no words exist for what I need to say
She said “Yes. I have nothing for tomorrow night…” and he just stood there, grinning, because he had never expected her to consider him. For a minute it seemed he would stand that way forever, but then he took a breath and said “Good, then. I’ll pick you up?” and everything was fine.
He said “I love you,” and she turned her head from the stars to him, eyes wide. He held his breath, hoping he hadn’t misjudged, but just before the silence was too long she broke it with awe in her voice. “I love you, too,” They smiled softly at each other for a moment before turning back to the stars.
He asked “Will you marry me?” and despite his certainty he felt sick to his stomach waiting. She had a wide smile on her face as she struggled for words but eventually the answer came. “Yes,” she whispered and the first thing he did was jump up and hug her tightly to him. When he let her go, it was a mad dash home because all he wanted to do was shout it from the rooftops.
I do. I do.
She said “What do you want to name our baby?” and at first he didn’t clue in. When it clicked he whooped and hugged her and rested a hand on her belly. He said “We’ll name our son after my father and yours.” They ended up naming their daughters after his mother and hers.
Whispers in the streets spoke of corruption and war and disaster. People in clubs and shops talked quietly about being rid of the General who was the King’s puppeteer. She lamented “What kind of world will our children grow up in?” and when he heard he had no answers. The question lay uneasily in their lives for weeks. One day he came home late and grim. “I may have to leave soon.” He hung his coat on the hook nearest the door and opened a chest that she had never seen inside of. Then he added “there may be war.”
She said “What will we do for the girls’ first birthday?” He, worn and haggard, looked between her and their daughters for a long while. Then he said wearily, “I suppose we’ll have to do something, won’t we?” He wasn’t there to see what they did.
The newsboys with their papers cried “General killed by masked assassin at dinner last evening! Investigations already begun!” She waited all day for him to come home and reassure her that everything would settle soon. When he did come home, he went to the chest. There were no reassurances. He said “I have to go,” and he kissed her and their daughters and left. There was silence for ever so long.
Little girls clung to her and cried “When Da come home?” She smoothed their hair and bent down to them and held them in her arms, but she did not answer for a very long time. When she spoke past the lump in her throat it was to lie, “Soon, little ones, soon.” Still there was no word.
The newsboys with their papers cried “Assassin caught and awaiting trial! Excecution predicted!” The stranger who came to their door said “I will take you to see your husband.” She didn’t answer; she bundled the girls into their coats and grabbed last night’s leftovers. It wasn’t until they were all following the stranger that she asked “Where is he?”
He said “I’m sorry,” and his hands stretched through cold bars to grasp hers, to reach down to their daughters. They filled her silence with their jabber. “Where you be? Come home? Da! Da!” Eventually she asked “Did you do it?” Quiet. The childish questions became background noise. He watched them, not looking at her. “Not my hands. My friends.” She nodded. “You did what was needed.”
Guilty! Sentence: hanging.
She asked “What kind of world will our children grow up in?” and the question rested between them. He reached through the bars and took her hands, kissed them as best he could. He said “Things are changing. A better one, I promise. A better world.”
People in the streets shouted and jeered as they walked to the town centre, but they didn’t hear them from inside. When the girls had seen the last of their father and been sent to the bathroom with their aunt, they stood and stared at each other. He said “I’m sorry.” She broke down then, sobbed, took huge, gulping breaths, unable to speak. He said “I love you.” She nodded but still couldn’t speak. They stayed in silence then until someone came to take him away.
Guilty of the murder of the General. Sentence: Hanging.