I laid down in peaceful darkness and thought of frozen things. This hallowed town, my crooked stairs, my aging mother and clouds that refuse to cry. A lot had happened since time’s conception and as far as my memory recalls, this is all it’ll ever be.

Crickets hummed lazily by the dead patches of grass. Fireflies would have been better, a little illumination to set the dark curtains ablaze. I gazed through my minuscule window, sleep had evaded me and my lamp was too dim to read anything good. Mama always warned me against reading in the dark, said when the suitors start coming, it would reduce my value to have ‘no good eyes.’ “All as service to the masters” I have never looked forward to a union with a man, don’t get me wrong, it’s every normal girl’s dream to find ‘true love’ (feels so weird coming out of my mouth), but that’s all it is here, a dream. We are not even supposed to call it ‘marriage’. They call it a ‘selection process’. Every year, in the bleak of November, when winter flutters its eyes open. The old mothers are supposed to present their viable daughters for sampling. We’re supposed to look our very best, although that is highly improbable, unless rags are all the rave. Lord Lurencia and his flock of four sons descend from their grotesque castle to our humble town in search of young females to assess. If you were lucky, you got married off to a noble man and by default, your family would not remember their state of privation and destitution. That day is tomorrow.

I peered around my room’s dense darkness, hoping it’d swallow me up, but that was wishful thinking and I decided to give sleep another try, don’t want baggy eyes, I don’t think men like it.
“Crea, Crea, its Thomas, I didn’t get to see you today and this might be my only chance”
I furrowed my brows in annoyance, sleep was just about to give up its tiring chase. “Now’s not a good time Thomas, I really need to rest. You know what tomorrow is, you know there cannot be goodbyes.”
“You’re as stubborn as a mule wench, but that never stopped me.” I knew he had a silly smirk plastered against his round face but this was not the time for his smart remarks. 
“Wait a minute. Thomas?”
“Yes peaches?” 
“how are we conversing?” 
“Well, if you had allowed me to finish talking, you’d know that I’ve been hanging on this oddly shaped window of yours for 3 minutes and 12 seconds now. 13, 14, 15……”
“Oh shut up and hold on!” I said laughingly.

I sprung up quickly, made a dash for my Window, which was nothing more than four paces and pulled him up, into my tiny room. He landed with a loud thump and I worried that it might have awoken Mama. I whispered violently into his ears “Shhhh, be quiet!” 
“Your palms are sweaty Woman!” 
I snickered at him and removed my sweaty palms as you would remove a plaster. 
“Goodluck impressing them with this piggy behaviour” he said.
The room silenced itself, almost as if it understood what Thomas and i had been avoiding for years now. We always shrugged it off, even when his sister was married off, it always seemed so far away. 
“Have you thought about where you might be taken?”