Tree rings

engagement ring

Photo credit: J.W. Hamner via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

He smiled at the slender beauty at his side. Her platinum hair fell over one shoulder in a cascade like a waterfall. Her eyes, as blue as the stone on the ring he now held in his hand, were both wide and confused.

“What is this?” she asked.

“It’s a ring, silly.”

“What does it mean?”

“I’m asking you to marry me.”

“Marry? What is that?”

He wasn’t sure if she was teasing him or being serious. She’d always been a little strange. She would have nothing made of iron in their home. Steel was tolerable, but not iron. The one time he’d used a cast iron skillet she’d vomited up the meal. He thought it was food poisoning, but she was insistent that it was iron poisoning.

He decided to humor her. “Marriage is a legally recognized union between two people that binds them together for as long as they live. It’s usually done by a priest in a church with both families there as witnesses.”

A look of horror crossed her face. “No. No churches. No priests.”

“You don’t like churches?” he asked. He thought about it for a moment, realizing she’d never once set foot in a church for as long as he’d known her.

“No. Churches are evil. They are stained with the blood of innocents,” she said.

“Well, we could have the wedding outside,” he said. “Perhaps in a garden or in the forest.”

She relaxed slightly. “I like that idea.”

“But we’d still have to have a priest officiate, or my mother would have a fit. Besides, it’s not a real marriage if it’s not recognized by God.”

She jumped to her feet. “No. No. No. No.” She took off running as fast as she could for the forest.

Confused, he got to his feet and ran after her. It seemed the trees themselves tried to bar his path as he searched for her. He called out her name but there was no answer. He reached the clearing where they’d first met.

Beside the fresh cut stump she’d been sitting on, crying, was a young tree. Platinum moss hung on it and it bore bright blue flowers. Confused, he continued looking for her for several more hours before heading back to the house to call the authorities. He needed to find her before she hurt herself. Marriage would be the best thing for her. It would anchor her in the here and now, and break her of her habit of slipping into daydreams about elves and faeries and other such nonsensical things.

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