by Bridgett Trejo
The grass is damp, and the wind blustery. Nearby water; murky and filling the air with an ungodly stench that never seems to leave. The sky is gray, and the clouds pass by slowly. The day is 19 May, 1536, not like any other day. A momentous occasion for some, but a bloody crime scene for others.
Nearly a hundred miles away from Wiltshire, we find ourselves in London. The awful wait is finally over for this Queen of yesterday. She is dressed in her gray damask gown, lined with fur and an ermine mantle with an English style gable hood. Despite the happenings around her, her demeanor is calm and she actually finds herself soothing her ladies more than herself. She has no doubt that her creator will welcome her into his loving arms.
She has known since she was a child that she would be destined to leave her mark on the world. She never felt less than equal to any man that stood next to her, but worthy and just as comparable. Her voice was never meant to be quiet, but heard by all those with ears. She had the strongest woman's intuition built within her very own belly, and learned to use it to her advantage. Her ability to out wit men has brought her some admiration from high places, but today, it also brings her impending doom.
Those who do not like women in high standing positions have decided this fate for her. Her female body has failed her as well, for it has not given her husband and King the son that he so desperately needs. Those closest to her husband, the King, have trumped up false charges against her leaving her without a voice. She admits to nothing, yet does not protest her voice. She learned from a very young age that it's merely a waste of ones own breath to try to change the minds of those who will not listen. The only thing that she has control over, this very day, is herself. Ones true identity lies in how they react when thrown into the pit of despair. She is a Queen, and today, she will die as one.
Her climb begins. She gracefully ascends the staircase one step at a time, unshaken. In the sky above her, three crows are in flight as if preparing to carry her soul into heaven. It is nine o'clock in the morning, and the sky opens up just enough to bring a bit of sunlight to her face. She takes a moment to gather her thoughts, and feel its warmth on her skin.
As she considers her words carefully, she studies the faces of the crowd, paying close attention to the few shrewd ones that she will not miss. She can see their discomfort, and watches them become shifty in their positions. If a Queen, who once shared the bed of a King can be tossed aside with false judgments, then it will not take much for any of them to fall from favor either. She takes comfort in knowing this.
Opening her mouth to speak now, her words are written into the wind, never to be taken back again. The crowd becomes silenced and the tears on some of their faces show the impact of a dignified speech. Some taking to bended knee in utter respect, and admiration. This is what they heard her say:
"Good Christian people, I have not come here to preach a sermon; I have come here to die. For according to the law and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak of that whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the King and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never, and to me he was ever a good, a gentle, and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me."
There was no admission of guilt for any crime. Nor was there any fanatical protest of her innocence. The protection of her daughter took precedence over everything else. And never a day did she look more beautiful than she did right now.
She turns to her ladies, and they make haste to help her remove her mantle, and then lift off her gable hood. Her lush dark hair now exposed, and giving the airs around her the lavish smell of rosewater. They help Anne tuck her hair into her cap in the most gentle manner possible. Even if they did not like her in the past, they now feel empathy for her. She hands her bible to Lady Lee, and says her farewells to them. To her left, she faces her executioner, paying him for his skills and mercy.
"Forgive me?" His French accent offering some comfort to her. It was in France that she keeps some of her fondest childhood memories.
She can not see anything now. Her balance is a little disrupted, but she kneels herself, becoming a King's unjustly sacrifice. The image of a lion and a lamb pass through her thoughts, suggesting to her that she should pray once more. Folding her hands in front of her, she puts her minds eye on Christ himself.
In repeated prayer, she prays -
"O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul. To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesus receive my soul."
As she prays, the sun once again shines down on her. Black crows still circle above her, but can now only be heard and not seen. The image of her daughter Elizabeth passes through her mind, in a memory of the two of them sitting in the garden together watching some birds, birds that sounded very much like the ones above her.
One stroke from her executioner's sword, she feels a sharp pain that only lasts a few seconds. A thud and then her head is lifted into the air for all to see. She did not expect to see her body laying on the scaffold without her head, but she did, and for nearly thirty seconds she could consciously see her blood spill from her headless body.
After those final enduring seconds, everything goes black.
The crowd disburses, and Anne's ladies wrap her in a white cloth and carry her into the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. Here, they remove her clothes and place her in an old chest that once housed bow staves. A cannon is fired as a symbol that Anne is dead, and then the courageous, innocent, murdered Queen is buried in an unmarked grave with the intent that she might parish and be forgotten. Unbeknownst to those who thought so, this would not ring true. Anne Boleyn will find life in new realms by living in the hearts of many. And it is there, in these places, that she will indeed be the most happy. An Immortal Queen.