One Of One Thousand and One Ways...
1 of 1,001 Ways…
My husband is actually quite romantic (though most would never know it) and while we were dating, he had picked up a book called “1,001 Ways To be Romantic”. The intention was that we would write all the numbers – from 1 to 1,001 (or those suggestions that were doable – not all of them are) on pieces of paper, put them in a jar (really big jar), and once a week we would each pick out a slip of paper and whatever number was on that paper, we would perform that romantic gesture for the other.
One “romantic gesture” I picked was to write him a short romantic fairytale. Up for the challenge, I typed it up, using a really beautiful font style, had it printed onto nice paper stock and then had it bound. It came out really good and he genuinely loved it.
So, at the suggestion of my husband, and to celebrate both our Anniversary (15 years) and Valentine’s Day, which just so happen to be the same day, I decided to write this hub. Here is 1 of the 1,001 ways I chose (or rather picked) to be romantic. This is the story I wrote for him 17 years ago. It was titled, (duh - what else), “Happily Ever After”. I know – not very original but what can I say…
Darn it - Wish I could remember what number it was!
Happily Ever After
Once upon a time, in a land far away, stood a splendid castle. It was nestled high atop a hill and surrounded below by a lush emerald forest. Within the outer walls lay a manicured garden filled with a numerous variety of flowers, both budding and already in bloom. They were magnificent in their spectrum of colors, vibrant and alive, filling the air with the sweetest of scents.
Through this garden ran a cobblestone path. This path led to an ornate marble fountain that stood at the center of this garden. From this fountain flowed water so sparkling clear that it resembled a shower of diamonds.
Sitting in front of this fountain, on a sculpted stone bench, was a young woman, so absorbed in her own thoughts that she herself looked like one of the many statues spread about the garden. Only the curls from her long dark hair blowing in the gentle breeze had shown she was not. Her sable eyes were cast down and unmoving. She was very unhappy and her heart weighed heavy with sorrow, for in one day’s time, she would be married.
What would be considered a joyous occasion for most women, was not so for her. She was not in love with the man she was to marry. She loved another, one whom she had not laid eyes on save for her dreams. She did not know this mysterious man, only that they were part of one another, the missing half that would complete the whole of each and make them one. He was her soul mate, her destiny.
The marriage tomorrow was one of convenience that had been arranged by her parents and no matter how much she protested they were firm in their decision. The man she was to marry, although much older than her, was a highly respected man of considerable wealth and this most assuredly impressed her parents. They explained that in time, she would grow to love him. In her heart she knew this was not true.
She slowly lifted herself off the bench and before she made her way back along the cobblestone path back to the castle, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a silver coin. Clasping it tightly in her grip and holding it close to her heart, she closed her eyes, took a deep breath and tossed it into the fountain. Turning away and walking back, she prayed that her wish had been heard.
The night sky was alive with lights. Countless stars glowed brightly against the dark blanket that covered the land. The forest, so full of energy during the day, was in contrast, very still and ominous during the night. Gone were the chirping of birds, replaced now by the howls and cries of the nocturnal creatures that moving about.
Amidst the sinister sounds and hidden in the shadows he lay, his head resting on a bed of leaves. He was in a deep slumber but it was far from restful. He was having a very disturbing dream. It had to do with Her. He had been dreaming of her constantly. Although he did not know her, he knew that she belonged to him, was a part of him. In the dream she was calling out to him, pleading for help, for him to come and save her, take her away and make her happy once again.
He jolted awake, his eyes snapping open. He jumped up, at first confused by his surroundings. Upon realization, he sat back down to ponder the dream he had just had. He could not remember if fully but it unsettled him none the less. All he knew was that there was very little time left. He had to reach Her soon. He had been searching for this mystery woman since the dreams has started. It has been as if some mystical force had been leading him onward in his search and as of that moment, the pull became even stronger.
Looking up at the sky, he noticed that the sun would be rising soon. He whistled for his horse and a few moments later a majestic white stallion appeared. He gathered his belongings together and with a mighty leap, jumped in the saddle. He did not really know which direction to head in but at that moment it seemed of little importance. The feeling was leading him now and it was a force that could not be resisted. The horse, as if picking up on the rider’s intent, increased its speed. The rider’s thoughts kept him preoccupied. He prayed he would reach her in time. Time for what, he did not know.
She was already awake when one of the servants came with a breakfast tray for her. She had been up since the rising of the sun, watching it as it came up over the horizon. I looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. How unfortunate, she thought, that the beauty of this day could not even bring a smile to he face. If the weather could mirror her feelings, it would surely be miserable outside. She wished this day had never come. In a few short hours she would be married to a man she despised.
She wrestled with the thought of getting out of bed, not wanting to leave its warm comfort. She was very exhausted due to the lack of sleep the night before. Deciding to remain there for the time being, she glanced over at her breakfast. It made her queasy to think of consuming any food so she pushed the tray away, calling the servant to come take it. The servant gave her a disapproving glance and scolded her slightly, claiming she needed her strength on such an important. She just wished the servant would keep her thoughts to herself!
After about a half hour, she heard a soft knock at her bedroom door. It was her mother, bringing with her a handful of servants to help prepare her for the upcoming nuptials. If they noticed her melancholy mood, they didn’t say anything and probably just attributed it to pre-wedding nerves. She did not utter a word as they bathed her, styled her hair, and dressed her. Two hours later, when they had finally gotten her prepared, they all left the room, except her mother. They were awaiting the arrival of the horse-drawn carriage to bring them to the chapel.
He had come to rest by a quiet, little stream, its waters gently cascading over the smooth rocks. He had been riding for several hours and to rest a moment before continuing on his quest. As he bent down to refill his water bag, a feeling of apprehension overcame him. His inner voice was telling him that time was running out and that he must leave now. He jumped atop his stallion, grabbed the reins, and began his search again.
The carriage had just arrived at the chapel. The guests were waiting outside to view the arrival of the bride and her parents. She saw them outside and not wanting to face them just yet, told the driver to keep going. Her parents looked at her in confusion, but she did not care to explain her actions, and they did not ask. They still had time to make it back for the ceremony, so they were not worried. They should have been!
As he rode along the winding path, he could see something approaching in the distance. He could not make out what it was as it was still too far away to be seen clearly, but the sight of the nearing object made his heart beat a little faster. As it got closer he could make out that it was a horse-drawn carriage. She was in that carriage! He did not know how he knew, but he just did. He urged the stallion to increase its speed, and with as urgency never felt before, rode straight to his destiny.
Her head was bent low. She knew they would have to head back shortly. She would just have to face facts. She released a heavy sigh and was just about to tell the driver to head back when she caught the subtlest movement out of the corner of her eye. She turned to look and let out a gasp. It couldn’t be! This must be a dream she thought because coming towards her on a magnificent white beast, was the man of her dreams. Without a second’s hesitation, she leaped out of the moving carriage and started running towards him. She did not even care if he knew who she was, just that she had to reach him.
When he saw the woman leap from the moving carriage, he couldn’t believe his eyes. She wasn’t just a figment of subconscious mind! She was real, and she was running straight at him! He nudged his horse to move faster and when he was close enough to touch her, reached down and in one swift motion, pulled her into the saddle and into his arms. As he embraced her, he tilted he face up towards his, brushed the tendrils of hair from her eyes, and kissed her with all the love and passion he was feeling.
No words had been spoken between them for there were none needed. Their eyes mirrored their feelings for one another and spoke for them. Both were now where they should be, where they always belonged, in each other’s arms. Fate had finally brought them together. Without a glance back, they rode off together, ready to face anything the future had to throw at them, with a smile on their faces and love in their hearts.