May 24, 1896
Contrary to popular belief, scars do not heal. They fade over time, like childhood memories. I could wallow in sadness and despair, but what life is that to lead? We cannot change our past only our future and that is what remains for me.
I do not even fully recall the events. The night in question is a blur. I was drugged I believe, the dry taste of bitterness in my mouth a certain indicator of such. My fuzzy memory of voices and distorted faces further support the conclusion. Somewhere between dreams and memory lies the truth of that night, but it is a truth I will never know and mostly because I do not wish to know it.
Edith and Penelope have asserted Lucy Meyer was somehow involved. I could question her, but to what end? It is over now and what was done is done. I was proud of Penelope when she stood and asked the school board for leniency in its handling of Lucy. It would bring me no pleasure to see another girl expelled from our ranks in disgrace.
The end of term is nearing now. One final week of examinations and then I will travel home for the first time this year. I look forward to being there again. No matter that I will undoubtedly work through my summer vacation. The comfort of home and the love of family is what I crave most right now.
I awoke early today. With no classes to attend and no chores to burden me, I chose to leave for a stroll along the shore. The grittiness of silky sand between my toes has a calming effect. The roaring of the ocean waves as they crash heavily along the rocks left a salty mist in the air.
I sat on a large rock and looked out on the horizon. Blue skies until the end of the world and maybe a bit beyond. In the distance I could see sailboats and larger, cargo ships as well. For a moment I imagine the freedom such a ship could bring. Would it not be nice to sail around the world without a care beyond the wind and the sea?
A romantic vision of life at sea for certain. I know its roots are born in glamorous tales of a not so glamorous life. The adventure sailors might have are somehow made irresistible in story despite the truth of the harshness of the sea. How many have lost their way and their lives at sea? Too many to count, but still we dare to ride the waves toward the horizon.
“Elizabeth!” Jonathon called out.
I turned toward his voice to see him stepping from rock to sand in the awkwardness only a gentleman can achieve without falling flat. In spite of my dreary thoughts I smiled at him and waved.
“What are you doing out here?” He asked when he was closer.
“Pondering the horizon and the sea.” I answered.
He looked surprised by my answer. I would imagine it is a rare day he receives such an honest answer to such a trivial question of formality.
“What I meant is we had an appointment this morning and you were not at the Carrington’s as planned.”
The fact had completely slipped my mind. I had assumed he would cut relations with me after recent events. He had not spoken to me since asking me to the ball, despite our paths crossing on more than one occasion.
“I thought you would no longer desire my company.” I said.
“Whatever made you think this?”
“You witnessed my disgrace.” I said blushing.
He appeared uncomfortable for a moment of silence.
“I did. I had thought it polite to avoid mentioning.”
“Our paths have crossed since and you have said nothing to me.”
“The moments were not convenient for me. I am sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.”
“Perhaps I judge you wrongly, but you remain a mystery to me. Your actions and words are often in apparent conflict and it is for this reason you confound me.”
“I do not agree with your assessment of me. If you have questions of my actions or motivations it would behoove us both for you to ask me directly rather than make assumptions.” He said.
“Can you explain your silence?”
“I thought I did. I was uncertain what to say and I felt it best to not embarrass you.”
“Does it not occur to you I might be more embarrassed being ignored?”
“No, it did not. I am sorry if I have offended you. I never intended to do so.”
“I do not want your apology only your promise to not repeat the mistakes of the past.”
“You have my word and my apologies. I can do no better.”
“I accept.” I said with a smile.
“Then shall we go? I have scheduled several appointments for us today in town.”
“Sadly, I cannot.”
I wished it were otherwise but having given up hope, I never arranged to earn money for the purchase of a gown. Other matters had taken precedence in any matter and I do believe it might be for the best.
There is sincerity in his words but there is also reservation. His stiffness around me surely signifies a level of discomfort and while I may not understand precisely from where it stems, I cannot pretend it does not exist. I suspect my feelings for him are greater than his feelings for me.
“I do not understand?” He replied after a long moment of silence between us.
Quickly I composed a lie to explain.
“I have run short on my allowance and my father refused to send extra for a frivolous purchase.” I said.
“That is of no matter. I will buy you anything you desire.” He had a twinkle in his eye as he spoke.
“I could not accept such charity. It would not be appropriate.”
“It is no charity. Please, Elizabeth you are the only reason I would even attend the ball.”
“I believe you mean that.”
I took his hand into my own and pulled myself up off my rock.
“Thank you.” I said.
He smiled mischievously at me. Suddenly, he swept me off my feet and carried me in his arms. I gasped in surprise, but soon settled in the comfort of his hold. I kissed his cheek and for just a moment all my doubts slipped away.
A few feet from the sands of the beach, his carriage waited for us. He carried me all the way to it and sat me gently on the interior bench. He climbed in beside me and knocked on the roof to signal the driver we were ready.
“I meant what I said before. Anything your heart desires, it is yours.”
“I have it all ready.” I said.
Our eyes met and we both began to laugh as it became clear my meaning was understood by both of us. God, it is good to laugh again.
Jonathon assumed a serious look for a moment.
"I will of course have to discipline you for making us late to the stores." He said.
"You wouldn't dare!" I replied with a look of mock indignation.
"Indeed, I would." He replied with a twinkle in his eye.