Epilogue: Letter No. 4, from Albert to Candy

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Oh, Candy...In the family on my mother's side there are many cases of women dying at a young age. The same fate befell her. She passed away soon after she gave birth. My sister, much older than me, was like a second mother for me.

That day... when I met you, a little girl in tears, I had run away from home. Don't laugh: even escaping for a day is still an escape!

I remember in the second Ardlay residence at Lakewood, a festival was being held, and as usual I was prohibited from leaving my room. On those occasions, George arranged to take me to a distant place, but that time there probably wasn't enough time. Closed in my big room, I immersed myself in studying. Outside I heard laughter from the other boys in the family and the playing of bagpipes. I was convinced that I knew how to play it better than anyone else, but the only ones to hear me were Aunt Elroy, who was able to praise while maintaining a grim expression, and expressionless George. I didn't even have friends of my own age.

The more I listened to that music, the more the situation seemed unbearable and I put on my traditional Scottish dress. That is in fact the usual clothing adopted by the young Ardlay's on official occasions. Regarding the parties in Chicago, I thought that there would be few important family members, dressed in that way, no one would have noticed me.

Instead, one of the elders discovered me immediately and Aunt Elroy severely told me off telling me that I had to understand my position. I felt rage I'd never felt before. I knew I had to resist a little longer, because I would soon be attending University in England, far from everyone. The thought of freeing myself from that oppressive life, consoled me, but on that day it felt like it would never arrive. Deep down, after all even in England someone would have followed me to watch over me. I asked myself how long would they have continued to keep me secret in that way...Who was I really? I was seventeen years old, without a bit of freedom. Only my name seemed to have a life of its own, whilst I

Led that abnormal existence.

I ran away from the house. I was already good at driving, so I took a car. I knew I wouldn't pass unobserved, dressed in that way, but I felt so oppressed that I didn't care about anything. I didn't even have any money with me.

It was the first time I felt so free.

"So? I am William Albert Ardlay! What do you want from me?" Perhaps at the wheel I really cried those words. I drove aimlessly.

I don't know why at a certain point I stopped and climbed that height. Perhaps because the height and dimensions reflected perfectly the image I had of a hill. Lying in the grass, the sky appeared immense and I was swallowed up in the blue. The nice white clouds, pleasantly moved, carried by the wind. I envied their liberty. Whilst I was absorbed with them the clouds suddenly seemed to move in different directions. Some united and other clouds, others disappeared in the air. In that moment, Candy, I discovered something. Not even the clouds were free: each one had to confront its own destiny. Carried by the wind, even they were compelled to separate and take unexpected paths. Why then do they continue their journey with such serenity?

I started thinking about my family, my father, my mother, my sister and Georges, always ready to follow me like a shadow. Then I thought of Aunt Elroy, a severe woman, who sought, however to protect me in every way. I realised that wherever I went, I would always be an Ardlay. I wanted to be free, but I couldn't deny my family. However, I had no intention of letting anyone manage my life. I wanted to make my own decisions, and choose with my own head.

Thinking that made me feel suddenly lighter. It was then that a little girl, came running up the hill, fast as a bullet and with a grimace on her face. Yes candy: it was you. I remember the effort you made not to cry. I understood that you were expecting to be alone up high so that you could. Your image struck me to the heart.

You know Candy, it was the first time I had heard someone let go with such sincere and liberating tears. And it was also the first time that I could admire such a marvelous smile. I couldn't help but address you.

If on that day I suddenly disappeared it was because of Georges. I saw him climb the hill and I ran in the other direction along the slope, as fast as the wind. You were intent to indicate a point at the foot of the hill and you were talking alone in a loud voice. You probably didn't realise that I had gone. Georges however, was very fast and he recaptured me straight away. I was surprised to see your face streaked with tears. It's hard to watch someone cry without saying a word. The only other time I had seen that state was when my sister died.

On that hill I discovered the way that I wanted to live. Not even I forgot that little girl, that's why I recognised you when I saved you plummeted from the waterfall. Around your neck you had a cross and my pin. On the other hand, you hadn't changed much from our first encounter (don't be angry).

When you told me about yourself, I felt a great desire to make you happy, and I was certain that I could help you. My letter has become rather long. Even this must be the work of your magic spell?

I'll wait for you in Chicago.

Albert


P.S.

Candy, I can bear most things, but can you stop with this "Prince on the Hill"? It makes me shudder...


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