It was at a ball. These things always seem to be.
I was young. I am young, but I was even younger then, if you can imagine such a spectacle.
The ball was uninteresting. A diversion, yes. A change of pace to stop me sitting at home and reading novels, and then attempting to write my own long after everyone else had retired.
My point is, I went in expecting nothing.
Especially not her.
She was the most beautiful girl in the room, and she wore the most beautiful gown. No one else seemed to notice this.
She was a princess. These girls always seem to be.
As princesses go, she was unimportant. She had many older siblings, enough that the kingdom didn’t need another random girl to marry off to people who had large armies and old hatreds.
I don’t know much about her, but I think she liked being unimportant. She didn’t meet the eyes of the people she was introduced to, and I got the impression that she too would rather be at home, alone, reading, or writing, or whatever it is she did when she was alone.
I never found out.
It was this unannounced solidarity that drew me to her. I like reaching out to people like me, because, knowing myself, I find it unlikely they’d reach out to anyone.
I picked up her name from conversation, and I managed to introduce myself.
Eve. Princess Eve.
I like Eve. It’s a name that speaks of beginnings. Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, All Hallow’s Eve, these are days that became important because they come before other days. It is secretly these days that we look forward to. It’s the excitement and anticipation we want, not the parties and the presents.
Princess Eve stole my heart in record time.
I don’t even know if she meant to do it. Certainly I didn’t mean for it to happen. I don’t know if it was her small smile or her blue eyes or her quiet but resonant voice, but I was lovestruck.
I asked her to dance.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been more terrified than in that moment.
She said yes.
I am absolutely sure that the next moments could only have gone well if she found my anxious nervousness charming.
But I never found out.
She was called.
Her family was leaving. The ball was winding down.
Had it not just been starting?
How much of the evening had I spent with this princess, not quite having the nerve to ask her to dance?
I didn’t beg her to stay for our dance. I wanted to, but I didn’t want to scare her away.
I told her we’d dance at the next ball.
We never did.
I’m not quite sure what happened when next we met.
She was the same, but the air was different.
She told me she could not dance with me. Ever.
I didn’t ask why. No reason she could give would have been enough.
She told me she cared for me. She apologized.
How I wish I could have hated her.
How I still wish I could.
But it is not her fault.
The Eve had passed.
The morn had come.
The anticipation was over, leaving parties, and presents,
And disappointment.