Pine Grove, Montana, 1887 – Lively music started to play. Sadie Dalton grabbed Harrison Marshall’s hand, dragging him into the rest of the folks that had gathered in the middle of the barnyard.
She was quick in joining the dance, and he nearly tripped over his feet as he caught up with her. She let out a giggle, her bright green eyes sparkling as they met his deep brown.
Everything else around them seemed to blur together as they danced, their feet stepping in time to the fiddle’s tune.
When the music stopped, Sadie’s chocolate brown hair had fallen partially out of its’ braid, and some of Harrison’s strawberry blond was in front of his eyes. He swiped the strands away as Sadie started to re-braid her hair.
“My, that was fast!” She exclaimed. “Hopefully the next one is a little slower. Not that I don’t like fast, because fast is good. . .sometimes. But slow would be nice.”
Harrison held up a finger. “Wait right here,” he said before going over to the musicians.
“What did you tell them?” Sadie asked when he came back, having finished with her hair.
“Wait for it.”
After a minute or two, the music started up again, this time a little slower than before. As the tune became familiar, Sadie perked up, her contagious smile spreading across her face as Harrison took her left hand in his, with his other hand going around her waist.
Several other couples joined them, but Harrison hardly noticed. Sadie leaned forward and rested her head against his chest, letting out a content sigh. In response, he leaned down so their cheeks were touching and softly sang in her ear.
She pulled back and looked up at him. “What time are you leaving tomorrow?”
His brow furrowed. “The cattle drive,” she reminded him.
“Oh, that.” Harrison exhaled. “We should be leaving after breakfast.”
“You won’t forget to write to me, will you?”
“Of course I won’t forget.”
“Hmm.” Sadie turned and plucked a small bunch of forget-me-nots from the bush near the house. “Do you promise?” she asked, holding the brilliant blue flowers out to him.
He smiled as he took them. “I promise,” he said, tucking the flowers into the band on his hat. He drew her closer, her arms came up and locked around his neck, they leaned towards each other, and then–
–He woke up to a sky clustered with stars and a dying fire. For one long moment, he tried to bring the treasured memory back. Instead, taking its’ place was a different memory, reminding him of a different promise.
One he hadn’t kept.
©H.S. Kylian 2018
(Critiques are welcome and appreciated!)