Image: Harald Slott-Moller
Darcy loved the coming of spring. It meant for her an end to the confinement of winter, the cold and the sickness that struck her each year. She’d be ordered to stay in bed, rest and stay warm and in her head the solitary prisoner in her own home.
Her parents fussed over her, they had a doctor come in every few days to monitor her health, prescribe a continuation of the hideous medicine she was on or insist she begin a new and usually more distasteful potion.
It also meant she fell behind her class mates and so this year her parents were bringing in a tutor to help her catch up on her schooling.
The tutor was young and handsome and Darcy was immediately drawn to him. His arrival brought the silence of her life to an end. They engaged in conversation, they explored the written texts her teachers had sent home and they discussed the philosophy behind each one.
After class she invited him to go on walks around the property, showing the vast wealth her parents had to indulge in statues and gardens, tended to by devoted gardeners whose work she always admired. At the far end of the property was the pond where she would go on days when no one was around, take off her shoes and splash her feet in the icy water watching the small fish dart and find refuge in the depths of the pond.
Over time they grew close and Darcy looked forward to his coming and the sessions where just the two of them would converse on whatever subject she moved the conversation to.
Her schooling improved and her parents satisfied the tutor had done his job told him he would no longer be required as Darcy would return to school and carry on with her class mates.
The tutor was thankful for the opportunity they gave him and bid them farewell.
Darcy was not told this and waited all day for her young tutor who didn’t arrive at her door.
She asked her mother who informed her that the tutor was no longer needed and that she would be resuming school the following Monday.
Darcy felt devastated and argued the merits of having the tutor long term. Her mother dismissed her pleas and told her he was only ever a temporary measure.
That afternoon Darcy, sad and solitary once again wandered down to the pond where she ruminated over the state of her life. Her parents expected so much, they protected her from most things but the tutor had opened her eyes to a world she only read about. She was hungry for more and very hungry for the tutor.