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Haven

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Droplets of water falling off of the tree set a cadence for us. I stared up, soaking in the golden leaves, contrasted with the dark, and awash bark that held the golden leaves up, splattered with red and orange every which way, leaving no pattern to be found. A small stream ran underneath my feet, while I sat on the damp tree trunk that stretched across the stream’s width. Small slivers of fish glided past us, making it hard to discern them from the pebbles. Petite vegetations grew on the edges, some barely big enough to tickle the bottoms of my sole, others that had to be squinted at to see. Twitters of birds, calls of insects, and stampings of little creatures surrounded us. The soft dripping of the rain added to the symphony, along with the slow rushing of the stream. Take a deep breath; draw in nature. The damp bark, the tinge of fresh rainfall, the sweet scents of various plants and flowers. This all was it. It was haven.


Haven to some means a sanctuary, but to me it means so much more. It’s a place to wind down, and live like never before. To see and hear beauty that has been lost in today’s society of carriages and social afternoon teas. It’s also a place where all who don’t belong are silenced. I go here every time she gets too noisy. This is the only place where she’s quiet, where she can’t come out and eclipse me. The only place where I can think for myself. I need time where I have my own thoughts, my own feelings, where it’s not bombarded with another’s. My haven. At least, I try to make it. In reality, it’s our haven- there is no place I can escape her. It’s only that here, I am the lead, and her a passenger. Everywhere else I go, she must be there. Except maybe one place, but I’m not ready for that just yet.

If I could, I would share my refuge with the whole world, but I know better than to do that. If I did, the world would do what the past has done to its sisters and brothers. It would tear the trees down, run over the flora, frighten the animals, and pollute the crystal clear waters. And for what? For some shops or forges. Like we really need anymore. But she disagrees. She thinks society needs to become more civilized; less wild. Of course she would. She always disagrees with me, and she always wins. But if I’m here, in my haven, she can’t disagree with anything I say. Nothing. I love it. She hates it. I don’t know why she can’t say anything, but I’m not about to complain.

This place is mine to use as I wish; to think as I wish. Even with the unnatural rustles of the papers I must bring, and the slosh of the ink, only this serenity calms me. It’s here where I can finally answer any proposals, or any invitations that she receives. She is always ever the rambunctious one; flirting with some sires here, some stable boys there, but never taking them seriously. Too bad they do. Thus I’m left with the responsibility of politely rejecting their proposals, breaking hearts in the process. Never in person though. My letters are of politeness and distantness. Not of love or pain. Just the attempt to cleanse myself of her sins. And for some reason, this makes her admired, my constant rejections. Always being invited for tea, or to debutantes by chits who wish to mature by using a tip or two from the ever cold-hearted maiden; her tips. Never a moments rest for me. I’m always being dragged to one event or another, each bringing more suitors who just wish to capture the slippery lady. They come to me, ever courting. I doubt they really care for the real me; they just want to glimpse her.

When I try to voice my complaints to Mother and Father, I’m drowned out by her voice. Is it really my fault that I don’t care for dresses, parties, or for suitors? What’s worse is that everyone thinks I do, because of her. She calls me wild and unsophisticated, when she is the one who meets the qualifications of a tramp. I am the child in her eyes, and she is the adult. She even refuses to use my name. Simple Liza. She prefers Elizabeth. No one called me that until she came. Then no more Liza- just Elizabeth. Even my father saw only Elizabeth- he thought it was fitting for me to use my full name; a step into adult society.

She makes me furious! Maybe I am just a child who can’t stand up to the tormenter. But no matter what I do, she always triumphs. Why is that? What power has made it like this? I think and think upon this question, but never get an answer, even in my haven.

“So you are here, my sweet. Trying to escape those ridiculous suitors? Saving yourself for me?” a cold hand slid down my back. “You are such a silly girl. Taunting those poor boys, and saving yourself for me. ”

Someone has entered my haven without my consent. I shivered. This can’t be happening. I get this enough in the outside world, but to have it here, it is just unbearable. No. NO! This is MY haven! This is the place that I can think for myself, that I am free! I don’t want to go back! I don’t want her to show up again! This is my haven, MINE!

“You okay Liza? Didn’t you tell me to come here? Would you like to go back home?” he grabbed my shoulders. Go away, you boy! You’re making her worse! I can feel her. She’s trying to get out. She can’t! I won’t let her! I decide when to leave my haven! Not her! This is the only place I can live for real! She can’t, no, WON’T drag me back to that hellhole! And yet, I can feel myself getting weaker. No! Be gone, you miserable, good for nothing wooer! You are no good to me! You only make her stronger! A force split through my head, making me lean over in pain. A challenge from her, and I was loosing. She did it again. Somehow, she is making me quiet, unable to speak up for myself, and forcing me to watch her hideous doings. I’m not strong enough. Maybe, maybe next time I will do what it takes to get rid of her permanently. My last thought echoed through my head as she took over.

“No my darling, of course not. Let’s get away from this dreadful place. I don’t know who in their right mind would come here. It’s far too wild. And how often must I tell you not to use Liza? I am Elizabeth.”





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