
The Queen’s lips twitched at the sides of her mouth, she could have been smiling, no one would know.
“Good,” was all she said, her voice cold and unwelcoming. And then she turned back to the boy.
Her lips had curled right up, now she was smiling.
“We have a surprise for you, my boy,” she said in her falsely friendly voice, stepping from the platform where her thrown sat, and gliding towards him in one sweeping move.
She laid her hand on his small, weak back and turned him towards the doors. They got thrown open, and them the screaming could be heard.
I stopped, feeling Ever wriggle in my arms.
I sigh and look back down at my baby girl, hoping, wishing, that when she gets married, it’ll be to someone who accepts her for who she is, loves her no matter what, is always there for her. Someone the opposite to her father.
She starts to cry so I quietly sing a lullaby. I was once told I sang like an angel, but nobody really knows what they sound like. Do they?
My voice does not calm her, does not lull her to sleep. I gently rock my baby, hoping this calming movement would let her relax and close her eyes. But that too, does not work.
I sigh, stroking her hair back from her forehead and do the only thing I can think of.
I start to speak in a quiet, gentle voice, as to not to alarm her. The familiar words tumbled from my mouth, almost a whisper.
What is birth?
What is dieing?
If one can not live without the other,
Then we can not live at all.
A new born,
So young and innocent
Nearing the end.
But both have some in common
They are both at one end.
It is one of my favourite poems.
I look down at her, and see her eyes flutter closed. Her breathing slows and her face is at peace. She has fallen into her dreams. A smile plays upon her blood red lips, I think this poem is also one of her favourites.