The massive wooden door of the castle opened slowly.
The young girls from the other side of the tracks – certainly in contrast to where they now stood – stared in awe with mouths agape as the ‘La vie du chateau’ (the good life) opened before them.
Then – then! – they were ushered inside by a kindly gentleman with a knowing smile and twinkling, kind eyes.
“Would they like a tour of the castle?”
Off they went through the Great Hall, the ballroom, the kitchen, and even into the boudoir at the top of the winding staircase.
These preteens and teens had been introduced to a magical, wonderful world of medieval knights-errant in shining armor who would perform exploits in the name of these young ladies-in-waiting.
They imagined themselves in a splendid garden in order to attend a ball on a warm summer’s night.
Their imaginations were a far different reality from the cold winter’s night of poverty they knew so well.
But here in the castle’s garden the sun had risen, hundreds of flowers grew with abandon, and water splashed in the fountain and showered the surrounding area – leaving droplets of diamonds.
Then it was time for the young ladies to leave and reenter the world of their reality.
But they did so with a renewed sense of hope and determination in themselves and their futures.
For they had seen what can be.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.