Defining Moment

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In Which Passion Spreads

"Excuse me, Miss Clancy?"

Magggie looked up from her sketching, and beheld Orion Burns, standing behind the parkbench, hat in hand, and looking curiously at her. It was a splendid day, and Maggie did not intend to spend a moment more of it indoors, and had reverted to the park to spend the afternoon.

"I hope I'm not interrupting you," he said, offering her a smile.

Maggie smiled back, and set aside her drawing. "Not at all. How are you?"

"Well enough," he said, seating himself next to her on the bench, and looking about. "What a fine day."

"It certainly is. How is your uncle?"

"Very well – ecstatically busy," he chuckled. "Not sleeping much – which is your fault, you know – and not letting me sleep much either. But I don't suppose I mind."

"I'm sorry then, to be the cause of your lack of rest," Maggie said earnestly, for she suspected truth behind his teasing. "I hope you have gotten to study some, at least. You want to be ready for university this fall."

"Oh, that's been forgotten for now, and I couldn't be happier."

"University, or studying?"

"Both, I hope, though I suspect only the latter."

"What do you hate so much about studying?" Maggie enquired directly, turning to face the young man.

"Everything. How much time it takes... how irksome it is..." Orion shook his head. "I'm sorry for complaining." A moment later he added. "And I'm so sorry for speaking as I did in uncle's shop that first day you came in."

"It's alright," Maggie said in a low voice. "I told you that already."

"Who was he?" asked Orion after a brief pause. "Or does it trouble you to talk of him?"

"No, it doesn't," Maggie mused. "Not anymore."

"He must have really loved history to spend so much time on it. How did you two ever meet and decide to write that massive chronology?"

"I would be more than happy to tell you someday," Maggie replied, "But first I must tell you that I didn't always think of history the way I do now. I used to hate it, just like you."

"Really?" Orion turned to look at her. "I don't know that I should believe you."

"You should." Maggie's eyes were earnest, and the young man looked deep into them. Then he looked away.

"What made the difference?" he asked at last.

"I had someone who told it to me the way it really is – as true tales better than anything someone could make up. Novels are things that men make up. History is something that God makes up."

"And Eustace Reid told you these tales?" Maggie nodded silently. Orion's curiosity was piqued.

"What did he tell you?"

"He told me of adventure and valor – of love and sacrifice – of intrigue and mystery... of a thousand different people who were real just like us. There was one he used to tell me about legacy and tradition – and silk sashes."

"Silk sashes?" Orion narrowed his eyes. "What for?"

"Would you like me to tell it to you? It is a long tale – but I guarantee you, not a dull one."

"Is it true?"

"Most certainly."

Orion checked his watch, and finally agreed. "Alright."

Maggie looked off into the distance, her eyes cloudy and unreadable, the breeze stirring her red hair. Orion thought she was one of the strangest people he had ever met – the most beautiful, to be sure, but with the most absurd opinions about things...

Before he knew it he found himself to be listening raptly to the rising and falling of the girl's emotive voice as it was her turn to bring history alive once again...


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