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Two Worlds Collided
Where we were from our two worlds were never to collide, a cycle that I broke when I met him. Our parents viewed Eric and me differently like we were from two different worlds, which in their minds we were. They judged us on everything from the way we looked, to our personalities. In our minds we were inseparable; we felt complete with each other like together we formed some kind of unique bond that could never be broken. Often times we felt we were in a society that was destined to keep us enemies forever.
I came from a long line of wealthy heiresses, and he from a common family. I was to be next in line to oversee the throne, as Fickleland’s future queen. Being only 22 years old I spent most of my time traveling to meet with who my parents thought would be fine candidates for my future husband. I was sent to conferences that educated me on proper ways to direct my people, and taught me how to answer the questions that I would have to face in the many speeches I would give telling the citizens my future plans when I was to rule our providence, as well as etiquette classes. Along with these things, I was being trained to oversee the employees of construction to make sure that they were doing their job of completing the new monuments of our past heirs and heiresses successfully. One day during my visits to these sites I noticed one of the workers, who I had secretly been keeping an eye on for weeks, was staring at me when I stepped off my coach. At that moment I remembered what my parents had told me about not associating with them, “Just give them commands on what they could do to improve upon their work.” Regardless of that, I called him over.
“What, may I ask, is your name sir?”
“My name is Eric”
“Why aren’t you tending to your task?”
“Well, I was just momentarily distracted when I saw you approach; I was awestruck by your beauty,” he stammered, turning cherry red. I was flattered by his compliment although I didn’t show it. There was a moment of brief silence. I knew it was my turn again to speak.
“You and your fellow companions must start over on whatever this is.” I said waving absently at the statue standing before me. Their jaws dropped. They stood with blank expressions on their faces, attempting to hide their furry. One of the older ones responded.
“Pardon me your Highness, but why may I ask are we having to start over? We’ve done everything you’ve asked.”
The audacity of him to question my authority in front of all his companions had me about to burst open in outrage. Instead, I calmly collected myself and said through tightly clenched teeth, “You sir are going to work over time for that question. You should know to never question what I say.”
“But your Highness, my wife is in need of urgent medical care. I fear my wife is on the brink of death for she is carrying our unborn child, if she doesn’t get help soon both her and our child may die.”
“Well, now you know what to do next time I direct you to do something…. and that is to say NOTHING. I really should make you all work over time today for your friend Eric’s flirtatious remark. However, I’ll be generous today and excuse his improper behavior. Still, remember if one of you is to slip up all of you have to pay.”
My meetings with the carpenters, especially Eric, became more frequent after that day. It had been a lovely Wednesday afternoon, so I decided to check up on the carpenters to see how they were progressing. I had come to use this excuse often in the past weeks in order to see Eric. This had been our third meeting in four weeks. Instantly, we knew we had feelings for each other, though no one knew we were secretly courting, for if they did they would think the idea preposterous. Some days we met in secret hoping no one would see. We would always go to the same spot, an isolated field a few miles from our estate with ravishing oak trees, beautiful orchards, sweeping weeping willows, an assortment of colorful wild berries, and river with a lovely flowing waterfall. Sometimes we had picnics together in the late afternoons when my parents allowed me some free time apart from my studies and classes. Other times we would spend hours on end simply talking and enjoying each other’s company. When I was lucky enough to be let out at night, I’d spend my night with him trying to learn the many names of the wondrous stars that he would point out. After nearly four months of shear bliss, my heart exploded with love for Eric and we felt as though nothing could harm us. When I was with Eric time seemed to be like a movie in freeze frame. We even thought optimistically that in terms of Eric meeting my parents, nothing would go wrong. This had been our biggest mistake.
When I finally gathered up the courage to introduce Eric to my parents I realized that it was too late, they already knew. They took one look at him and didn’t accept, they gave him no chance to prove himself. They saw him as a poor carpenter boy who couldn’t possibly provide for a girl of my stature. This was when the heavens broke loose.
“This boy is nothing but a poor excuse for a man!” My father said fuming with anger.
My blood began to boil as I spat out words of fire. “How dare you speak to him that way? I don’t care if he has any money all I care about is how he treats me. You haven’t even given him a chance to speak!”
“Don’t you dare use that tone with me young lady! You call yourself a future queen of Fickleland? How do you expect your people to respect and honor you when you disgrace them!” he hissed.
“Yes, I do see myself as being Fickleland’s future queen and I’m able to say what I think is right and stand up for myself whether the people like it or not!” I said beginning to lose sight of my argument.
My father stood silent for a seconds, shock written all over his face, and then he started up again. “Still this boy is incapable of loving someone like you. I forbid you to see him.”
“You can’t keep us apart I won’t allow it! How can you say what he is capable of if you haven’t even asked him? Don’t you see how much in love we are with each other? You two, of all people, should know what it’s like to have someone you love be unapproved of!”
My mother had been in the corner silent as a mute, holding her tongue for she feared she might say something wrong, when she finally stepped in and said, “We have no idea what you’re talking about dear.” I shot a look of disgust her way.
“Oh please, Mother don’t act like I wouldn’t remember how you told the story of a princess who fell in love with a poor blacksmith, and it took her parents months before they would finally accept that their precious daughter was going to marry a blacksmith. Then when the princess’ father died he said in his will he would allow her husband to take over as King. It didn’t take long to figure out it was about you and father. So how can you not let us be happy together when you were in the exact circumstance? I beg you please let us live a happy life together.”
“I’m sorry dear, our decision is final, and we forbid you to have any contact with this boy Eric!” Realizing I wouldn’t win I simply sat back in defeat. What could I have done... they were my parents after all? I didn’t want to defy them; I still respected and loved them. I would simply have to get them to love Eric another way.
My punishment for this “little” fiasco was that I be confined to my quarters during the day. I was officially on lock down. My parents encouraged me to read to help keep my mind off things, and this was unfortunately, the only thing I had to distract myself since my parents had cancelled all my classes. There were times when I wouldn’t eat for days; I would lie in my bed the whole day no matter how hard my parents or the servants encouraged me to get up and view the garden or try to get me to eat something. All I could think about was how lost and lonely Eric must have felt without me by his side, just as I did in his absence. I’m sure Eric wasn’t doing much better. When he got home that day his parents probably questioned him. He often told me about how his parents warned him, telling him it was very foolish of him to fall head over heels in love with the King’s daughter.
My family’s attempt to pull us apart just made us want to be together even more. They had foolishly come to a conclusion that by keeping us apart we would eventually give up on trying to see each other and go our separate ways. Months went on and then one day I heard my parents talking about an arranged marriage for me with this gracious Duke named Will Devonshire. I turned him down of course. At first, he and my parents put up quite a fight at my refusal but they came to realize it was all in vain. I simply wasn’t going to marry him no matter how hard he and my parents tried to convince me. During this time I had begun to secretly bribe one of my father’s workers to send messages to Eric. It detailed how I was to sneak out through my window at night and he would be waiting for me. He told me we were going to run away. He had planned for us to elope to the town of Little Town, Bosworth where we would then spend our honeymoon and plan our next steps.
So, that night I did as he said and of course found him waiting for me around the back of my house. When we arrived at the Inn, a reverend was there waiting for us. We said our own vows and it was done. I couldn’t believe it, we were actually married! We had a wonderful night together and I didn’t want it to ever end. I asked Eric what our next move was when he awoke the next morning over breakfast. He told me he was going to get us a house in Little Town with the money he’d been saving; no one would know us and we could start a new life. Looking back I should’ve realized that this dream would never come true. How could have we know my parents would’ve found us the next day, crushing all our hopes and dreams like a wrecking ball demolishing a historical site.
After breakfast, I decided I would go into town and see what Little Town was all about. He told me he would be at the swimming hole if I needed him when I came back. Before I headed out, I told him I loved him and gave him a kiss. What I hadn’t known was that this would be the last time I would see him in six months. It was about mid afternoon with not a cloud in the sky; the town seemed to be like a ghost town with surprisingly few people at this time of day. As I walked down the street, browsing through store front windows, I stopped to check out a little jeweler’s shop to see what they had and I had a reassuring feeling that it was all going to work out.
Meanwhile, back at the Inn Eric was just about to head down to the swimming hole when someone burst into our room! He got a quick glimpse of the two men that had entered the room before one of them put a bag over his head while the other had placed a phony note under the pillow. They drug him outside and into a coach, leaving Eric with absolutely no idea what was to be his ultimate fate. When I came back from town, I was utterly shocked by the destruction of our room. I franticly looked at the clock and saw that it was really late; Eric should have been back by now. As I tried to calm myself down I took a deep breath and lay down on our bed trying to piece together what might have happened. I felt something funny under my pillow discovering the note that confessed Eric’s feelings of not being able to handle us to running and sneaking around.
I hope you will understand when I tell you this is for your own good and you’ve done nothing wrong. You see, I have given this a lot of thought and though I know it will shatter both of our hearts like glass, I must leave you. I don’t know what else to do about us. I don’t like the idea of us having to tiptoe around your parents, not being able to freely express our feelings for each other. You’re not meant to be with someone like me anyway. I know that now.
_ Best wishes,
He was leaving me! I wasn’t sure if I believed it, but I feared that I had no time to go looking for him. I faced up to my only option, I would have to move back with my parents and keep our marriage a secret until I was able to clarify the situation with Eric.
After returning home, my parents decided it would be best for me to move to Bellont with my grandmother. Once there, all of my activities revolved around me trying to occupy my mind to keep from thinking of Eric and how much pain he caused me. I felt so powerless and lost throughout the whole situation. I buried my head in books and consumed myself in my studies and took numerous strolls into town. Prior to one of my usual strolls into town my grandmother beckoned me to fetch some food from the local market. On my way back I stopped to buy myself a paper. When I read the front cover my eyes became a fountain of tears. “Local Carpenter Imprisoned for Secret Affair.” The article stated an agency had found evidence that suggested a relationship between the future queen and a young carpenter boy in the Royal ministry files. My father must have hired someone to help him confirm his suspicions! I briefly skimmed over more of the article and it said he was to serve twenty years for his crime. I quickly snatched up the paper and raced home to keep my grandmother from wondering what was taking me so long. Still perplexed, I handed her the groceries and darted upstairs to my room with the excuse that I had to get back to my studies. When I was safely in my room I locked my door and flung myself on my bed. It was then that I let the tears come pouring out of me finally releasing the tears built up inside. My mind kept flashing back to the words that I so desperately wanted to disbelieve, yet I couldn’t because they were there, in my hands. My mind became fogged as I finally gave into the sleep that I desperately needed. When I awoke it was late evening. I stayed in my room and refused dinner saying that I wasn’t feeling well. I was going over in my mind what I perceived to have happened, and suddenly I came to the realization that it was all a set up. My parents had planned it all. While I had gone out they captured Eric. They must have driven him to the station and questioned him. He must have confessed to save me and ended up with the worst punishment possible. They wanted me to think that he didn’t love me anymore, and that he wasn’t able to handle our situation, and that he was going to move on and I should do the same. They were all lies! Complete lies-that worked. They pulled the wool over my eyes, how could I have been so gullible? I felt so angry with them and myself. I had been too naive to see it. I was never to forgive them for this. I gave it plenty of thought and though I knew that I’d be turning my back on them I decided the next morning I’d tell my parents my decision to relinquish my right to be queen. I had to; I simply couldn’t sit back and let them rule my life anymore. I had to take control of myself and make my own choices instead of having someone dictate them for me.
It was a gloomy morning when I awoke, and silence filled the house. As I was fixing breakfast for myself I decided to listen to the news on Channel 11, and I couldn’t believe my ears! I turned up the volume and listened intently to what the news anchor was saying.
This just in, it was reported today that the carpenter accused of having an affair with the future queen has died today. Doctors at the facility say the cause of his death was uncertain but we can infer that it was from a serious disease. They were shocked to hear that his last words had been, “You’ll always be queen in my kingdom, till death do us part, I promise on my vows.” Hmm…you be the judge.
This has been Jamie Castillo reporting from Channel 11 News.
And so my dear beloved died that dreadful day of May 9, 1994. The prison said it was from an unknown illness, but I knew that it was truly from a broken heart. Before I left for Eric’s funeral I knew deep down it was to be the last time I would see my family. The thought of this filled me with excitement yet apprehensiveness because I would be starting a new life all on my own. Prior to leaving my grandmother’s house, I reminded myself that I was doing this for myself and not for anyone else. I was free. This moment of independence, was turned into bitter sweetness as the thought of Eric’s crept back into my mind.
As I walked out the door, the world seemed to appear less bright that day. It was raining like it does at most funerals. I looked up at the sky raining down on me; it was almost as though the world was mourning for the loss of my precious Eric with me. When I arrived back in Fickeland and began my journey to Eric’s burial site, I realize he was buried at the same place we would meet in secret…. How could this be? When I approached, I saw a headstone and I was surprised to find that it was scripted with the words, “Eric, loyal and faithful to his wonderful wife Natalie Horona.”
I wonder who could have done this. Who else would have known? Who else would care enough or take the time to honor him? Did Eric tell someone about us? He must have.
It was then I saw him, standing from a far by an old orchard tree that seemed out of place. He smiled and waved at me. I smiled back still uncertain of who this man was. There was a knowing look in his eye, as if he knew my simple gesture, a smile, was all he needed in return to know how greatly I appreciated what he’d done. I watched him as he politely bowed to me and walked off venturing into oblivion. In that moment I realized who that man was. When I would visit Eric at the work sites I remember he did seem to be good friends with Sam Bishop. He must have trusted him enough to tell him about us. He must have been responsible for this generous gesture.
I looked into the distance and pictured all the adventures we had together, and all the endless possibilities that could have awaited us in our future. I was honored to know that he died still loving me, and I would live to cherish and treasure the power of our love, for all eternity.