I thought I knew you once, saw you once. Dress shimmering with million stones reflecting a broken and bleeding sky. You belonged to us all because we were yours. You were all that was missing and unattainable in our dirt colored lives. Your slightest step or glance became a story for generations. Something we could take from you, an insight. The wobbled step, the distracted smile, was there a lover that made your cheeks burn or was there something smaller, secret and curled as the midwife said.
For days after the local girls would bathe naked in the river lifting their goose dimpled skin to the sun watching the light catch the drops that fanned over their limbs and bellies. We would howl, tease and admire. We would always be infinite in our watery kingdoms. We would stay wet and chilled until our mothers would run and warn of chilled and heated deaths that awaited our ungodly frivolity.
When she died us girls were so very much older. The story of the fair young slight girl had passed our lips to our daughter's ears. We were more forgiving of our daughter's river exploits. It reminded us of the time we were young and our howling laughs ran over the rivers. Their laughs, our daughter's, it held an echo of who we had all been. Of when she was our princess. The girls reminded us that we had once been hers.
Even far from the city, we wore the red ribbon just above the hollow of our throats. Just as some of the fashionable had done. We scolded husband's, washed our dishes, we collected eggs and always fingered the smooth fabric talismin.