This is not a love story nor one written to make you cry. What I will write to you is my life. These written words are a pure testimony of failures, of flying and soaring that I have done. These words will take you far away to a world where anything is possible, where I have achieved the impossible. Do not fret, for these words are not yours, but mine.
I was born in a world of darkness and light, a place where people grieve, where people laugh, where people love, where people cry. This place is foreign to me but now my home. I did not choose to live but I did choose to open my eyes and gaze upon the first light this darkness gave me. Love.
This story begins when I was born. A time far away from grasp, one that can be seen and felt with memories and laughter. This is where I began my life and this is where I will finally return to remember all over again.
The date was June 21st to be exact, in the year 1733. The beginning years were made of beauty and sorrow, years writing out new beginnings and terrible endings.
My home was the Bamburgh Castle in North Sunderland. It was a beautiful home I still remember. Here my parents fell in love, it is also here, they both parted in an endless story of timeless hope and joy. Here I grew and flourished, here I loved and was loved, here I discovered.
My name is Emma. This is my story.
I was no more than two years of age when my parents also brought into the world a baby boy. My brother, Roland. He had big blue eyes that reminded me of the ocean in our backyard. His hair seemed to curl in brown waves of chocolate. I loved him so much. I played with him in his crib when mother was asleep. Whenever he laughed, I laughed with him, feeling the most joy I ever had experienced, now that I look back to it.
My life was simple, yet an adventure. This adventure everyone lives but not everyone imagines it as one. I knew those who lived an adventure yet saw it as a painful burden they must carry, even though I was young and didn’t understand, I do now. Life isn’t everything but it’s something. The joy of breathing the first time no one remembers but your mother, the person who was the first to love another besides her husband. It is my mother, who told me stories; she explained why life is so important, even if we don’t understand it.
“Mother?” I called once, from my bed.
She looked into my room, her brown hair curling around the door. “Yes dear?”
“Tell me a story,” I asked.
Her gray eyes softened. “What kind of story?”
I thought for a moment, looking at the candle next to my bedside. “One about happiness. A good one.”
She smiled her rosy smile and sat on my bed. “Okay, I’ll tell you a story. A story of happiness.”
It was these stories of daring hope where there seemed to be none that I remembered in times of need or loneliness.
I grew into a sturdy young lady with red hair so fluffy you could have mistaken me for a poodle if I had been any smaller. My eyes were as green as mother’s garden, my face forever shined of love and of laughter. Each day I grew, each day I discovered.
It was the first time I was told to go to school that I discovered fear. It seems a bit silly now, but back then, it was the scariest thing I have ever done, unless it’s eating vegetables.
I wore a black skirt to my knees, a collared white shirt with a small pocket on my left breast. My hair was braided down my back. My mother told me I was beautiful.
“C’mon Em, we need to hurry. The carriage won’t wait forever.” My father shouted from downstairs.
“Mr. Samson always waits for me!” I yelled back laughing. The carriage driver, Mr. Samson was one of my friends. He always had gummy candy to give to me.
I was ushered into the carriage that took me to school. Mr. Samson gave me a chocolate candy that day.
Soon the days flew by. I didn’t have many friends because I always went to the library. I didn’t like the girls there. They made fun of my hair; mother always said it was beautiful. I read many books. I began with small books with pictures of girls and turtles who went on adventures, then moved to books with chapters and no pictures.
I liked a boy in my class. He had such brown eyes that I thought I could grab them and eat them. He was nice to me, always let me borrow his pencils. When his friends looked at me weird and said something to him, he never spoke to me again.
I cried that night. I cried so hard that snot came out of my nose and I couldn’t breathe. Why were people cruel? Were they not happy when they were babies? Did they have no one to love them? I cried and cried until my mother came into my room. She brushed my hair off my face and kissed my forehead.
“Tell me a story mum,” I choked out.
“What kind of story?” she asked, holding my hand.
“A story of love.”
I was ten years old when my father became sick. I was a grown lady now, my brother already attending school.
My father had hot strange bumps on his skin. Mother stayed with him so long. She didn’t tell any stories.
Several weeks later, she told me he had passed away. I didn’t understand. I ran into his room and touched his face. It was cold, it was so pale. I kissed his cheek and began to cry.
Mother picked me up and carried me to my room. We both cried in my bed that night. Her tears soaked my hair while mine soaked my bed. We cried until we both fell asleep, her weak heart beat with mine, full of grief and pain I cannot describe.
The next morning I stayed home. I cried. My brother cried. He got angry and went to his room. He didn’t come out for days.
I was eleven years old when my mother became sick. She told me it was from a broken heart, the doctor said it was because of pneumonia. I sat with her for many hours each day, reading her my favorite books. She laughed when something funny happened and cried when something terrible happened.
My brother came in one day and sat on the ground, tears streaming down his face while I read. I read to them a story of love. We all cried in the end.
“Emma,” my mother called.
I rushed into her room with a cup of hot tea.
“Tell me a story Emma.” She pleaded.
I put the cup down and picked up a book.
She placed her hands on mine and pushed the book down. “No Em, tell me a story. Tell me one from your heart like I did for you.” She smiled at me, her eyes paler than the morning sky.
“What kind of story mommy?” I whispered, tears gathering.
“One about hope.”