Here’s another of my attempts at Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompts. Each week, Sue posts a photo for writers to have a go at interpreting. There are no word counts and no limits, which are just some of the reasons why this is such a great challenge. My word count for this story is at 525. Enjoy!
When I was a little girl, I’d had all these fanciful dreams about far-off lands and handsome princes that would whisk me away to some castle or manor house. I used to wish that a heart-wrenching story of love and adventure would simply fall into my lap, just as they seemed to for all those heroes in the storybooks.
I’m a different person now. I’ve accepted who I am, at peace with myself; I’m not a princess or a heroic warrior. I don’t know how to work a bow or dance in those elegant halls. I’m the miller’s daughter, and I will be the miller’s daughter until some unfortunate soul choses me as his wife. Then, I will be the farmer’s wife, or the baker’s wife, and if anyone ever cares to know more about me, all I will tell them is that I am the miller’s daughter.
I’m not bitter. I can’t say that I’m happy about it all, but I don’t regret it, either, because it’s not my choice, and there’s nothing that I, or anyone else, can do to change it.
A jackdaw swoops low overhead, its wings cutting through the shadowy clouds above. I smile to myself, watching it soar in and out of view, until it turns, sweeping away beyond the silhouette of the only home that I have ever known. Its propellers cut sharply through the air, and I remember how I used to fear them. I used to ask my father what would happen to all the jackdaws and the crows that flew past it. I used to ask whether the blades would hurt them. I don’t think about that, anymore, even on my weekly rounds, when I carry their victims out of the hedgerows and greenery.
All I see now, as I stare at the dancing silhouette, is the light as it plays off the blades. It shines through one gap, and then is blocked out by one of the propellers, before it can peep through the next. It’s an endless cycle; the light is always there, but, to anyone watching, it is only ever to be labelled as the hidden light behind the ugly, old mill. No one wants to look for too long. No one cares. It’s just light, and there’s enough of that around.
I sigh, pushing myself up from my grassy bank and beginning the long walk home. It’s getting late, and my father will need me to help him with the end of day’s stock. So, I trudge home, as I have done every day for the past six years. I’m not sad. I have no reason to be sad. My life is one of many, and all I can do – all I can do for the pride of my father and the good of my future husband – is to accept it. Why fight? This is what I was made for, and even if I don’t like it, it’s all I’ve got. It’s all I ever will have. I reach the mill’s door and push it open, my hand trembling slightly. I don’t care, I tell myself again. I’m the miller’s daughter.