Author's note: I got the idea of a controlling mother from the movie Titanic. I also love the idea of historical... Show full author's note »
"I wasn't brave enough"Mother and I got into the carriage and we were off to the party. The windows had their drapes over them, but the frigid December air still managed to get into the small compartment. I moved one of the curtains to close it more securely and saw a puppet show on the side of the street. There were children sitting in front of a small stage and laughing as a puppet moved up and down by the controlling strings of its master. I shivered and pulled my coat tighter around my shoulders.
We pulled up to our destination, and we could hear the sounds of laughter and music. The lights of the house shone like a beacon through the dark night, and despite my fear of whom I was meeting inside, I was eager to get next to a warm fire. Mother got out of the carriage first, and went immediately toward a group of her friends: more middle aged women who kept looking over their shoulders to make sure their own daughters weren’t getting into any trouble, and for fresh gossip. I despised the lot of them.
I took a breath and was about to step from the carriage when I heard our footman say, “You ‘ave three minutes, Tim.” I started at the name he uttered, and sure enough, Tim stepped into the carriage and pulled the door shut.
“Annie,” he whispered. His golden brown hair was falling into his brown eyes as always, and he gave me the grin I could not help but return.
“Oh, Tim, what are you doing here?” I asked him in a tired voice. “You know I am engaged.”
“I know,” he said mischievously. “But that doesn’t really matter to me and you know it.” He gave another grin; the kind of grin of someone caught doing something wrong by someone who won’t punish him.
I wrapped my arms around his neck suddenly, and cried into his shoulder. I couldn’t help myself. The weight of everything that was happening crashed down on me suddenly, and I was too much to bear. He brought his arms around me and rubbed my back in soothing strokes.
“Oh Anne, I’m so sorry,” he whispered into my hair. “I’m so sorry.”
“There’s nothing you can do, you don’t have anything to be sorry for,” I muttered. “I need to marry Ralph or else…” I was at a loss for words. I didn’t want to explain.
“I know, I know,” he said soothingly. He was the only one who really did know; he was the only one I told everything to. I hugged him tighter and then pulled away to look at his face one last time.
“What if you didn’t go in there?” he asked suddenly. He lost his playful look; this was one of the few times I had seen him serious.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“What if we ran away? Together? We could leave right now and never look back. We could go anywhere we wanted and start our own life together. We could both get jobs and send the money to your mother. She would be able to live, and so would you, and so would I. I don’t think I can live without you, Annie.” He finished his speech by looking into my eyes with the saddest and most desperate look you could see on a human, and for a moment, I saw it. I saw everything that he wanted in his brown eyes. We could build our own house. He could be an editor so he could write like he wanted to. I could sew dresses. We would make a lot of money, and I could send Mother the money she needed. Everyone would be happy. But as quickly as that vision came, it was gone again. I knew I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t brave enough.
“Tim…” I said, trying to find the right words, but I didn’t have to.
“I know, I know,” he said again. He knew me better than anyone in the world, and he would be my true love for all time; I knew that too.
I reached up to my neck and undid my favorite necklace. The gold shone slightly in the dark as I reached it out to him.
“I want you to take this, and always remember me,” I whispered to him. “Please, please never forget me.”
“As long as you promise to never forget me,” he whispered back.
“You know I never could.”
“I know.” He gave me my favorite grin one last time, kissed me one more time, and then left the carriage.