~ ONE ~
Not as if a few minutes ago the world around us seemed to end. All that darkness replaced with new life.
My body feels numb and I can feel the life that once fueled my own storm is slowly leaving my body.
How I got to this point is not important. The why is. Why am I here, slowly loosing myself.
This is why...
I live in a world of peace and quiet. Nothing ever happens in the small village outside the kingdom of Fellington. Every day was the same for me. I would wake up early in the morning, fetch water, help mother with chores and help my father in his carpentry shop.
I do not look anything like my parents, or any of the villagers for that matter. Everyone has a very dark complexion. Mostly dark hair, dark eyes, and darker skin. Me on the other hand is blessed with extremely curly brown hair to my mid back, blue eyes and fair skin. The beaming sun that shines everyday has no mercy.
Everyone has been acting extremely strange today. I would experience hushed tones when I would enter my father's workshop or whenever I was near anyone I knew. It started to work on my nerves. I walked to my farther stamping my feet so that he would feel my frustration. "What is going on with everyone today?"
My father tried his best to put a confused look on his face and to look innocent, "I have no idea what you are referring to Francesca. Oh, by the way, Naevia came by earlier when you helped your mother. She mentioned something about flowers and the forest tomorrow."
At this I immediately got excited. It is an old tradition of me and Naevia, my best friend, when it was one of our birthdays. We would take the horses from her father's stable and travel to the forest which is about a quarte of a day's travel. We would pick the flowers and make flower crowns whilst acting like we are royalty. It all started when we were 13 and were allowed to ride horses on our own without any supervision. We would get lost at first, but I am extremely good at keeping direction, so some way or another I would find the way back home.
I ran out of the shop towards my friend's house. I knocked on the door impatiently. Mira, Naevia's mother, opened the door. She smiled her pearly whites, "Yes my dear?".
"I need to find Naevia, we have to talk about tomorrow."
Mira nodded her head understanding what I meant and called after her daughter, "Naevia, Francesca has arrived my dear!"
Footsteps followed after Mira called. I was greeted with a big smile and open arms. "Where were you all morning?" she asked impatiently. "You are turning 21 tomorrow and lots of plans need to be made, but I can't arrange it if you keep disappearing on me."
I laughed, "I heard, are we doing the usual?"
"Yes!" she paused, "But with a twist." she whispered the last part while winking at me. She grabbed my arm and pulled me to her chambers.
As soon as we reached her room, she collapsed on her bed with a sigh. "Tomorrow at the crack of dawn we go to the forest."
"Like always. What's the twist though?"
"You'll see", she said with a sly smile.
This made me roll my eyes. I like surprises, but I do not like waiting for them. It works on my nerves. My mind wondered off thinking about possible things that can take place tomorrow.
" - so you see, that is why I can't tell you" Naevia said. Instead of asking her to repeat herself I just nodded my head in agreement.
"Fantastic! Now, put on this dress and shoes, I will do something nice with your hair."
I raised my eyebrow, "And for what reason will I do that. There is no event planned for tonight."
She raised her eyebrow back at me, "Oh my dear friend. How clueless you are. Just put on the clothes. There is a lot happening tonight."
When we left Naevia's house I could hear faint music playing. This put a smile on my face. I now started to realize why everyone was acting so strange today. When we reached the open field outside of town, I found the town members gathered, while laughing, dancing and having a great time. When we reached the crowd, I was greeted and wished a happy birthday.
Although my birthday was only tomorrow, my parents moved the party a day earlier on Naevia's request. "Happy almost birthday my flower" was all my father said before moving back into the crowd to entertain the guests.
"Francesca, don't look now, but Amadeus is heading your way", Naevia whispered. This made me blush. Naevia disappeared leaving me alone with the man that made my heart skip a beat. He had a fit built, dark hair and eyes, and was not much taller than me. He was an utmost gentleman and always knew how to make my stomach flutter.
"Francesca", he greeted, "You look breathtaking". This made me blush even more so I looked down at my feet and said a quick thank you before turning around and walking away.
I suddenly felt a tug at my arm. "What are you doing? Go talk to him. You know why you are having this party, now go do what you are supposed to do"
I rolled my eyes; this is probably what I hated most about coming of age. You either find yourself a suitable man when turning 21 or you turn into an old maid who lives with their parents for the rest of their lives. Your coming of age party is basically a parade to show you off.
Instead of answering her question, I stated with a big smile, "Let's go dancing."
Naevia glared at me, but she soon wiped it off her face and walked to where the dancing took place. Moments after joining the dance floor I was asked to dance by men I did not know. I danced for what felt like hours trying to keep up small talk with strangers.
"I have lots of chickens", the man I was currently dancing with said.
"Yes, you know, female chickens are called pullets until they're old enough to lay eggs and become hens" he said trying to keep the conversation alive.
"I see...", I said trying my best not to be awkward, but the silence that fell between us, told a different story. After the song was done, I made my way to the table to find myself some water. My throat felt dry after all the dancing.
Through the crowd I saw the chicken man and we made eye contact. He then made his way to me. I ducked down and crawled under the table hoping that he would not see me. Naevia was going to kill me for ruining the dress with the dust I was crawling through, but at that moment I did not care, I wanted to escape and go to sleep. I had no such luck. I knew that I could not afford to live with my parents forever so I decided to leave my hiding spot and face the single men who are interested in making me their wife.
The night was long but finally done. Tomorrow would reveal which men was interested in me. They would need to approach my parents, and ask them for permission to court me.
When I laid in bed that night, I started feeling strange. It started with pins and needles on my finger tips and a tumbling feeling in my stomach. I just decided to ignore it and force myself to sleep. Tomorrow will have its new challenges and adventures. Tomorrow I am 21. Tomorrow I am a woman.
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