The music was loud. The young woman could barely hear her own thoughts over the loud melody played by the violins and cellos. With her eyes closed, her head spun around in endless circles, slowing and then quickening. When she opened her eyes, all she could see was him. Standing so far, and yet, so close, the young woman's breath caught in her chest. Swearing she would never see him again, she could not help but feel a familiar pang in her heart. When the music ended, the laughing man in front of her left his spot, and the young woman darted behind a curtain to hide. She heard him walk past her, and then she left the room, heading for the balcony before her.
It was a quiet day in the lively town of Manchester. The birds chirped happily above and the skies were shining brightly. A young man with dark hair had a newspaper open as he sat in his red velvet armchair, his serene wife quietly pouring his morning coffee. On the front page, an article of a new state joining the American Union stood out prominently. The man's wife, a young woman still in her thirties, brought over a tray of food with a plate consisting of buttered toast, waffles, eggs and a few strips of bacon. The man turned his attention to her and folded his newspaper closed.
"Why, thank you, my dear," he said, setting the paper aside and lifting his utensils. The young woman nodded, bowed slightly and left the room. The man watched her while finishing his breakfast, and moments later a young girl ran into the room.
"Daddy! Daddy!" she cried, and the man raised his eyes to his young five-year-old daughter, who had come racing into the room.
"Why, good morning, my sweet girl!" he exclaimed as she climbed onto his lap and kissed his cheek.
"Daddy, are we going riding today?" asked the young dark-haired girl. She looked very similar to her father, but possessed her mother's appearance as well. She had dark brown hair and very clear blue eyes to match, just like her father.
"Oh, my darling, I'm terribly sorry to disappoint you, but a meeting has come up and I must head out to London in a few hours!" he told her. The little girl lost her smile.
"But Daddy! You promised!" she exclaimed with a disappointed look in her eyes.
"I know, my sweet, I know I promised you, but I am promising you now; the minute I return, we will go riding," he told her, kissing her forehead.
"You promise?" she asked with a hopeful expression.
"Indeed I do, my sweet. I promise you with all my heart," he told her, and the little girl smiled again.
"I can't wait, Daddy! Hurry home, will you?" she begged. The young man smiled at her.
"I'll hurry as quick as I can. Why, I'll fly here from London if I must!" he told her. "Now, you'd best run along, or Betsy will not be very happy that you aren't eating!" The little girl nodded, kissed her father's cheek once more and hopped off of his lap to face the day.
The little girl's promise was never fulfilled. On that same day, shortly after noon, the young man's train had derailed, and every passenger, including the young man, was killed. It was terribly hard on the little girl, though her mother seemed almost unaffected. Dressed head to toe in black, the young woman faced her mourning with pride, as she no longer had to live with the man that she despised, though she forever had to deal with the haunting image of the man in her only surviving child, whom she did not wish existed.