She’d never felt special. More an ugly duckling. She’d accepted long ago that this was why her stunning mother and distinguished father had little time for her. Which was why she was surprised, on returning home from boarding school, that they’d planned a party for her eighteenth birthday.
She couldn’t decide whether she was pleased or terrified.
The pink satin cocktail dress her mother had chosen only served to accentuate just how plain she was, and she felt she would die of embarrassment.
Her concerns, however, proved unwarranted because after their initial polite greetings no one paid her the slightest attention. The party was just another opportunity for her parents to network.
Retreating to the library, she selected a book and sank onto a sofa. Minutes later, a young man entered. She recognised him as the son of one of her father’s colleagues.
The next few hours were spent deep in conversation and she learned he had recently been discharged from the army. They found they shared a passion for poetry and she read aloud some of her favourite poems from her book.
“It’s been lovely,” she said, when it came time to leave.
“It has,” he agreed.
Weeks later, whilst out riding, her mother was thrown from her horse and didn’t survive her injuries. Her father’s mourning was brief and within a year he’d remarried.
Her stepmother, no stranger to surgical procedures, took pity on her new daughter and persuaded her to go under the knife.
Suddenly, she was popular! A whole new world opened up for her. One of excitement and fun.
But, inside, she always felt something was missing.
Admiring suitors, all vying for her attention, surrounded her at her twenty-first birthday party. How shallow they seemed.
Once again, she made her escape to the library. And there he was… waiting.
His fingers softly traced her face. Exactly as they’d done… years before. And she’d never felt so loved.
Her duckling to swan transformation was meaningless to him. His sight was lost. But he saw her more clearly than anyone she had ever known.