Norway, 1837 – A distorted orange light bobbed up and down, shining behind the waters that winter had frozen in place. Carefully, she made her way up the slick slope, skirt in one hand and lantern in the other.
Setting the light down, she wrapped her cloak tighter around herself and waited in the frigid air. Moments later, another lantern came into view, carried by the dark-haired young man that grinned at her.
He set the lantern down and spread his arms out, which she happily ran into. The smell of pine and sweat still lingered on his clothes, as he had just come from harvesting ice.
The calm silence of the night was broken by his speaking first. “Sigrid,” he started, moving back a little so he could see her eyes. The color of evergreen boughs, rimmed with a ring of warm brown, met the soft gray of mountain stone.
“What would you say if I asked you to marry me?”
“Is that a hypothetical question, or-?”
“Perhaps,” he said. “Or perhaps it’s not.”
“Are you sure this is a good time to be asking?”
“Would you like to wait for a little while longer?”
She took a moment to answer, playing with a strand of her dark blonde hair. “I don’t know,” she said as she dropped the strand. “I would, but what if we do wait and then something happens to you?”
“Then you don’t want to wait?”
Gazes locked, they stood in a moment of silence.
“No,” she finally said, the hint of a smile tugging at her mouth. “No, I don’t.”
He smiled. “Now that we have that out of way,” he said, getting down on one knee. “Sigrid, will you marry me?”
Her answer echoed around them. “Yes!”
1838 – Once more, a distorted orange light bobbed behind frozen waters in the midst of the night. Once more, she was careful making her way up the slick slope.
When she’d come to their spot, she set the lantern down and wrapped her arms around her lower abdomen, which was growing a little larger every day. She’d been asked so many times who the child’s father was, but she hadn’t told. Not yet. Not until the time was right.
That time had to be now, but she wouldn’t know until her husband met her here. He and the others had gone up the mountain earlier that evening, to put an end to all the injustice.
Only half of them had returned and he hadn’t been with them. They’d said he went missing.
He had told her that if something went wrong, she was to come here. So she came and she waited for him.
When her fingers started growing numb, despite the mittens she wore, she went back outside and soon came back with a bundle of sticks that became a small fire. When the lantern’s light started growing dim, she relit the candle.
Then she heard her name being called and an orange light bobbed into view. She stood, hope swelling inside her.
But the faces which the light shone on belonged to one who was like a father and one who had once been a friend.
“There you are, Sigrid,” Ivar Pedersen said. He held up a heavy blanket and draped it over her shoulders. “How long have you been out here?”
She gave a small shrug.
“Were you waiting for someone?” Aleksander Haugen asked.
“What concern is it to you?” She snapped.
Aleksander gave her a pointed glare, his hazel eyes sharp. “Whoever he is, he’s obviously not coming.”
He suspected why she was here. That alone was reason enough not to say anything to him about who the child’s father was.
So help her, he would never find out.
“Here, let’s get you home,” Ivar said, gently leading her away towards the entrance while Aleksander put out the fire. “Everyone has been worried about you.”
Outside, she gave the frozen waterfall one last look, a tiny sliver of hope still lingering. Then, with a resigned feeling of defeat, she allowed herself to be lead home.
©H.S. Kylian 2018
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