A Life of Forgetting
Arnold leaned back in his leather chair. His study had become his only refuge from the melancholy that filled his house. The dreaded down turned lips and weepy eyes were too much for any man to bear. For heavens sake, it wasn’t his fault his daughter ran away. It wasn’t his fault she’d rather live a life of sin than marry a respectable man. She’d had plenty of suitors with means to keep her and her children well-kept for years. At this point, all he wanted was to forget it all, the pain, the loss, the disgrace.
Amelia said he was heartless, that he never loved Marianne like he should have. The problem was that he did. Every day he tried to forget the pain that she caused him, but it never left. It rotted in his chest and made everything taste sour. Each night he went to sleep hoping that the night would snatch the torment from his chest. Each morning he awoke and the hollowness was still there, but he could still dream, couldn’t he?
Arnold leaned back in his chair and packed his pipe with tobacco. It was the only thing that gave him some comfort. The smell always reminded him of his father. Not a day past by that he wished the old man was still alive, during times like these he could use his sound advice. Should he still search for his daughter? Or write her off for good? Arnold never knew which way he should lean toward. In the days after Marianne left he searched everywhere in the city for her and that damn stable boy. His gut told him he should have never hired him; the boy had that look in his eye that meant trouble. No matter what price Arnold paid for their capture, no one could find them. It was a mystery how their trail stopped at the back door.
He took a drag, relishing Ameila’s absence for the evening. He was glad of it. Her brooding only provoked him more. The pain in his chest had become debilitating, he just wanted to forget it all and the daughter he loved more than life itself. He closed his eyes and puffed. An action he loved purely for its simplicity. A rap at his study door distracted him.
Amelia entered; her face looked different, younger perhaps. Arnold’s manners clicked in. “Did you enjoy your evening out?”
Amelia smiled. It had been such a long time since he’d seen her smile his heart almost melted. “Yes dear.” She glanced out into the hallway. “I have someone here to see you.”
Arnold looked at his watch. “This late? Must be important, send them in.”
Amelia pushed the door back. From the shadows a young woman in a light blue dress waltzed into his study. Her matching blue hat concealed her face.
Arnold’s brows furrowed. “It is rather late miss. What can I help you with?”
The young lady took off her white gloves, tilted her head downward and carefully removed her hat. Underneath her brown hair was curled up in the latest fashion. Arnold couldn’t help thinking there was something oddly familiar about the color of her hair, but couldn’t imagine what. She lifted her delicate chin and his pipe fell out of his mouth onto the floor.
“Papa. It’s me, Marianne.”
Tears sprung from his eyes as he ran to her and pressed her against him. The smell of roses wafted up into his nostrils. A scent he had almost forgotten even existed. As he clutched her small frame to his he thought ‘this time I’ll never forget how much I love you.’
Hidden Years by Knight of the Heart
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