I remember the day a princess floated onto the shore, naked and shivering with seaweed entangled in her hair. I stood with my eyes wide, not for seeing someone wash up on shore, but for seeing a lady with no clothes on. How risqué! How more than risqué! How scandalous! This woman, I thought, is someone I would like very much to get acquainted with. Imagine, having courage to pull off a scandal such as this, to scurry out of strange waters alone bearing all. What an interesting life this woman must lead. Was she escaping a ship full of pirates who tied her to the bow? Maybe they had made her walk the plank. Six paces with her eyes shut tight! Or perhaps she fled a loveless marriage and magnificent dowry. A throne in an enormous castle with servants and subjects. A tiara made of pure silver and crystal. Ballrooms filled to capacity with twirling gowns. Long white gloves being held by their gentleman suitors. And at night, soft beds and pillows stuffed with feathers to lay a tired princess head upon, who dreams with starlight pouring in from the open window, the light of the moon in her sight.
I hurried over to her, pulling off my shawl to spread over her shivering body. As she gasped for air I examined her face. Porcelain skin, the bluest eyes and a head of golden hair. She was the story book princess I read every night. The one who kept me company and softened my gaze right before I could no longer keep myself awake. A real story book princess here, wrapped in my shawl. How lucky of me to be walking here today.
She coughed and coughed until it grew tiresome and wiped her face dry with the end of my shawl. I led her away from the water, up toward the hill where the grass was high enough to hide what the shawl could not.
I stared at her, like I was not supposed to. Everyone told me that staring was not polite, but they had never been this close to a princess before, so obviously their judgment was skewed.
The princess caught her breath and looked back at me with as much amazement as I had when I first saw her.
To be continued.