The big stone house on the edge of the field was bustling with life. Everything spoke of action, the pale blossom buds on the apple tree about to burst open, the bent green necks that poked up in the garden ready to straighten and reveal their leafy heads, the birds that scavenged the ground for seeds and sang tunes about now, now, now.
The girl peered out of her window into the early morning light, her eyelids heavy with sleep, her golden braid plaited down the side of her head tugging on her scalp. The morning light picked white tree seeds out of the air, like suspended snowflakes too light to fall. The girl was suddenly filled with an overwhelming joy for the world, for today was her wedding day.
She slipped the silk robe over her arms, the silk sliding like rivulets over the material of her white nightgown. Her bare feet were cushioned by the plush red carpets as she ran to her mothers’ room, her hair falling out of its braid and flying out behind her, gold threads catching in the breeze from the open windows, shining like golden thread in the early sunlight streaming in. She knocked once, not waiting for the answering call, pushing the door open with a wide grin on her face, her cheeks flushed with excitement and her eyes bright with joy.
‘Mama!’ she exclaimed, running to her mothers’ side, shaking her awake, for the girls still had many childish habits at the young age of sixteen. ‘Mother, wake up! It is my wedding day!’
Her mother rolled over slowly, lines creasing her face where she had slept on the sheets. A small smile played at the edges of her mouth, the words filtering through her sleepy brain slowly.
‘Of course, my sweet. Today is your day.’
The girl sat at the mirror, admiring her reflection. Her bridesmaids cooed around her, sounding like pigeons finding food after being hungry for many days. She turned her head to look at herself better; the light rouge on her cheeks made the pallor of her skin stand out against her golden locks, her green eyes accentuated by the golden eye colour her friends had insisted on putting on her.
Emeline leaned over her shoulder, catching the girls hand and put her ring finger in the light where the huge diamond on her engagement ring could sparkle. The four girls oohed at the sheer size and beauty of the ring, giggling while they thought of how their own weddings would be. The girl looked down at her ring, a swell of joy rising in her as she looked up at her friends, realising not for the first time how truly lucky she was.
At that moment, her mother walked in, carrying something wrapped in white silk in her arms. She smiled gently at her daughter, her walk slow and her eyes gentle. Nothing made her happier than to see her little girl happy and although she had had her doubts about the young marriage at first, she had soon come to accept that this was what her daughter wanted.
The girl turned to smile at her mother, wrapping her arms around the older woman’s thin waist. She listened to the slow rhythmic drum of her mothers’ heart and breathed in the scent of rose and lavender that was her mothers’ smell, letting go to sort out a stray curl that had fallen from the clip.
‘Here, I’ll get that,’ her mother said, catching the curl before the girl could. The mother unwrapped what she had brought with her, revealing a beautiful set of blue sapphire hair slides.
The girl and her friends gasped, watching as the sunlight hit the sapphires and bounced off, creating a blue glow on the girls face as she bent over to look at them and creating another-worldly glow.
‘Something old and something blue,’ her mother smiled, looking at her daughter with love shining out of her eyes. The girl could say nothing for fear of crying; only looking up at her mother with tears shining in her eyes.
Her mother gestured with the hair slides and the girl turned around, waiting for her mother to put them in her hair. She slid them into the golden mass with ease and perfect precision, capturing the curls so the girls face was framed with gold. She sighed, looking at herself in the mirror and thinking about how happy she was in that moment.