Written by DeAnna Erdmann
Catherine walked the grounds of her grandmother’s garden in a quiet reserve. Pale pink roses bloomed on towering pushing, filling the air with their musky and soft aroma. Her skirts swooshed heavily around her feet and her bodice was cinched so tightly that she was certain it was becoming part of her ribs. Oh how I wish I were a boy… pants seem much more logical, she thought to herself. She breathed deeply, willing the fresh air to lighten her mood. At just thirteen she was suddenly thrust into the world of women, where running was not allowed and voices should remain hushed and submissive. This world was foreign and unacceptable to a spirit as free as Catherine’s, who had enjoyed her country childhood running in the fields and chasing tadpoles in the creek. She reached up into the tree she was walking under and was delighted when her fingers found something solid and silky. She twisted until she felt a pop and pulled her reward down. A smooth blush and green apple lay unblemished in her hand. She continued walking down the dusty path, absentmindedly tossing the apple into the air as she anxiously awaited the sight of her destination. She passed through an archway in the stone perimeter wall and smiled. There in front of her, surrounded by ancient and tall oaks, was a primitive rock water well. It had once been the only source of water for Mordock Manor, but now it was forgotten and overrun with dark English Ivy. The ivy climbed effortlessly up the posts that held the little roof into place, although Catherine could hardly imagine that the roof kept much of the elements out of the well in its current state. She gathered her skirts and heaved herself up onto the ledge of the well, leaning her back and head tiredly into the post. When she was younger she used to play at the well. She could clearly hear her echo when she talked into the depths and she liked to pretend it was a magical fairy talking back to her. She and her fairy friend had gone on many adventures together over the years. Closing her eyes, she yearned with her heart for the days when the only thing that mattered was adventure and fun.
“You’ll always be able to have fun here.” A voice similar to a bell called from deep within. Catherine snapped straight up so sharply that the apple toppled into the well. A tinkling laughter bubbled up. “Thank you for the apple.”
“How? I mean… hello? Is someone down there?”
“Oh dear Cat, you know I am. I have never left you and I never will.”
“Oh my darling fairy friend… I have longed for our days of laughter and stories. My grandmother says I must be a young woman now. It is a horrible dreadful thing.”
The fairy laughed her bell-like giggle. “Growing up is hard perhaps, but being a woman is not horrible. There is magic in womanhood.”
Catherin scoffed. “Magic!?! It’s only tea and quiet and petticoats and dull conversation.”
More bells found their way to her ears. “Oh my silly girl. Womanhood is passion and secret smiles. Womanhood brings with it the ability to create life and that itself is magical. Womanhood brings about the ability to change your world and the world of those around you. As a woman you will be respected and heard. Your ideas will grow bold and your desires more intense. Nay, my dear… womanhood is not horrible, it is the beginning of the greatest story you will ever live.”
“But I miss running in the field and laughing in the sun.”
“Sweet girl, one day you will have a girl of your own and you will show her how to run in the sunlit fields. Your days of running are not gone, only disguised.”
“What if I can’t wait til then?”
“Cat, all the best things take time.”
“Catherine! Where are you?” Her grandmother’s voice called from inside the wall.
Catherine bolted upright, wiping the sleep from her eyes. Had she been sleeping? She hastily hopped down from her resting spot on the well and began to walk toward the wall.
“I’m coming grandmother,” she called.
Just then something hit her square in the rear. She turned and saw her apple rocking at her feet with a single bite taken out. She stared at the well in disbelief. She slowly turned back to walk toward her grandmother, with a bit of hope now tied into this new world she had come to know.