May 10th, 1821

Alan Grander and uncle George went duck hunting together at dawn. I was awake when they left the manor and when I went to the kitchen to fill my bedside water jar our cook Veronica was filling a bag with fruits and bread for our two heartless gentlemen.

After Sonia helped me get dressed I went outside with Hector the cat who insisted on being carried to avoid having his delicate paws wet with morning dew.

I looked at George’s slaves working in the tobacco plant in the distance like tiny black ants gathering straws and leaves with obvious acceptance.

The sky, seemingly aware of the events to come, was slowly moving severe and silent ash-colored clouds over the plantation. In an other field, sunflowers turned toward the sun were bending their heads down like a people in prayer.

Then I saw her, standing by the fountain, thoughtfully throwing pebbles in the water. I looked at the back of her neck for a moment. Daisy really is a beautiful woman, especially this morning, with her curly red hair loosely piled together and her dark green dress. There is something sadly romantic about her when she is alone. While walking toward her I realized I was tiptoeing to avoid her noticing my presence but I suddenly could not find any good reason for me doing so.

The wind rose. A strong, loud wind that makes your sentiments appear more real than the rest. She turned toward me. Her face first, her shoudlers second then her hips and finally her feet. Some hair and tears were crossing her pale face because of the wind. Our dresses floated and it did not matter. Her veiny hands took mine. The all scene was so dramatic I doubted for a second I was really part of it.

We had no shadows, the sky was low and the fountain silent.

She said: “My love for Alan is gone. I am expecting his child. I will have to pretend for the rest of my life and I am not strong enough”. I think she said it loudly but I heard a whisper. The wind took her voice away. Her love too I told myself.

I suddenly treasured my aloneness but I felt sad for her. Once you allow yourself to embrace your true feelings, all the choices of reason become burdens, often accepted, always undergone. I did not find anything to tell her at that moment, nor later, so I slowly moved my hands toward her face and wiped her tears. She sobbed. I caressed her hair until there were no new tears and previous ones had dried. She kissed my forehead and smiled.

It was not until we came back inside the manor that the wind stopped, making this odd parenthesis unreal.

She smiled a different smile that evening.

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