The boy jumped then turned sheepishly towards the voice.
“What are you doing there, young Tom?”
Tom looked down at his feet, as if whipped by the stern words.
“Wasting time again, aren’t you?”
He glanced up at the lady and was surprised to see a smile.
The lady, Anne, moved next to Tom, put her hands on the battlements and stared out.
“It’s just, just, my Lady, it’s just that I wish I could go over there.” He nodded his head outward. “I wish I could cross that bridge and go into the village. I want to see what they are up to. I want to find children my own age to play with.”
Anne faced the boy. “Children your age? In the village? Ha! That is the funniest thing I have heard all day!”
She turned again, staring off into the distance.
Tom watched her beautiful face as it glowed in the warm summer sun.
“Don’t you ever want to go over there and see what they are doing these days, my Lady? Aren’t you curious?”
Anne didn’t even glance his direction as she answered, “What, me the Lady of the House go fraternize with a bunch of peasants and worse?” She dropped her hand on the shoulders of Tom, the illegitimate child of a scullery maid, and laughed, a bitter sound. “No, no, I don’t want to go over there nor see the people who live there.” Her hand, seeming to work on its own, drew Tom closer.
Tom put his arm around the Lady’s waist for balance, and, he dared not think it, comfort, and continued to stare out at the bridge, river and village.
His mind wandered back to the day that he gained the courage to dare to join the Lady on the battlement and speak to her. She had been aloof and stern, but he could see a kindness, a sympathy, behind her eyes. What an odd pair, the child the lowest of the low and the woman the highest of the high. But they understood each other.
“I don’t give a damn about the village,” Anne said out of nowhere, still staring. “I don’t care about anybody who has ever lived there. But I do so much want to cross that bridge that has been kept from me. How I want to cross!”
Tom knew she wasn’t talking about the bridge they could see in front of them, a bridge he had seen built two hundred years before, when he had only been dead for little over a century, but a bridge she had been waiting to cross since she had died in childbirth two centuries before he was even born.
Feeling the chill deeper than usual, despite the summer sun, Tom drew even closer to the Lady, and she to him, seeming to gain as much comfort from his presence as he did from hers.
This was written for the writephoto challenge that is hosted by KL Caley. This week KL provided the photo at the top and the keyword “Bridge”.