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The Lessons That Spelled 'I Love You'
By Myra

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bullet  I  snuck out and ducked behind the different tents as I watched them
closely with a keen eye, especially their hands.  Clopin was not getting away with this little trick of his.  Excusing himself to go drink and he
coincidentally ends up in a midnight stroll with our recent female visitor.
    I immediately regretted my brass bangles that decorated my limbs.  They
clinked  against each other as I tried to follow them through the catacombs.
I only hoped they brushed off any noise they heard for the fat rats that
scurried about.
    I picked up my dress making sure that the edges did not get wet from the
dirty water, and for the sake of not having the sloshing sound in the ankle
deep sewage give my presence away to the couple before me.
    I climbed into the tavern quickly, making sure not to loose them.  I was
afraid of being seen by them or acknowledged by other inhabitants of the bar.  I started past Cosette when her face lit up and she started to offer a
greeting.
    "Shhh!"  I placed my finger to my lips, helping to hush her.
    "Oh!"  She put a delicate hand over her mouth to correct herself.  I
nodded back, thanking her silently.  I almost made it to the door when I was
firmly grabbed by the wrist.  I fell backward and looked up to find my
notorious partner Colombine.
    "Hello!"  She waved at me cheerfully, obviously not noticing my mood and determination to leave.  I looked past her to try and see any silhouettes of
my lanky husband and his close, shorter friend.  Angered at my friend who had now become and obstacle I tried to move past her.  She continued to stand in front of me, blocking my exit.
    "Colombs, I really don't have time --" I looked over her arms and
shoulders, frantically searching.
    "Time for what?  Not enough time to speak with your best friend?"  She
pulled me  farther into the tavern.
    "No, no time.  Hey, where have you been lately.  I've not seen face
around for some days now.  Off creating a stir in another city?"  I raised a
demanding eyebrow, waiting for her humorous reply.  She twirled around the scarf she had made herself around her fingers.
    "No, I was...enjoying myself out of the Court, I can assure you of that."
 Her smug smile was equal to the bright, secretive look in her mismatched
eyes.  I looked her up and down and saw her in the same clothes she was in
the last time I had seen her, only this time her dress was messy and ruffled.
 Her hair wasn't placed as neatly as usual and I noticed a putrid smell about
her.
    "Colombine!  You were in the company of Frederick were you not?"  I
hastily put my hands on my hip.  She just had a childlike look on her face
and looked into the distance at nothing in particular. She looked away from
my gaze.
    "Perhaps.  What were you doing in here in the first place you lady.  You
seemed to be in quite a hurry."  She played with her fingernails as she
looked up at me playfully.  I almost hit myself, I had forgotten my original
purpose.
    "Gracious Colombine I must leave!  I will explain to you at a later date.
 Good-bye!"  I ran out and almost tripped over my own feet.  I grew mad at
myself for being so easily distracted.  Now I had made more work for myself
by having to find them.  The could be anywhere in the streets of Paris but I
knew I had to find them.
    I walked in and out of the sidestreets, my eyes as alert as a cat.  I
even looked under boxes to make sure the seductive Ariel hadn't convinced
Clopin into other activities with her ravishing smile and mysterious eyes.  I
started running to cover more ground.  My feet became scraped on rocks that I could not see in the darkness. I heard some movement and noise up ahead.  I almost tripped once more.  I came out of the alley I was hurrying down into the Town Square.  I had to stop myself immediately at my fast pace.  I found them.  They were walking next to each other, Ariel patting Clopin's arm from time to time and clapping as they conversed.  Then they stopped.  It was a bit hard to see them but I studied their figures intensely, watching their every move.  I continued to start when I saw their two shadows converge into one, their heads placed together and then separate.  I started to scream and had to cover my mouth with both hands to stop myself.
    That horrible little tramp.  She comes here putting on such an act one
would believe she had never been laid in a bed in her life when the real
performance is when she whispers to men the things they like to hear.  She
tried to be my friend and I was so blinded with happiness at my achievements
I had not even seen the truth.  Clopin had swore to me they were over many
years ago.  Clopin would never lie to me, she must have initiated the entire
incident.  I held back enraged cried and saddened tears and hurried back the way I had came.  Bumping into wooden crates and making sure to keep my
feelings quiet and to myself as I ran.  The surrounding blackness became a
blur as I raced as fast as my bare feet would carry me.  I ran through the
streets and then through the tavern.  I rudely pushed people out of my way.
I didn't care to think of who saw me or who I thoughtlessly got around.  I
even believe I pushed past Colombine because I heard a familiar "Herli!" as I shoved her against the bar.
    I listened to noone and made my way through the catacombs.  I fell,
making my dress darken its color and weighing my down as well.  I pushed
myself up, stumbling a little.  I continued to my tent, the tears fully
streaming down my face.  I couldn't see a thing as I entered the Court, only
bright colors surrounding me now.  I collided right into a tall burly figure.
 I mutter a meek apology under my choked cries and dripping outfit.
    "Herlikin!"  I gentle voice exclaimed in surprise.  I raised my head to
see Pipes.  A look of deep concern had creased lines in his face.  "What has
happened to you?  Where is Clopin?  Are you hurt?"  Only in my heart, I
thought as his questions swarmed in my head.  I looked up at him with a tear stained face and almost started crying again to the point that I wasn't able
to speak.
    "You told me that Ariel and Clopin ended years ago.  You were incorrect
my friend.  Your slut cousin has stolen him away from me!"  I couldn't talk
any longer.  The tears flowed again, more the before, and I pushed past
Pipes.  I didn't want to hear his excuses for his beloved cousin.
    I sat on my bed with my head in my hands, sobbing.  How could he do this?  She was a manipulative one, almost better than Isabelle had been.  I cried and cried.  I cried so much my stomach had started to hurt and my throat had tightened, making it hard to breath.  I quickly changed my dress and took out some pen and paper which I had taken from Ariel's tent.  I was upset that many of the words I wanted to write to Clopin I had not thought of asking to learn.  I made a simple note and placed it in his pipe, that way he was sure of seeing it and my message would get across.
    I ran out of my tent and walked through the Court, avoiding everyone.  I
went to the secret place that Clopin had shown me many years ago and thought a long time.  I was startled by someone arriving as where I was sitting.  Clopin saw me and hurried to my side.
    "Herlikin what is wrong?  Who has hurt you?"  I violently pushed him away and stood up to face him.  I looked up at his tall, strong body, which could
easily crush mine with the slightest move.  I knew I could stand up to him
because he would never strike me hard, a weakness he had.  I saw he had a
stern face.  A reaction to my gesture, I assumed.
    "You have.  You are an evil, thoughtless brute who is easily taken by any
woman who parades into the Court.  The King himself cannot resist a midnight stroll.  I cannot believe that long ago I almost lost you to her!  You didn't want to marry me.  You thought me a boisterous youngster who you would be imprisoned with for the rest of your life.  You would go and walk with her, and tell her you loved her and do everything you do with me with her, except marry!  Or did you do that too and I was not aware!  She should have had your children, it was the only step you did not take!  You wanted to always be with her and now that she is back you want to run away with her and never return to me!"  I was screaming now at him, and I was afraid our secret place would not be so secret after this.  I saw Clopin's face twist in horror.
    "Herlikin you jump to conclusions too quickly!  You are a selfish girl.
Think before you make such silly assumptions!"  He placed a firm hand on my arm but I shook it off.
    "Then what did I witness tonight?  I am a fully aware person and I am
aware of what I saw between you and that.....that hussy!"  His eyes widened
and his mouth opened slightly.
    "Herlikin, don't you dare speak of Ariel in such a manner.  It was
nothing to take me away from you. It was a simple, friendly token for my
hospitality."
    "That leads to other things."   I interrupted.
    "Shush your mouth and listen to me.  We had a past but I told you and
I'll dig it into your thick skull again, we are nothing now, nothing more
then friends."  I got up and walked away.  "Where are you going?"
    "To take care of a personal matter."  I waited for no disapproval by my
husband and walked quickly over to Ariel and Pipes' tent.  They both looked
up at my entrance and I walked over to Ariel.  I slapped her face hard and
without mercy.
    "That is for kissing my husband."  I walked out and back to my own tent.
The stunned look on Pipes' and Ariel's face would satisfy me for a lifetime.
Shortly after I was sitting in my tent and Clopin burst in, his face deep red
with fury.
    "Something you have not learned as long as you have lived here is to
control your temper.  You act so harsh when you do not get your way!  I want you to apologize to Ariel this instant!  Do not make me take my belt to you!"
 I turned away crossly.
    "Never."  I almost started to cry again, picturing the awful sight in my
head of them embracing and her touching his lips.  Disgraceful!  Clopin
detected my mixed emotions and walked and sat next to me.  He gently kissed my neck.
    "My love, my one and only.  You should know after years of marriage that
I would never leave you.  You satisfy every desire and love I could ever
have.  And I love you for everything you are.  I'm more angry you do not
realize this."  I sighed.  The tender voice of my husband was difficult to
stand up against.  I turned to him and with a rough brown hand he wiped my
tears away.    "Ariel and Pipes are leaving tomorrow.  They though it an appropriate time.  I'm sure you are severely depressed at this news," he said dryly.  I pushed him.
    "Stop.  You know I was friends with them.  I will make amends. Do not
worry."  I kissed him and we got ready for bed.  I was happy that I had
gotten into a fight about it.  I was able to let all my emotions out, nothing
held back from my husband.
    I closed my eyes and after having a long night I was quite ready to go to
sleep.

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bullet I woke up with the sniffles left over from last night.  Clopin had agreed
not to go out today and perform since Ariel and Pipes were departing from the Court.  I decided to take the initiative and get dressed to go over to
Ariel's, I had some talking to do.
    When I arrived the look on both their faces was pure shock.  I felt my
face grow hot and blew a strand of hair out of in front of my eyes.  Neither
of them moved or made and effort to greet me in anyway.
    "Hello.  I felt I should come over and speak with you after my rude
behavior last night.  I hope you can put that all in the past."  I made sure
not to say I was sorry, because I wasn't.  She had taken a night walk with my
husband a kissed him, I thought she deserved a much more severe beating than what she got from me.  But, knowing Clopin and myself I knew we wouldn't make any progress in the situation with each other and Ariel if I didn't speak up and try to make her forget about it.  If I didn't I would kick myself for it later for being so stubborn.
    "Well, I suppose things happen we can't really control when we're angry,"
 she sighed and looked up at me from her spot on the floor, "but it's all
over now and we will be leaving tonight with a tribe that is passing through.
 I hope this means we can still make a small wave to each other if we ever
meet again"
    "Yes, I hope so.  I will see you tonight, good-bye."  I turned around and
walked out.  Pipes had said nothing, just watched our brief conversation with a slight look of awe and satisfaction that things were somewhat patched up.
    I entered my own tent to see the children clean and dressed in fresh
clothing.  "And what woman has come in and done this to my children?"  Clopin chuckled from his seat on the bed.
    "My love, you know perfectly well that I am capable of taking care of our
own children."  He said with a nod of confidence.  "So where did you run off
to before realizing that you could not leave your irresistible husband?"  I
laughed mockingly at his comment.
    "My whereabouts are not of your concern.  Now I will make myself
breakfast, as well as yours if you have not eaten.  Or have you taken that
wifely job away from me as well?"  He took my hands into his after walking up to face me.
    "You are the only one who could ever make a breakfast good enough for me.  Besides, I could not find the food."  He added lightly.
    I made us both a large breakfast and sat around the tent.  I couldn't
read or write. No, now I'd wait for Ariel and Pipes to leave to show him
that.  Clopin and I walked around the Court, arm in arm, conversing with the
folk who did their routine chores and motherly duties.  Christophe nodded to
us both as we passed his stand.  We soon returned home and I made a light
supper so Clopin and I could say farewell to our friends.
    There were only a few other people sending off the pair beside us.  They
had really kept to themselves during their stay.  After a few others said
their good-bye's it was Clopin's and my turn.  I went first.
    I walked up to Pipes and he gave me a large, tight embrace.  He kissed my cheek.  "You are truly a spark in my dull fireplace."  He said no more and
his eyes shined in the moonlight.  I grinned sweetly at him and moved to
Ariel.  We both stood staring at each other for a moment when she moved in
and hugged me.  A smile broke on both our faces.  In my ear she whispered,
"You have done so well and learned so quickly.  I have left a little bit of
reading material in your unicorn chest.  And don't worry, they all have happy endings."  I laughed and our bodies parted, it was Clopin's turn.
    He shook a firm hand of Pipes and they both smiled and hugged for a few
moments.  He then hugged Ariel.  She whispered something into his ear as well and they both smiled.  I saw her go in for a kiss and my blood began to boil.  I wondered if my half apology was a mistake.  She almost reached his lips and then pulled back suddenly, kissing him lightly on the cheek.
    "I didn't want us to say good-bye this way a second time," she said
softly.  Clopin didn't reply and only made a small, sympathetic smile at her.
    She followed Pipes to the cart and right before she entered she turned
around and waved.  It would be the last time I would ever look into those
deep violet eyes.

 

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