RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Fiction Break: The Story of My Name

The part of the show where I post my own fiction.

The Story of My Name

I was born on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, under an especially auspicious sky. My mother was a noblewoman who married below her rank to a knight. She was allowed a love match because she was the youngest daughter in a large family and enough of her brothers and sisters had married well that her indiscretion was permitted, if not exactly admired.

My mother was in such pain as I struggled to be born that she thought she would certainly die. I was laid out at last in her arms and the sight of my red, wailing face calmed her anxiety.

Her husband was out on patrol but servants had been sent to find him. I had just suckled at my mother’s breast for the first time when a man galloped up to the house and rushed into her chamber.

“Your husband is dead,” he said grimly. “He was on patrol and overheard a plot to overthrow the king. He rode to warn the king when he was intercepted and killed. Madam, I was a good friend of your husband’s and even now the plot he discovered is being carried out. There will be a great deal of chaos and because of my loyalty to your husband, I came to warn you that you must take your child and leave. Make no mistake, if they succeed, they will come for you.”

From his pocket he drew out a rose that had been pressed between the covers of a book. “I regret that I could not retrieve the body for you, but I found this for you. It is a wild rose, and a rare one. I wish I had better news for you.” And with that the man left.

My mother gathered up me, the money she could find, and left with her maid. After a week’s journey, they were stopped at an inn, when the maid said, “Despite everything, your daughter be named after all. Have you chosen something, mistress?”

“Rose,” said my mother, as the tears rolled down her face.

I was born on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. If my mother had had the money to consult an astrologer, she would have known that it was an auspicious day for a child to be born. At the moment I was trying to be born, she was more concerned with where her husband was than the fate predicted by the stars. Her husband had left three days ago, to get the money for the midwife, he’s said.

My mother could only hope that eventually he might sober enough to recall that he had a pregnant wife and a midwife who needed paying. At last, I came, reluctant to enter the world. My mother had not eaten in days and quickly gave up trying to nurse me when it was evident that neither she nor I had the inclination for it.

The midwife grew cross indeed when my mother told her that she did not have the money to pay her yet. “I will pay you as soon as my husband returns,” my mother told her, “he’s gone out to get the money for you. He’ll return soon, and I know where to bring it.”

“Your husband is a worthless drunk and I was a fool to think you’d pay.” The midwife left and my mother spilled a great many tears onto my red cheeks. At that very moment, a friend of her husband came to our hut in a great deal of hurry.

“Your husband is dead,” he said, breathlessly. “I am sorry. He insulted another man or it could have been the other man insulted him, but either way he was slower with his knife. I wish I had better news.”

My mother was too shocked to wail. “I haven’t even the money to pay the midwife who delivered my baby,” she said, “I can’t bury him. Oh the shame, to be buried in a pauper’s grave!”

My mother was still a very beautiful woman, and perhaps the man’s heart was softened perhaps at the sight of a lovely woman in such distress. He gave her a handful of coins wrapped in a handkerchief and left. When my mother unwrapped the handkerchief, she admired its fineness. It was soft white silk, embroidered with a border of roses around the edges. The coins were enough to bury her husband and pay the midwife and even to eat for a few days.

Together we wailed for the father I would never know, and then when my mother had finished crying for the first and last time over her dead husband, she held me close and rocked me.

“My little Rose,” she said.

Thoughts on what I wrote? Leave a comment or email me boldblueadventure AT gmail DOT com.

No comments: