Ambria Therese Burke looked out her window and sighed. “Just another boring day, leading to yet another boring night,” she muttered. Ambria had spent more days looking out over her father’s land dreaming than she could count, and her patience had worn thin. Not even the blooming spring flowers that came in every color of the rainbow or the beautiful budding pink and white trees could alter her mood.
She restlessly began drumming her fingers on her window sill and muttered, “When…when is my father ever going to realize that I am a woman? How old will I have to be before he notices that I no longer wear pigtails and ribbons in my hair? For Heaven’s sake, I am nearly eighteen years old. Doesn’t he realize?”
Her mutterings had grown a bit louder as Genny quietly approached. “What are you mumbling about, my little princess?”
“Please…do not call me your little princess!” Ambria exclaimed. “Doesn’t anyone around here understand that I’ve grown up? I’m not a child anymore, and I’ve grown quite weary of being treated like one!”
Ambria’s mood took Genny by surprise. “Don’t get your temper riled at me, young lady! I meant no harm—it’s only a nickname after all!” she answered defensively.
Ambria felt instant guilt for her sharp tongue as she glanced at the woman who had been with her since the day she was born.Genny was the nickname Ambria had given Genevieve. She had been told that it was one of the very first words she had spoken as a baby—second only to “Papa”. Genny was more like a mother than a nanny to Ambria and she loved her with all her heart.
Wonderful childhood memories of Genny began to surface— Genny, with her curly red hair, chubby dimpled cheeks, and plump arms reaching out to hold Ambria. Genny, with her laughing warm-brown eyes, teaching her childish games, to read, dance, sew, and laugh. The reminiscences made Ambria’s mood even more melancholy, and the dreaminess returned to her eyes as she stared out the window.
Genny was undeterred by Ambria’s silence. “Quit your dreaming, girl, and answer me proper this time. What has got your feathers ruffled today?”
“Oh Genny, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. It’s just that…well…oh Genny… I am so tired of being Papa’s little girl!”
Ambria’s voice was strained and Genny knew her well enough to know that she was on the brink of spilling a bucket full of tears. Determined to waylay those tears, she sharpened the tone of her voice and said, “Now I’ll be hearing none of this self-pity, Ambria! You know how much your papa loves you, and how much he has done to teach and protect ya! Why, without him ya wouldn’t even ‘ave a pillow fer yer head and clothes on yer back! You’ve got a home fit fer a princess and strong faith ta guide and give ya peace…all because yer papa understands what love really is!”
Genny then wagged a finger at Ambria and said, “Now look what you’ve done, girl. You’ve got me fergettin’ me proper speakin’!”
Guilt washed over Ambria as she realized that she had only been thinking of herself. Genny was obviously upset—though she took great pride in the English skills she had learned and had taught to Ambria, her native Irish brogue always surfaced when she was riled or distressed.
Ambria softened her expression to soothe her dear friend, and said softly, “I know he loves me, Genny…and I love him with all my heart. He’s the best father I could ever hope to have…but I long to grow up. I long to experience what other girls my age have been experiencing for years already! I long to meet new friends, go to parties and socials, and…Oh, you wouldn’t understand.”
Ambria’s shoulders gave way to her mood and she slumped forward in sadness. In barely more than a whisper she pleaded, “I just want my freedom.”
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Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Schmeidler