Coming of Age Sad

Mary Ann sat in the meadow picking daisies as her sister Beth helped weave them into a crown.

“I wish you didn’t have to leave like this'' Beth flicked her pesky braid back over her shoulder where it belonged. “I don’t know how long it will be until father calms down enough to see the two of you again”

“I know” Mary Ann looked at her sister mournfully. “But I love Mathew more than my own life”

“If it wasn’t for that Luckus Wills then you wouldn’t have to elope” Beth looked at her older sister. She was the most lovely thing in miles, it was no wonder a rich man had asked for her hand.

“The thing I can’t understand is why father thinks that money will make me more happy than love” Mary Ann picked a loose string from the hem of her long skirt.

The two sisters stopped their conversation when they heard footsteps approaching. They quickly stood and scrambled to retrieve their baskets of sewing they were definitely still working on.

“Mathew” Mary Ann ran to her promised when she saw it was him and not her father or one of her brothers approaching the pair. Beth relaxed and admired how fondly the two looked at one another.

“I came to finalize the plans for tonight” Mathew stroked Mary Ann’s check. “You will dress up and go with Beth and Barholomue to the social tonight then sneak off and meet me behind the general store”

“And there you will be waiting with the horse and we will ride to Oakfeild and meet your uncle”

“Yes, he is more sympathetic to our cause than any of our parents”

“And then we get married in the morning” Mary Ann’s eyes shone brighter than the sun, “Look, me and Beth have been making a flower crown for me”

“I sure appreciate your help with all this Beth” Mathew admired the crown’s handiwork.

“You know, it’s the least I can do. Anyone who isn’t blind can see how well you two fit together. I just hope I’ll be able to see my sister again this half of the century”

“I’m sure father will calm down eventually” Mary Ann patted her sister on the back, “Come on, we better finish up here so we can finish preparing everything for tonight”


“Don’t go teasing any boys tonight” Mary Ann’s mother fussed as she helped her daughter fix up her hair, “You’re already engaged to Mr. Wills”

“Mama, calm down, I know you already sold me away to Luckus. Besides this is only a social. It’s not like there’s much else for entertainment around here”

“I know. I’m just excited to have my oldest daughter married off”

“Yes I know, and then it will be Barholomu’s turn, then Beth, then Edith, then Johny” Mary Ann’s tone soured slightly, “Sometimes I feel we’re only cattle that you and father have lined up to sell”

“Oh come off it Mary Ann. I know you’re sweet on that Smith boy, but think about the type of future he would have provided you”

“Mary Ann, are you ready yet?” Beth intruded into the room.

“She’s almost done, just let me fix one more thing”

“Come on mama, we don’t want to be late” Beth was on the verge of being too excited for a simple social.

“There. Don’t stay out to late”

“Goodbye mama” Mary Ann gave her mother a long hug.

“What’s that for? I’ll see you in a few hours”

“Come on Mary” Beth saved her sister from explanation.


“Bartholomu go on inside” the siblings stood outside of town hall, listening to the lively music spilling out, “Mary Ann’s skirt is crooked, I’m going to help her straighten it then we’ll be right in” Their brother did not need a second excuse to peel off from his sisters to go find his friends. Once he was gone inside, the two sisters hugged for a long moment and said bittersweet goodbyes. In the distance, they both heard a loud noise like a cannon being shot off in celebration of everything happening tonight.

“Promise you’ll write” Beth could barely contain her tears.

“Every week” And with that, Mary Ann was off to meet her Mathew. Her heart filled with anticipation with every step. Tomorrow. That’s all she had to wait for now. When she saw him waiting there with his horse and their bags she ran and embraced her beloved.

“I wonder if they’ll find where we’ve gone” Mary Ann made talk as they traveled down the road.

“I don’t know. Maybe they will, but by the time they find us we’ll be married and it’ll be too late” Mathew speculated.

“This feels so magical. It’s like anything could happen” She looked up at the stars that were starting to shine overhead. It was a warm summer night, and things were perfect.

“Hey, is that... I think it’s snow. Maybe you wished for that miracle a bit too hard my dear” the couple stopped for a moment and stared at the white flecks that were drifting from the sky. Entranced, Mary Ann held out a hand to try and catch the flakes.

“Why, it’s ash” The two where bewildered and started looking for the smoke of a large fire. A faint sulfuric smell filled the air, barely detectable.

“I’m not sure what’s going on, but we should get going” Mathew spurred the horse into a fast trot.

“It feels unnatural, best not be out in what ever this is” But as the couple pressed on, ash started to fall thicker and thicker around them. Putride fumes swirled down from the sky and started choking them. 

Soon, everything was covered in a thick layer of white grey. The two and the horse tried to press on to their destination, but eventually succumbed and lay in defeat on the road. The only comfort the lovers got was that they got to be together until their last. In the county and surrounding areas, the volcano killed indiscriminately that night. The night that it snowed in summer.

January 21, 2021 18:34

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