Princess In The Tower (2013)

The day was hot and humid. Busy bees hummed around some of the beautiful flowers to gather their nectar. The sun was high in the sky, birds were singing, and a gentile breeze sneaked quietly around the green trees from time to time, making the heat almost bearable for men and animals alike. The main road was not busy at all. Good old Jane Brewster had only seen a few cars this morning. She would sit herself down on the front porch in her old rocking chair, studying the cars that came by her little, cozy, yellow house. Some times, there was almost ten minutes between the cars. Jane Brewster took her straw hat off her silver hair. She frowned a bit as she looked up at the sun. So hot! She closed her deep blue eyes that was almost hidden behind her small round glasses. She could just drift off to sleep. The sun was so warm, the rhythm of  the rocking chair so soothing. If she could only…

– Hello there, ma’am!

The voice shot through the silence like a gunshot. Jane Brewster jumped, looking down from the porch towards the road. A young man with a bicycle was leaning against her picket fence, dressed in skin tight, black sporting trousers and a yellow short sleeved t-shirt.

– I am so sorry, the young man excused himself.

– I didn’t mean to startle you!

The old lady stood up and leaned over the railing of her porch.

– What do you want, young man? she asked in a firm, but friendly voice.

The young man got off his bike and waved an empty bottle in his hand.

– I am sorry to disturb you, but I am out of water! I was hoping I might find a friendly soul that would allow me to tank up on water. It is awfully hot to be biking today.

The old lady looked full of thought.

– How come you ride your bike on these back roads anyhow? she wondered.

– Oh, the man answered.

– I’m just a poor student who cannot afford expensive holidays, so I take my bike out, pack a tent and some provisions, then off I go with nothing but the wind in my face and the sun high above me.

The young man smiled from ear to ear. He was a good looking man with black, short hair and a thin, charming mustache. It was plain that he had not shaved for a few days, but seemed to suit him. Jane Brewster was persuaded that this was a kind, good man. She moved towards him at a slow pace.

– My name is Jane, she exclaimed.

– Jane Brewster. Do you have a name, Sir?

– Yes ma’am! the young man replied.

– My name is Frank Dooley!

The old lady smiled.

– Well, mister Dooley! I tell you what! I don’t get many visitors here, so I am hereby inviting you for lunch. Is that okay with you?

Frank Dooley’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.

– Lunch? he said in a surprised tone.

– Ma’am, I wouldn’t like to cause you any inconveniance!

The old Mrs. Brewster laughed it off.

– Rubbish, she exclaimed.

– I haven’t had any visitors for… I don’t know… a jolly long time! Please stay.

Frank chewed on it…

– I don’t know… he hesitated.

– Oh come on! Jane Brewster piped. Then she put her head sideways and held up her hand and pointed at Frank Dooley.

– If you don’t stay for tea, you won’t get any water, she giggled.

Frank couldn’t tell weather she was joking or not.

– Okay, he said with a big sigh.

– You got me there, ma’am. I really need some water. Looks like you have got yourself a date for lunch.

– Good, the old lady grinned.

– We’ll have it on the balcony at the back of the house! Are you coming?

Jane Brewster half pushed, half pulled Frank Dooley round to the back of the house. The house was quite tall, and both ends of the yellow house had something that looked like a round tower. Frank was impressed with the house.

– How old is this house, if you don’t mind me asking? he uttered.

Jane pointed toward a beautiful garden chair, and Frank sat down in it.

– Oh, she said.

– It’s fifty years old! that’s twenty years older than me! Imagine that!

She turned to go into the house.

– Want some lemonade? she squawked.

– I made some pink lemonade this morning. It’s nice and cold in the fridge…

Frank raised his voice.

– Pink lemonade will be wonderful! he shouted.

Frank looked around at the garden that was largely hidden from the front of the house. There were apple trees and pear trees as well as cherry trees. A shed in the back looked like it was a wood shed. Then, there were all the flowers. Frank had thought it was beautiful round the front, but that was nothing compared to the back of the house. In the middle of it all, there was a beautiful fountain with an angel in the middle. No, wait! Frank peered at the fountain. It was a fairy, and the fairy held a horn in her hands, and the water sprouted out of the horn. White slates where laid down round the fountain and went round the house to the front as well. The birds were chirping, the bees were buzzing, and a light breeze came round the corner to cool Frank down a little.

– Did you fall asleep?

Jane was almost leaning over Frank. Frank rubbed his eyes, then looked at the old lady.

– I must have dozed off a little, he confessed.

– No wonder, Jane Brewster went on.

– You are probably tuckered out from riding you bike all morning!

She put a tray down on the garden table. There was a big glass of pink lemonade each, and there were open sandwiches, sausage, bacon and scrambled eggs on a big serving platter. Frank’s eyes grew big.

– You have made way too much, he said.

Mrs. Brewster just smiled.

– Help yourself!

Frank grabbed himself a piece of bread with cheese and ham, then he put bacon, sausage and scramble on the side. The food was very good. He ate quite a large lunch, and Jane kept him company, eating only a little bit.

Frank told her about his studies at Boston University where he was studying when he wasn’t on holiday, biking it almost from the east coast to the west coast. He loved sleeping under the stars, he said, but when the rain came down, he put the tent up. Still, the tent didn’t keep him dry, but at least he didn’t get the rain in his face.

– What about you, ma’am? Frank asked.

– Have you lived here long? Don’t you have any family living with you or close by you?

Jane’s smile disappeared.

– I have lived here in this house since it was built, almost fifty years ago, she started.

– Originally, it was pink, but as I got older, I changed it first to red, then to yellow.

They both sipped from their pink lemonades.

– Some times I think I’m a modern version of the old princess trapped in the tower in some fairytale.

– How come? Frank wondered.

– Well, I was told I was quite beautiful when I was young! I have a picture here somewhere…

She stood up, went inside for a few seconds, then came out with an old black and white picture. The beautiful, blond young lady in the picture was breathtaking. She smiled sweetly at the camera, two big muscled men on each side of her. She looked like a photo model, and Frank gasped at her beauty.

– I WAS quite pretty, I think… she said quietly.

– Pretty amazingly, astoundingly pretty, I’d say, Frank blurted out.

– You were a true beauty in your younger days…

Frank suddenly realized what he had said, and added quickly

– But, you still look beautiful!

Jane Brewster laughed out loud.

– No,I’m not, she said-

– I’m an old spinster, an old wrinkled woman with hardly any teeth left who feel sorry for herself almost all the time. You see…

She sat down again and turned towards Frank.

– I had my chances, many chances. The boys loved me. We went out dancing, drinking, having fun. But when one after the other asked me to marry them, I, the stupid girl I was, said no – every time. I loved my freedom! I didn’t want to get married. That was the end of my life, the way I saw it.

She took another gulp of lemonade. Frank realized he was sitting at the end of his chair.

– Then they all started getting married. Those few that didn’t have any luck, asked me to marry them. When I said no, they all moved in to the city to look for women to marry, and I ended up an old spinster.

Silence crept into the balcony. Frank was trying to find the right words to say, Jane was sitting still with tears in her eyes.

– So you never married? Frank said quietly.

Jane Brewster shook her head.

– Do you want to have someone in your life now? Frank asked.

Jane squeezed her hand in desperation.

– Yes! she whispered.

– But it’s too late…

– Nonsense, Frank almost shouted.

– Have you got a computer and internet?

Jane looked at Frank in disgust.

– You mean these folks that come together to have… intimacy… with each other, and live sinful lives? I want you to know that I am not proud of my early years and how I partied, but now I’m an eager member of the local baptist church, so I won’t go for any sinful living.

– That is up to you, Frank protested.

– You can say that you just want friendship, walk in the parks, a trip to the cinema, just a friend to talk to. Or, if you like the guy, you could marry him. It’s probably too late for children, but…

– HEY HEY HEY! Jane cut him off.

– Enough already!

Frank suddenly thought he’d gone too far. He shut his mouth instantly.

Jane Brewster combed her hands through her long, silver hair.

– No talk about babies, please! I am seventy-five years old. Do you think I’m like Sarah in the Bible who had Isaac when she was ninety years old? Fiddlesticks!

Frank stood up.

– I thank you for the lunch, ma’am! It was very good! I apologize if I offended you, but it is my personal opinion that if you ask strangers in from the road to give them lunch, then that’s because there’ something lacking in your life. I believe that that is a man. I am not saying you have to marry, I’m simply saying that you have a lot of compassion and love to give. If you found a man to share all this with, you could just enjoy each others company. Maybe the most intimate thing you would do would be holding hands, but that’s okay!

Frank drew his breath as he paused.

– I’m burning daylight here! he said, quietly now.

– I thank you again for the lovely lunch. If it is okay, I’ll check in on you on my way back. It will be about a month’s time, I recon.

Mrs. Brewster just waved him away, lost in thought.

– Good bye, ma’am!

Frank got his bike, got on it, and started riding it down the main road.

Jane Brewster stood there looking as Frank Dooley disappeared out of view. Then she gave a big sigh and went to clear the table.

Twenty-seven days later, Frank Dooley came back the same road that went past Mrs, Brewster’s house, but this time he went the opposite way. The yellow house was still tall and beautiful, but it looked different somehow. Frank got off the bike, up to the front porch, and knocked on the screen door. A little while after came an old man with thick, round glasses and hardly any hair out the door. Frank didn’t know what to say.

– Eh, is Mrs, Brewster in?

The man looked suspiciously at Frank.

– Who may I say is calling? he asked.

– Oh, sorry! My name is Frank Dooley…

A big smile spread all over the old man’s face.

– Frank Dooley? Oh, my goodness! Come in, come in!

The man pulled Frank inside.

– I have to thank, young man. I am so much in your debt!

Frank looked like a question mark. Then, the old man explained to him that his name was Arthur Sims. After Frank had left Mrs. Brewster, she had decided to try her luck with an add seeking for a friend to spend some time with. Arthur had answered the add in the local paper, and they had hit it off straight away. Like two little lovebirds, they had escape to Vegas to get married. after all, they said, they were no spring chickens anymore, and there was no time to waste. Only three weeks after they met, they were Mr. and Mrs. Sims. Jane had told Arthur that he had Frank to thank for meeting her, as it was his speach before he left that had convinced her to try an add in the newspaper.

So, finally, the princess in the tower met her prince, and the prince won the princess, but not half of the kingdom. That went to Frank Dooley. Mr. Sims was very rich, and insisted to help pay for Franks way through college. Eleven  years later, Frank learned to his surprise that the former Mrs. Brewster had died three years prior, and when Mr. Sims died, he had left everything to Frank Dooley as he didn’t have any close relatives. Included in the inheritance was the yellow house with the two towers. That became a holiday home for Frank Dooley and his family, but that is another story…

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