I fell for a travelling man, back when he was still a boy. With his eyes painted gold and his hair curled. He got a wrinkle in his forehead when I told him about love and when I painted spirals on the back of my hands with his brushes.
He told me love was the name we chose to put on the silver chains we used to bind another person to us so we could fit into the conventional way of building a family. He called me a little bird who wanted to live in a gilded cage with a mirrored self to chirp at. He laughed at my upset expression and before he left to go dancing on the streets of Europe he kissed my hands and told me to find a sky to stretch my wings.
When he came back that first year we drank sweetened coffee and I promised him with conviction in my voice that he would never have me. He told me with a grin on his face of a man who kept peacocks in this garden in England, and how he thought of me when he saw them.
The next year we spiced our coffees with rum and I told him I would eventually stop loving him, I just needed to shed myself of my childish infatuations. He said nothing but painted feathers in gold and green down my back.
He danced me around the fire alongside his brothers and their lovers and he promised me that he would never promise me anything.
One of his girls braided ribbons in my hair and called me sister the rest of the summer. We fell asleep in the grass, the girls and me, while someone was enjoying the summer and the wine not to far away from us. She told me of an old woman who could wove spells into a strain of hair. The next morning I gave the boy a bracelet of my braided hair and he smiled, bringing it with him when he left.
I fell for a traveling man, back when I was younger. He is off somewhere in the south of America dancing with ribbons and doing complicated things with big rings. I promised him a great deal, he smiled a lot, and every summer when he comes down the street whistling like a bird, I braid my hair with ribbons, paint my eyes with feathers and goes to dance around the fire on the hillside.