The Swans"They say that swans mate for life."A woman spoke to seemingly anyone and no one in particular as a crowd gathered to behold the regal pair of fowl as they escorted their newest brood through the tiny pond, basking in the glow of admiration from the small audience.
Mate for life? What a romantic idea, a novel concept...a silly girl's dream. Hadn't life proved long ago that such things were only the stuff of romance novels and fairy tales?
That single afternoon had been one of enchantment, something that seemed as preordained as ink being applied to yellowed pages from long ago. There was a boy and there was a girl who had met by happenstance, born of different classes like some modern day prince and peasant girl.
Except the prince was more of a knight who was fighting for a cause in a war he didn't entirely agree with. And the peasant girl had elevated her status to maid in the home of a pampered noblewoman.
Yet despite these differences and no matter how much our lady protested, in the end she found herself walking side by side with our noble dreamer on a beautiful autumn day. A day in which they could simply be themselves rather than what the world and life had forced upon them.
Swans mate for life..how those words rang in her ears as the days since that golden autumn day passed and became months. When did she stop viewing him as a pest and as a friend? When did she stop viewing him as a friend and as a lover? And when..oh when, had he become 'mate' in her eyes?
But what that lady had failed to mention to her and the rest of the people gathered on that day, was that when a swan's mate died, the other soon died as well.
So when she opened the door one winter morning and received word that her brave knight had been slain, the pain had been enough to make her want to die. How she'd wished each tear she cried would somehow bring him back if not for herself, for the family he'd left behind. She could endure so long as he was still in this world.
But tears don't bring back the dead and people aren't swans. No matter how much it seemed to hurt her, she was forced to keep on living and tread the waters alone without her beloved at her side.
"It really is sad to see them alone."A woman noted as she stood on the small bridge watching the single bird swim alone with its head bent in mourning. "They rarely live long after the mate dies."She continued, lecturing like a school master before a fresh crop of students.
"It is sad, but sometimes they do survive."The girl replied as the water fowl flapped its massive wings and suddenly took flight.
"I wonder where it plans to go now?"The woman asked as the girl smiled and turned away from the empty pond.
"Wherever the wind takes it, most likely."