Two Ends That Can't Meet
"Auntie, I have something to tell you," Hanna said very gently. I sat down on the couch next to her, and set my hand on her knee. I felt her tense up, there was something wrong. With tears building up in her eyes, she asked, "How did you lose your innocence?" I was startled by the question. Why does she care to know that? I didn't question it.
Leaning back, I stared in her nervous, crying eyes. I saw myself in her. It took me back to my homeland, Kristinikov, Sweden. it was 1901, and Sweden was under the rule of Oscar III. I had just turned fourteen, when little girls became ladies. I was being fitted for new dresses that cover my ankles. I was so happy to wear adult clothing like my sister.
In my small village , girls weren't allowed to mingle with the boys, other than family. Young ladies were taught at home by their mothers; while the boys would go to the school house down by the creek. It was rare for girls to know the boy's names in the village. When you turn nineteen, your parents have you marry a man they have chosen for you, even if you disagree with their pick.
One early morning before sunrise, I was getting dressed for the day, when I heard a clamor in the barn. I rushed outside to see if that ole' mare, had knocked over the water bucket again. It was louder than that, I could hear the horse hooves grinding into the dirt, the bird wings flapping, and the cows backing up against the barn wall repeatedly. I saw a light flickering between the wood panels. I got quiet. I was unsure about what to do, I didn't know who would be in the barn before sunrise.
I began to think about all of the possibilities. Mother checking on the pregnant horse, Father fixing the gash in the pigs shoulder., maybe it could be the spirit. My sister always talked about ghost in her bedtime stories. Thinking about her stories, a nervous shiver ran down my spine. Uneasy, but eager, I slowly pushed open the barn door.
It was a boy chewing on the leftover slop from three days ago. We both stood there, quiet and still. He nervously muttered something with a full mouth. I couldn't understand his words, but it sounded like he was apologizing. He stuffed his dirty cap with pig slop, and ran out the door past me; flinging slop all over my new dress. I didn't say anything to him, or stop him. I just stood there in silence. It was the first time I had ever come across a boy. I didn’t know what to make of it. I had so many questions repeating through my mind. Why would anyone want to eat from the old pig slop?
Dew from the trees dripped on my head as I quickly walked back to the cottage door. The air was chilly in the early morning, even during the summer time. When I touched the iron door knob, it was so cold against my skin, shivers went through my body. Carefully I went back into the cottage to put on my heavy cape.
I went back outside to milk the cows. The day passed, as it always does. I had forgotten all about the boy in the barn. When midnight approached, I heard the animals making noise, rushing outside I went to see what was all the chaos. That same boy that was here this morning was sneaking into the barn.
He sat down on a haystack by the horse stall, and started to weep. Awkwardly, I stood there by the door. "My family was put into jail for stealing tools from the blacksmith, I'm all alone, and hungry," he cried. I told him to wait here. I scurried insdie to get him a loaf od bread. When I got back he was petting my horse; I gave him the bread. "She's a pretty old mare," he told me, breaking the bread. "What's your name?" he asked, "Britta, " I replied. "Sven; nice to meet you." After several hours of talking, we fell asleep on the cold barn floor.
When the sun rose, we woke up and found ourselves together on the barn floor. We were embarrassed this ever happened, we knew that the village people would not take this lightly. Hoping not to get caught we quietly opened the barn door, and there was my family making their way to the barn with buckets of water for the animals. A face of fury swept upon my father, I had disobeyed his rule; everyone's rule.
I was always the good child. I never meant to cause any trouble. Sven and I exchanged worried glances, and stood at the barn door scared. My mother quickly took me by my wrist and dragged me into the cottage. She pushed me onto the floor, yelling at me, telling me that I had disgraced the entire family. She told me that I was no longer the good child.
When she started to calm down, father barged in, not even bothering to look at me. I felt so ashamed of myself. I didn't know what was doing to happen to me. I don’t even know what happened to Sven that day. All I know was that I had lost my innocence.
"Auntie?" Hanna said loud waving her hand in my face. "How did you lose your innocence?"