Unraveling – Part 22

by Elizabeth

She got into the shower without reply to His last; her day was busy but she knew that was merely an excuse – truth be told she didn’t know how to reply to His last.   It wasn’t merely a matter of finding the right words, it was understanding how she felt so she *could* find the words, but these feelings were entirely new and she couldn’t define them – they had no previously known place in her life; her head was swimming …

Drying her hair she looked into the mirror,  who had she become?

She wrapped herself in a towel and sat down at her computer …

“I’ve  asked you this once before and your reply was both diplomatic and sensitive, but I’m asking again because something has changed, I feel it; are we having an affair?” 

Her day was an endless stream of meetings and errands, tasks she found mundane, but today she welcomed the diversion; she wasn’t sure she was ready for His reply.  

Was fear part of what she felt?  Fear that was her mortal enemy and always had been …

It was now October and her mother had grown tired of waiting; “Elizabeth is going to learn to ride her horse.”  She’d hired an instructor and lessons were to be on Thursday afternoons – a day that was not in conflict with ballet, piano or violin instruction.  

Two Thursdays had passed in which Elizabeth had successfully avoided a riding lesson.  Her mother had never drawn lines for Elizabeth’s behaviour and by age seven Elizabeth knew an emotional display made Mummy uncomfortable enough to concede to her whims.   Even Maggie, her beloved and very adept nanny, was at a loss when it came to her young charge and horses! 

When the final bell rang, Elizabeth was shocked to find her father waiting in the hall amongst the nannies and drivers; her heart fell and her stomach ached – He wasn’t at work on a weekday afternoon, this could only  mean he was going to oversee today’s lesson … 

There was no way out of this – she couldn’t scream and refuse to obey her Father as she could her Mother – he was a very good father; his expectations of her were crystal clear on top of which she loved him more than anything in the world – she wanted to please him and make him proud of her; the thought of disappointing him filled her with anxiety and shame, but she was deathly afraid of horses. 

Daddy had been wonderful as always;  patient, kind and very understanding of her trepidation and fear of Darby.  He’d brushed the horse as Libby watched, ridden alone as she clung tight to Maggie’s hand,  fed him apples and carrots and kissed his velvety face – all in an effort to calm his daughter’s fear, but today felt different …

And it had been.  He was resolved – fear was not something he could allow his daughter to live with or to be ruled by.  She had dreams and the potential to make them come true, he’d not allow her to acquiesce now – or ever.  

His voice was tender but firm: “Libby, do you know what courage is?”  

He was holding her hand as they walked from the house to the stables …

Yes, Daddy; it is being unafraid.”  

He stopped walking and knelt down in front of his daughter …

No.  Courage is being afraid and still doing what you must do; everyone is afraid of something, Princess, but those who are also courageous don’t allow fear to stop them.”  

Shaking off the distant memory, she looked at her computer screen: One New Message … 

Yes Elizabeth, we’re having an affair – and I have no regrets.  

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