This is a story that I wrote for my English 102 class. My professor Robert Walker (who is a published author himself) critqued and gave editing suggestions on this piece! He also read it aloud to the class (in my absence due to a snow storm, I couldn’t get out of my holler’.) I’m actually quite fond of this piece of work from myself, because it has balanced qualities of romance, mystery, heart break, and bitter sweetness. I fell in love with these characters, even if their story is only a small amount of pages. Vivian and Dain has become two of the most rememberable creations that I have had.
by Kristia S.
When I was a child, I knew this boy. A boy who had such a wild streak within him, he even refused to attend school. His mother started to accompany him into the building when it worsened. But did that stop him? The wild boy would run between his mother’s legs, then dash past the teacher, and be out the door laughing. His mother shrieked in anger as the wild boy escaped. I couldn’t help but laugh. One time, the boy looked at me with that mischievous grin of his, inviting me to join him. This appealed to me immensely, but I chose not to—for the first few times. The boy whose name was Dain, and I became good friends in the following years. We were inseparable, closer than any friends could be.
I eventually grew from the little girl with the odd red hair and a pale, freckled face; I came to be a lovely woman at age fifteen—lovely wasn’t my word, but mother’s. Dain was no longer the child he once was, as well. As a child, Dain was plump, pale, and had an odd shade of brown hair. When he matured into a young man, his used to be brown shaded hair turned raven black, and his plumpness became unknown on his tall, lanky figure. He became this handsome boy with the bluest eyes that seemed to swim like water. Dain grew into a man, and I a woman. I caught many suitors’ attention; Dain also caught many girls’ eyes. But I never expected Dain to catch my eye. It seemed to be mutual when we stood on a hilltop one day, and almost confessed our feelings at the same time. We laughed at this. Something changed between us, but then not, because it still was easy and comforting to be around each other. That day, was when our romance began.
A month before I would turn sixteen, a year after Dain and I professed our love; I spoke of marriage to him. He and I, indeed, were of age to consider marriage. On this day, we were perched in our usual meeting place by father’s wood pile. We sipped tea, and ate apples, something Dain and I did for years. Dain had made seats and a table out of the logs, looking quaint and out of a fairytale book. However, when I spoke of marriage Dain became quiet. I explained further to him that I wanted to marry him before mother would betroth me to someone else.
Dain just smiled and said, “In due time.”
It wasn’t no or yes at that moment, but it sent my heart into a flutter all the same. Our love continued to progress, so much that I thought my mind would explode with happiness. I loved him so much that it clouded the appearance of the burdens that Dain carried. His family began to ebb into financial crisis. Our teas then, took to a weekly basis instead of daily, because Dain worked more.
A day shy of my sixteenth birthday was the day Dain and I would meet. I readied our tea cups as usual, polished the apples to a shine, placed the tea bags into the cups, poured the teapot, and then waited patiently. The fall air was cool; I could smell the strong scent of winter coming; the cold tinged scent, like the clear, cold smell of snow. I hated snow, and I hated the cold; just as much as I despised waiting. Animals had scurried away from my presence, and leaves fell all about me. It was a lovely day to have a tea outside. I waited so long that my skirts collected fallen leaves at the hem. I waited until the sky started to burn orange with sunset. That was until I heard crunching footsteps from the path Dain usually took.
“I thought you weren’t coming!” I said to the approaching figure. “I began to be concerned…”
“Vivian?” the face came into view, but it was not my Dain, it was Dain’s father. “I’m so sorry to inform you of this—but my son has run away.”
I sat achingly still. “What?” I asked.
“His mother and I betrothed him to a young woman. Her father agreed to ease our financial troubles if he would marry her. Dain refused and left.” Dain’s father informed me, “I’m sorry, Vivian, I thought you would care to know.” He left me with that, walking through the wood in silence, just his feet crunching the leaves, and my soft sobs echoing through the air.
I stared at the tea cups on the log, studying the cold tea within them. I imagined my heart becoming cold as that tea, but it never did. My heart just broke and ached, but never chilled into numbness. The cold tea then became a symbol of the coldness that day, when the love of my life left me with a cold absence in my life.
Two years later, I became ill. Even as I lay dying in bed, the wound in my heart still ached. Every time I would see or even drink cold tea, I would see Dain’s face, and feel the cold of that horrible day. The aching feeling that I grew to know too well over the years; something horrid happened to Dain. I didn’t believe that he would leave without speaking to me. I knew him too well to think differently.
When my illness worsened, mother sent for family members and close friends. Knowing that I was nearing my death; mother wanted me surrounded by loved ones before I would meet the Father. Dain’s parents were among the crowd; his father stood out to me the most, he resembled his son so much. Everyone began to leave at my request. Mother and father left me with their kisses, love, and tears. This is why I didn’t want them to see me die; it would leave an even sadder memory for them to see me draw my last breath. They all left, except one. Dain’s father lingered in the doorway.
“Dain didn’t just run away.” He breathed uneasily, “He was coming for you, and he was going to elope with you.” I began to ask how he knew, but he silenced me when he came over to stand by my bedside. “I followed and confronted him about him allowing his family to go into despair. He told me…that he wouldn’t marry someone he didn’t love. He said that he loved you and only you.”
“It was an accident. I had talked him into backing away from me. We were at the cliff’s edge on the border between Wellsboro and Greenbridge. Blast it! The bloody rocks slipped and he fell! He fell so slowly to my eyes, but as I reached for him—he was already gone. I had no chance of saving him…” Tears ran down his cheeks at this. “I am the reason he left you—left all of us, and I am so sorry. I am so sorry that I have been such a bleeding coward to confess what I caused.” His face then is shadowed; I couldn’t see his expression anymore. “It’s pathetic that I have waited until now to admit this to you.”
I was speechless. If I were able to speak aside from my weakened state, I would not have been able to speak even at that. I had the urge to cry and to shout in his face as he stood confessing to me. After all these years, he confessed he was the reason for my Dain’s aching, bloody absence in my life. Dain the other half of my heart dead, while mine lived for two more years in pain and slowly dying.
Dain’s father stepped forward and unclenched my fist and placed something round and cold in my hand. “It was meant for you. He was planning to ask you on your birthday.” He left my room, leaving behind the small, gold wedding ring in my hand.
I winced my eyes closed, and then open to look up at the ceiling, waiting for my last breaths; not heartbroken like I had been for years, the cracks seemed to somewhat mend, my anger melting away like winter’s snow. I found myself thankful to know the truth about Dain. I didn’t dare to think of hatred towards his father so near death. I refused to have hatred in my soul before I would meet the Maker. Along with my final breath, I gave a last smile at how Dain and I weren’t separated for long. Only two years later, and I joined him. To me it was a sign that we were meant to be, no matter how tragic our earthly tale was. I oddly felt blessed by this, as I went from this life and into the afterlife.