Hazel Tree

I left you a pair of pure gold slippers.

Lord knows if you’ll find them when you’re older. Your father’s mother gave them to me as a way to soften the exchange made between my father and his father.

“Expansion of land is crucial to the survival of a farm,” my father said. I told him I understood and agreed to marry your father in exchange for more land added to my family’s title.

I was crying in another room when your father’s mother found me and gave me the heavy shoes. I told her I wanted to be in love. She said, “It’s not about love. It’s about marriage.” She left the shoes on the dust-covered floor.

I didn’t wear them, not even on our wedding day.

I hope you will find a better use for them.

You are nine months along now and the doctor says I won’t make it past your birth. My mother also fell to this fate but I’m sure you won’t, my dear. You will be much stronger than I.

Oh, what does a mother say to her daughter? What advice do I give and what advice can’t I give? Will I ever not want to tell you something?

First, don’t judge your father too harshly. He was never taught how to be a father and I imagine he will be cruel to you for my betrayal of him. He is stale and his heart was never shown love. I know he resents me for straying from the path of matrimony. I wish he wouldn’t resent you. But his path was one I could not follow. It was cold, the dirt was hard, and there were no flowers. It was a lifeless existence. I could not continue along the marriage path without knowing what love tastes like. So I created a path of my own. A path filled with warmth from sunlight, pulsing desire, and bursting colors. This path took me away from abusive words, cold nights, and the endless “show of wealth” parades. I would often turn to the stars and beg to be turned to dust. I was pleading to find a home. That is why I went to her when she called.

Her name was Laura. She worked for your father and me at the stables. I first met her when I was returning my horse after a long ride around the estate. She smiled and I then knew how the stars were formed. We spent everyday together after our initial meeting. She escaped with me into my dreams, held them up, and comforted me when some were torn down. Sometimes, her thoughts would take her away to worlds I didn’t know if I could ever visit. She could come back from those thoughts frightened and I would be there to help fight them.

We kissed after two months of speaking. Her lips caused the sun to spread from my chest to fill my whole body with everlasting warmth. At last, I found my path and I pray you find your own.

Second, promise me you will fall into desire over and over and over. Your body is magical and you should be with someone who helps you bring out that magic. While lying on the hay in the stable, Laura made me realize how powerful our bodies are and how to sink into each touch.

Laura worked for us until we couldn’t look at each other again. We were always surrounded by how we could never be together. I visited her too often and caught your father watching me. He started to suspect my heart was with her when my presence was with him. He reminded me of my chains to marriage and threatened to turn her in. I warned her and she left. I don’t know where she is now.

When I couldn’t find comfort in her arms I would find the Hazel Tree, which I found to be a wonderful place to escape to. It’s branches spread to shield me from the world. Only bees knew the flower buds. Birds sang to a tune the wind conducted. The leaves would flow to the ground in a race with the rain. The Hazel Tree seemed to be the center of all life. It kept me calm and gave me the peace I only ever found with Laura.

To make my third request, I pray the birds that live there will give you the comfort they gave me.

Lastly, Be good, my love, but be good for you. I will always be with you, long past the nine months we have spent together.

Love always,

Your mother

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