The massive wooden door of the castle opened slowly as if on its own accord.
The girls of the community, some from fairly impoverished dwellings – certainly in contrast to where they now stood – starred mouth agape in awe as the ‘La vie du chateau’ door responded to their shy, tentative rap of the bronze ring.
Then – then! – they were ushered inside, greeted by the knowing smile belonging to the face with the twinkling eyes of the kindly gentleman on the other side of the door as he looked down upon the young visitors.
‘Would they like a tour of the castle?’
Through the Great Hall, the ballroom, even the boudoir up the winding staircase, the teens and preteens were thus conveyed to the magical, wonderful world of medieval knights-errant in shining armor with exploits to be performed in their name – their name! – the ladies in waiting.
Then, transported they were to the warm summer garden where envisioned was the night of the ball.
Their world – the world from which they had come, just outside the gate – was as if hidden under the deep, dark, frozen tundra of winter.
Here, however, the sun had risen; the flowers – so many flowers in such an explosion of color – grew with abandon; water, like raindrops from heaven, gave its blessing.
And they left there, finally, reluctantly, but determinedly to bring their own beauty – of their own person, and to their own place.
For they had seen what could be.