It was six years to the day that Clopin met Samira when one night found Clopin in the
barn, sitting by the window at the edge of the hayloft where the bales of hay were brought up. He had his knees drawn up to his chest and his arms wrapped around his knees. The sky was clear and the full moon bathed him in a soft glow. His thoughts were on the past; something he had not thought about in a long time. As the memories flooded back, he realized he missed his parents, his brother, his sisters, his friends...Guilt gnawed at him. He should have found a way to get back to them, to warn them, to save them from the evil. Was it too late? Six long years...There was no hope. He was happy here with Samira, but that did not stop his mind from recalling his youthful days...
He vaguely heard the ladder being set against the side of the loft. He had pushed the ladder down to ensure being alone. But he did not move. He heard the creak of the old wood as someone climbed up; still he did not move.
"Clopin?" a soft voice called.
"Here, Samira," he replied blankly.
Her footsteps across the hay were faint, as if she were hesitating. Then she appeared beside him. She studied him for a moment, then sat down next to him. "You look sad. What are you thinking about?" she asked gently.
"My family...my home..." Clopin murmured in answer.
"You miss them, don't you?"
Clopin sighed. "It -- it is more than that..." He closed his eyes for a moment, clenching his jaw as he fought back tears.
Samira put her hand on his arm comfortingly as she said, "I know you cannot tell me what happened, but I can tell you that fate was guiding it, good or bad." She added sadly, "I know what it is like to lose a loved one." She turned her eyes to the window, her gaze on the stars.
Clopin glanced at the held-in-sorrow expression on her face. He smiled inside to think that she was so understanding, and she related to him so. But could she ever understand how he felt about her? They had become such good friends; but could he ever actually admit...he was in love with her...
That was something else he had been thinking about. But why would she be in love with him? They were just friends. What was he, after all? A lowly gypsy. He had no money, save what he earned working on the farm, and nothing else. There were other men with more wealth than he who could give her a better life. Clopin suddenly wondered if he was better off mourning his mistake.
Samira uttered a low sigh. Then she turned to Clopin, as if to say something to him. Instead she blushed and glanced away again. Finally she said, "Clopin, there...there is something I wish to tell you..."
Clopin's heart went double-time. Had she been thinking the same as he? Or was she going to tell him that she was in love with someone else? He tried to speak, then cleared his throat and choked out, ¤What is it?"
Samira bit her lower lip fretfully, her gaze on the sky. "E-even my father does not know...I--" She hesitated, then turned to him, a desperate look in her eyes. "It is very strange...But perhaps you will understand, because of what you are."
Clopin studied her face, and whispered, "Gypsy..."
Samira nodded. Then she glanced outside again, taking a deep breath. "I...I can read messages in the stars."
Clopin╠s eyes went wide. "I -- I have heard of your people..." He gave a start as he realized something. "But then you are gypsy, too!"
Samira nodded. Then she reached into her pocket and took out a small box covered in pale purple velvet. She turned from him as she opened the box. When she turned back, she held a gold hoop earring in her hand. She raised it to her right ear.
Clopin's expression melted into an adoring smile. Samira glanced at the sky once more, then said, "My mother was a gypsy. She left when I was very young. I -- I can hardly remember her..." She gestured to the earring. "She did this before she left, so I would never forget. She explained as much as she could...She had to find a freer life for her gypsy spirit. Papa...drove her away with his warnings of the evils of gypsies. But he truly loved her, and so he let her go, and swore to take good care of me. He tried to keep me from learning more, but he could not change fate. I found out on my own."
"The stars," Clopin murmured, casting his gaze toward the sky.
Samira nodded. "I learned a lot by watching the stars. They have always influenced my actions..." Her face still tilted to the sky, she snuck a glance at him. "Always, Clopin." She waited for his reaction, to see if he realized the weight of the words. He said nothing, his face either, his gaze locked on the stars. Samira went on, ¤Up to the time that you came, I...had many suitors...I accepted none of them, no matter how wealthy or well-known." She took another deep breath, then exhaled, as if she were deeply troubled about what she might say next. She paused again to see if she had his attention; now she found his gaze locked on her face. ¤Right before I met you, I read in the stars that a handsome stranger would sweep me away..." She could not help the dreamy tone that surfaced, nor the love in her eyes as she gazed at Clopin.
As for Clopin, his heart nearly stopped. She was in love with him! Clopin nearly cried out loud. Ah, fate! Without thinking, he leaned forward and kissed her.
It wasn╠t a long kiss, but enough to make Samira stare in surprise. Clopin cried out, "Samira, I have been in love with you from the first moment I saw you!" He took her hands in his. "Fate guided me to you, I know it!" Now that he knew she loved him in return, the regrets of his past flew from his mind, replaced by thoughts of the future - of he and Samira, together, forever.
A gentle smile formed on Samira╠s face. Inside she, too, was overjoyed to find her love returned. Now she kissed him.
They sat together for the rest of the night, talking about the future, their future, while the stars watched and guided.
Clopin blinked at the dim sunlight shining through the window. He sat up, stretching,
and he yawned. Then he stood and walked to the edge of the hayloft to lean against the
frame of the window and look out at the early morning. As he brushed the straw off his
clothes, he realized how much he liked sleeping on a pile of hay rather than a stiff wooden
bed. Looking over the misty horizon, he also realized how much he missed his gypsy ways. He felt a deep longing to go back to those ways.
Then his thoughts wandered to his dreams. Yes, he had to have been dreaming. He could never admit to Samira that he had fallen in love with her. And why would she come out to the barn looking for him? He had dreamed the whole thing. It was simple enough; he had fallen asleep lost in his sorrows, and the dream had come to compensate for his mourning. Suddenly he felt his face burning, and he felt shame within himself for such ridiculous thoughts. Yes, it was all a dream. He was beginning to hope that it was all a dream.
Down in the yard, the rooster let out a crow to greet the morning. Clopin chuckled. "You lazy bird!" he called out. "I was up before you!" He continued to chuckle. Until he heard a soft sigh from behind him. Then he let out a gasp.
Clopin whirled around and gasped again. There lay Samira, curled up in the hay, shifting in her sleep. Another content sigh came from her as she turned onto her side. Clopin╠s hand went up to cover his gaping mouth. His glance shot back and forth, then he turned toward the window again. A shock hit him hard as he realized that he had not been dreaming.
Samira let out one more little sigh before she awoke. Clopin was watching her from the corner of his eye. She slowly raised her head, her eyes blinking in confusion. "Clopin..?" she mumbled, sounding dazed. "What--? What am I doing here?" She sat up and started brushing the hay off her dress. Then she glanced up, squinting at him. He was just a shadow against the sunlight. She couldn't tell if he was facing her or not.
"Clopin?" she muttered again. Her memory of the night before seemed to have left her. She did not even remember coming into the barn looking for him. She abruptly stood and started toward the ladder. Clopin╠s hand on her arm jerked her to a stop. She turned to look at him curiously. Almost on an impulse, he leaned forward and kissed her. Samira's memory returned in that moment, and she returned the kiss.
Samira smiled, and, as he took her hands in his, she said, "I shall tell Papa right away that we are in love! I think he will be happy to hear!"
Clopin nodded, speechless; it was true, then, he was no longer dreaming! It was true that they were in love. He was so happily lost in his thoughts that he didn't notice Samira leave the loft. He was still lost in his thoughts a few minutes later, thinking he had never felt so happy before. A few moments later, however, he was snapped out of his thoughts by Samira's shrill scream, coming from the direction of the house.
Clopin didn╠t bother with the ladder, but leapt down from the loft, landing squarely on his feet. Then he shot out of the barn. Samira met him halfway to the house. She was extremely pale and was trembling. "Samira, what has happened?" he cried, immediately taking her into his arms.
Samira began to sob. "Pa-Papa i-is. . .dead!" Clopin gasped. "I -- I think it was his heart...I found him...it is too late!" She sobbed uncontrollably.
Clopin hugged her gently, all the while with thoughts churning. Nothing can ever go perfectly for me, he thought bitterly. Such is my life...At least Samira and I still have each other. He murmured comforting words to her as she sobbed and wept.
The mourning would go on for more than a month...
Coming Next: Chapter Five of The Tale of a Dream: A New Life - Together or Apart
To The Archives
(c) 1997-2004 Autumn Loweck. This work may not be copied, distributed, or reprinted without the author's permission. All characters are property of Autumn Loweck (aka Shiri), unless specified otherwise, and may not be "borrowed" or mentioned in other works without notifying the author first