In response to The Daily Post’s writing “Once Upon a Time”
Once upon a time there was a little girl who lived much as a fairy princess. She was loved and adored by those in the manor house she called home. This child’s name was Louisa and ever since she could remember she had been surrounded by love, attention and tender care. She was known by all to be in the township to be the most beautiful, intelligent and delightful child in the world. Her parents who lived in the manor house were mostly absent for reasons Louisa did not want to think about or understand. Her grandmother, Great Aunt Weese, Uncle Jules and her nurse, Liza took great pride in raising her as their own.
Her unmarried Uncle, whose name was Edmond, lived in the manor house as well, and was jealous of the child, feeling that she had taken his place in the hearts of his mother and aunt and uncle. His feelings were conflicted about Louisa because of her charm and loving nature and she had won his heart as well. Jealousy and love for Louisa lived with him and tormented him night and day.
Louisa talked in full sentences at age one and could read grade one level books by the age of three. Edmond watched her with her with her golden curls and big brown eyes, so happy on the lap of Uncle Jules soaking up his wisdom-the place that once was his. Uncle Jules and her grandmother read to her every day and taught her to sound out vowels and learn sentence structure. Louisa loved composition and could write little stories of her own at age four. Fantasy was her forte’, full of imagery and imagination.
Music also filled Louisa’s world. She quickly moved from her music box with the tiny ballerina twirling around inside to phonograph records of the great composers. Soon a piano was purchased and before she was seven, Louisa was playing Bach Inventions and Mozart’s Sonatas. Edmond had never been musically inclined, and unlike Louisa’s father, an accomplished musician, was looked down upon for it. Now this lovely princess who had stolen his heart and tormented his mind was a budding master! Edmond’s both loved and hated this child.
Louisa now wanted to dance! She had a best friend who lived at a nearby estate. Louisa loved the little girl with all her heart. The girls had been allowed to visit back and forth several times. This child’s name was Anna. Anna took dancing lessons and danced for Louisa. Louisa wanted to do what Anna did and was certain that she could. Private lessons began with the best instructor money could buy, the same instructor Anna’s parents had engaged. This was where Louisa failed. After weeks of lessons, the instructor told Louisa’s grandmother with much tact and sorrow that Louisa was simply not a dancer. For her many other gifts, dance was not one. The instructor gave grandmother the names of several other reputable dance instructors if grandmother would like to try, or get another opinion, but assured her the results would be the same. Grandmother, not wishing to prolong the inevitable from what she had seen with her own eyes, thanked the instructor and sent her on her way.
Louisa knew before she had to be told what had transpired. She would not let herself be heartbroken, instead she became angry, very angry with herself. She had never failed at anything in her life. She was ashamed that Anna would find out and love her no more, that Uncle Jules would think her inept, that Aunt Weese would no longer allow her to plunder in her wonderful messy fairyland closet, that grandmother would no longer allow her to sleep with her in her big high bed where she prayed on her knees before she got in. Louisa feared that she would loose Liza’s love and the closeness of her smooth, dark skin. Most of all, she was afraid Uncle Jules would no longer show her the constellations and tell her all the ancient stories surrounding them. Uncle Jules was her dearest favourite and she loved him with all her heart.
Edmond had successfully hidden his feelings about Louisa from her all these years. Louisa truthfully neither loved him or not, particularly. She had just taken him as a part of the household who was there at meals. Her best and happiest thoughts of him were greeting him as he came through the door when she was a toddler. Louisa was aware of some bad blood between Edmond and her parents and that put him on her side in a way because she thought little of her parents’ feelings and actions of whether she existed at all. Edmond knew this, saw an opportunity, and took it.
Louisa was sitting in the garden under the ancient oak, angry and brooding over her dancing failure,when Edmond came and sat beside her. Louisa’s golden brown curls were blowing in the early April breeze and her tiny feet were bare. Edmond had purposefully dressed in shirtsleeves and open collar, with house shoes. His hair was mussed and he looked more relaxed than he usually did in his suited attire. Edmond began to talk to Louisa in a way no one had ever done before. It seemed to her that he understood exactly how she was feeling in her anger, and why. Edmond told her it would always be like this for her as long as she remained in the manor house. He explained that it had been this way all his life-since he failed at something. Louisa listened to every word and in her state of mind, it all rang true.
Dinnertime came. Liza came rushing down the stairs calling in distress for Louisa’s grandmother. The entire house and grounds were searched to no avail. Edmond was also absent from dinner.