COLORS OF THE WIND
"Pocahontas, stand up straight!" Her sister's exasperated voice rang out.
"I'm sorry," she replied, as she straightened her shoulders. She was being fitted for her bridal dress, a soft, well-tanned deer skin dress well-decorated with fringe that began at her knees and flowed to her ankles. Turquoise beads hung from the top of the dress and crossed where they met the fringe. The final touch was her mother's necklace that Powhatan had given her shortly after he had told her about Kocoum's proposal. It had remained around her neck from that moment on. Through the weeks she had tried to avoid Kocoum, even doing extra chores, but it was no use.
Night had fallen on the Powhatan village as Pocahontas' father began to tell the stories of the recent enemy that had come upon them.
"Our warriors fought with courage, but none as bravely as Kocoum, for he fought with the strength of the bear. He has proven himself to be worthyŚ"
"Oh, he is so handsome," Nakoma said, as she winked at her best friend.
"I especially love his smile," she retorted, looking at Kocoum's stern face.
"Would you girls quiet down?" an older woman hissed, turning to face the young women.
Pocahontas nodded her apologies as she turned her attention back to her father's speech.
"Tonight, we will feast in his honor," Powhatan finished, as Nakoma and the crowd cheered.
Sighing, Pocahontas tried to slink off, but a strong arm landed on her shoulder.
"Did you not hear your father?" Kocoum questioned accusingly.
"I heard him just fine. Why do you ask?" Pocahontas replied, as she freed herself from Kocoum's hold. She turned and began walking towards the treeline. As she looked back, she was pleased to see Kocoum's shocked face watching her.
"You just left like that!" Powhatan's voice was firm and angry, as he faced his daughter later that night. "It is time you took your place among your people."
Pocahontas turned her head to the side, refusing to look at her father in the eye.
"You know that Kocoum wished to dance with you, but when he had asked my permission and I had granted it, no one could find you. You humiliated him, Pocahontas. He wished to dance with his future wife. Instead, he asked Nakoma."
"Then let Nakoma marry him," she stated flatly.
Standing quickly, Pocahontas walked from her father's longhouse, but it was not quick enough. Powhatan slapped her once, then left her as she rubbed her cheek. She knew that she was not going to be able to change her path now. She understood that her father wanted her to be safe and happy, but Pocahontas knew the whole truth.
Her marriage was based on rank and status within her village, and her father had already stated that Kocoum had proven himself worthy of her. Why couldn't I marry for love? Pocahontas mused, then laughed aloud. That rarely happened, as far as she knew.
Feeling tired, she walked in the direction of her longhouse, noting that Kocoum was still awake from the amount of light that came from his structure.
A thought struck her. Should she say something to him? No, she decided, knowing that Kocoum could take advantage of her while she was there, and not willing to risk it, she headed for her own house and to sleep.