In The Forest

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She told me to meet her there. The place we had always met at as teenagers. I would have preferred a warm cafe with a choice of posh coffees and cakes, like a real first date should be but for whatever reason she had chosen to resurface our painful youths.

Climbing over the small hill, I tried to peer through the trees but they had grown wild and thick, their numbers perhaps doubling over the ten years since I’d last been here. Unsure, if I was now going the right way in the woods, I looked around for any signs. Anything I might have recognised was long gone.

Walking on, I trusted my gut that this was the right way and pushed through the low branches. Down before me, nestled in-between a clump of small trees and tall grass was the small abandoned wooden cabin. I smiled and hurried forward, expecting to see her there leaning out of the window as she often did, like a princess in a castle awaiting her prince.

There was no one there. I looked around and saw that the place was still in usable condition. Though I had to duck and squeeze through the door. Two windows let in some dim light on either side and it seemed that no one had been in awhile. Some old posters, torn from magazines and comics hung on the wall. I spotted a few at the back that I recognised; Superman, Batman and a few early nineties rock bands. On the low table were some empty bottles and cans, one of the chairs was knocked over and the old sofa that I recalled so fondly was gone.

There was a rickety staircase to my left and going over, I decided it wouldn’t hold my weight. I hadn’t put a lot on since being a teenager, going to the gym every two – three days helped that but testing the stairs I could easily see they weren’t stable. I stared up at the opening above, my mind remembering that there had camping beds and sleeping bags up there for those nights we boys had been brave enough to sleep out here.

Turning away, I walked out and there she was passing by the same trees I had done. I stopped and took her in. Of course, she had aged and put on a bit of weight too. Her hair was still chestnut brown but a lot shorter. She was wearing tight jeans with the ends tugged into high boots and a blue jumper; not the bright wild style of clothes that had draped her past self.

I felt a mixture of nervous, excitement and embarrassment, just like when she had first contacted me online. What would she think of me now? Would the sparks still be there? Other thoughts circle but I pushed them to the side as she drew near, having spotted me soon after I had her.

She smiled, tucked a loose stranded of hair behind her ear and came to stand before me. Her eyes roamed over me and she seemed satisfied. She held out her hand and took mine, the smile growing on her face.

‘I was worried you wouldn’t come,’ she said gently.

‘Well…I wanted to see you too,’ I explained.

She nodded and appeared shy, her eyes only glancing to my face. She squeezed my hand and focused on the old cabin. I looked over my shoulder at it, wondering what she was thinking.

‘It feels like so long ago…’she uttered then turned to me, ‘You’ve never been back here since?’

I shrugged and answered, ‘maybe once or twice after you left, but then….there didn’t seem any point.’

I felt and heard her take in a shaky breath.

‘It doesn’t matter now,’ I responded quickly.

I tugged her hand and led her to the cabin, feeling like a teenager again.

‘It’s not quite how I remember it,’ I pointed out.

She nodded, ‘I know! When I found it a few months back I couldn’t believe. I thought like my old house it would have been knocked down. I’m so happy it’s still here.’

We stopped close to the doorway and we looked up together. Then I felt the touch of her clothes against mine, her breath on my neck and her lips brushing my cheek. I turned to her, feeling the old stirring of our first love. I wrapped my arms around her, drawing her close and kissing her on the lips.

 

(Inspired from; https://allaboutwritingandmore.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/daily-picture-prompt-258/ with thanks).

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Spark #ThreeLineTales

three line tales week 85: sparkler and sunglasses

He thought if he could just figure out what she wanted that would make everything better. Looking at her as she watched the fireworks like everyone else at the party, he decided that he’d just have to ask her. Even though that might threaten his manliness, it was a risk worth taking to get that first date.

(Inspired from; https://only100words.xyz/2017/09/14/three-line-tales-week-85/ with thanks)

Breakfast #FridayFictioneers

Humming to himself, he cut some slices off the loaf of bread. Then he paused, spotting the heart shaped hole in one of the slices. He frowned then with a shrug, put all the slices in the toaster and carried on with preparing the breakfast.

When it was done, he took everything upstairs  and placed it on the bed before his new wife.

‘As promised,’ he said, ‘and look at this…’ he picked up the slice with the heart shape, ‘it was like this when I cut it. Do you think it’s a sign?’

‘For sure,’ she replied and kissed him.

(Inspired from; https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/09/13/15-september-2017/ with thanks)

Postcard #37

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It’s autumn here now. It’s turning colder and the wind is blowing stronger. The leaves are starting to change colour and fall. I’m sitting outside, writing this and thinking about you.

Do you remember that September day forty years ago when we sat on this very porch and drank hot tea together? I’ve polished that memory until it’s shined out all the rest. I hold it close to my heart. You told me once you had done the same, is that still true?

I wish we could see each other again. I hate how we have separate lives when we should have had one life together. Don’t you remember the promise we made to each other? Always and forever.

Well, I’m going to up hold that and hope that you do too.

All my love.

Summer Ends

I looked up at the starry night and sighed. Tomorrow it would be hard to tidy away this sanctuary that Charlie had built for me. I shut my eyes but then I heard him moving behind me.

‘Come to bed,’ he whispered.

‘Okay,’ I mumbled.

We crawled inside the tent and lay in each others’ arms. He kissed my head and said, ‘Sophie, will you marry me?’

I looked up in shock as he held out his great grandmother’s wedding ring.

‘Yes!’ I cried and slipped the ring on.

And so ended my perfect summer.

(https://rochellewisoff.com/2017/08/23/25-august-2017/)

Hand

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She woke to find a handprint on the bed. Smiling, she pressed her own over it, noticing how her smaller hand fitted within it. She breathed in deeply and knew within her heart that her husband was watching over her.

Modern Love

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I liked the new girl. She was quiet, polite and hardworking, plus she knew how to be a receptionist unlike the last woman! She had been here three months now and we were a good team. Settling into lunch that day which sadly was a working lunch like the many we had to have due to staff shortages, she suddenly switched the conversation.

‘Emma? Can I asked you a personal question?’

‘Sure, Alia,’ I replied. There was nothing I liked better then talking about my life.

‘How did you met your boyfriend?’

I looked at her. She was dressed in her normal long black coat, floor touching black skirt, loose and long black top and a black hijab which covered her head and neck, only showing her dark face. I had often wondered if she was in mourning since she was always dressed in black, but I hadn’t been able to bring myself to ask.

In contrasted, I always dressed in bright colours, favouring; blues, greens, purples and whites. I wore knee or ankle length skirts with leggings or tights, some days I put on trousers. My blouses and tops were sensible enough but some of them did draw focus to my large chest. I’d wear a matching jacket or cardigan as needed. With it being late summer, my skin was lightly tanned. I wore my long med brown hair up or down, depending on how I felt.

I had never seen even a wisp of Alia’s hair so I didn’t know what colour it was. she didn’t wear any makeup either whilst I went through the whole colour plate in time with the seasons and the weather. We both wore glasses- me thin metallic purple frames and her’s thick, round and black old fashioned frames.

I also carted a large and very full handbag around with me, whilst Alia seemed to keep everything in the deep pockets of her coat. Alia had a ring of keys attached to her which constantly made sounds as she moved and reminded me of the housekeeper in The Secret Garden movie.

‘My boyfriend?’ I questioned.

Alia nodded and waited for me to launch into the story. She was use to my length talks now.

‘On a dating website,’ I answered, ‘that’s where I’ve meet all my boyfriends, expect the ones I dated in education. I guess I find it easier, you know? I have a habit of creating bad first impressions with men. Plus, there’s so many different kinds of men you can meet and I’ve found it far better then bars and nightclubs.’

‘Oh,’ Alia responded.

‘Of course, if I could meet a boyfriend naturally I would do. I like the build up of friendship then the slow falling in love and the realisation of it,’ I explained then give a small shrug.

‘So, you’d like it as a fairy tale? Love at first sight?’ she asked.

‘That would make it easier, wouldn’t it? But life doesn’t happen like that.’

I laughed and give a little shake of my head.

The phone rang and our conversation was interrupted by someone making an enquire. After I had dealt with them I turned back to Alia.

‘Why did you want to know anyway?’ I asked her.

She looked a little guilty and there was a slight flush to her cheeks, slowly and almost in a whisper she said, ‘because I would like one.’

Alia pulled her hijab to cover more of her face as if she had told me a dirty secret and now needed to hide away.

I thought over her words for a moment. Sipping my water slowly.

‘And why can’t you?’ I asked.

She didn’t reply and had suddenly found something to do on the computer before her which totally had all of her focus. She ignored me as if I hadn’t spoken.

Casting my mind about, I wondered if Alia came from a family were arrange marriages were traditional. Perhaps, her parents were very strict about her seeing men? I wouldn’t know the truth if I didn’t ask, but I was nervous too and knew it would effect how I saw Alia.

Instead, I asked, ‘you know, online dating is normal now. It’s how most people met. Would you like me to show you how to sign up? I’ll put you on the free site I used. I meet my current and last three boyfriends off there.’

‘But how did you know they were….okay?’ Alia asked.

She looked at me shyly over her shoulder.

‘Well, because I set myself some rules and stuck by them. Plus, once you’ve talked to them online for a bit you get a feel for them. Then you can meet up with just the ones you want too. You have to meet in a really crowd place that you know well. Like in town,’ I added.

Alia waited for me to go on. Her interest peaking and her expression becoming more relaxed.

So, I did, ‘and never go to their houses or a location they suggest that you are not happy with. Art galleries and museums make for good first dates. Or meals out. Whatever you feel comfy with.’

She nodded.

‘So, would you like my helping signing up?’ I asked.

Alia paused then in small voice said, ‘yes, please.’

I smiled broadly and wheeled my desk chair over to her corner. With my help Alia would be fine and I’d make sure she found a suitable boyfriend.

Village Bakery

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Every morning, Jenny got up and went to her family’s bakery. Always the first to arrive, she tied on a clean pale blue apron over her black pants and white blouse then set about the morning tasks. Firstly,  she took the now clean aprons out of the washing machine and hung them up on the line in the little yard. The sun was just coming up and there was only the sounds of birds to be heard.

Secondly, she checked the stock rooms and made a list of everything that needed re-ordering then Jenny placed that notepad on her grandpa’s desk for him to see. There was no need for her to clean anything as her grandma and mother tided when they closed then again before they opened.

Tying back her short chestnut brown hair and washing her hands, Jenny went to the back kitchen and the bookcase of recipe books. Even thought she knew how to make everything the bakery sold with her eyes shut, she still liked the comfort of the big, overused books. Selecting one which was all in her great-grandmother’s handwriting, Jenny placed it on the book stand and flipped through the pages.

Grabbing the ingredients, she began to make a few different loafs of bread. It didn’t really matter what kinds they were because the second they were on the shop’s shelves they would start to be bought. Having mixed, divided and put the additional ingredients in to the batches, she let all the dough proof.

At that time, other family members began arriving; Jenny’s parents and grandparents. Greeting each other, they all began their morning tasks. Her mother and grandma cleaning everything, her grandpa going in his office to do paperwork, her dad coming to help with the baking.

As the sun fully rose on another picture perfect summer day, the villagers and tourist started awaking. The lovely aroma of freshly baked bread filled the warm air. The bell above the bakery door tinkled and the first customer arrived. Jenny smiled as she heard an old man’s voice asking what bread there was this morning.

Her grandmother began answering as her father pulled a tray stacked with white and brown loafs out and carried it into the shop. Jenny breathed in deeply, shutting her eyes. There was no better job in the world she decided.

One Moment

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It had been a last minute decision that changed our lives forever. Getting into my car, I watched from the rear view mirror as my wife checked our ten year old twins were strapped into the back of her car. Then she walked around and got behind the wheel.

Starting my car’s engine, I glanced at my fourteen year old son, sat now in the passenger seat on his phone. He had been the trouble of all this and the reason why we now had to take two cars on holiday instead of one.

Sighing and partly blaming myself, I drove off. For years, my wife had been trying to get us to buy a bigger car but we couldn’t offered it, unless we got rid of both smaller cars and that would have meant one of us taking the train to work. Getting those thoughts out of my head as I reached the motorway, I tried to think of everything we had to look forward to.

The six hour journey to Cornwall always felt like forever. I found my driving quieter though as the twins weren’t bugging me and my son was too busy on his phone or playing games. I put the radio on and let the rhythm of the music mix with the steady engine.

After stopping at a services and having a quick meet up, we carried on the last leg of the drive. It was a few miles before the turn off,  that I checked my mirrors and saw a lorry swerve lanes and plough side on into the car behind me. My heart stopped and I couldn’t breath but then I had to focus. I slowed and pulled over, praying that car hadn’t been my wife’s.

Yelling at my son to stay, I dashed out and ran to the scene of the wreckage. The car had spun off the hard shoulder and was laying in a tangle remains of trees and undergrowth. I didn’t even look at the lorry as I pulled open the driver’s door. And even though I knew, I was still fighting for it not to be true.

Postcard #36

Hi all,

Surfing isn’t for the fair hearted! I thought it was so easy whilst we were practising on the none moving sand, but the minute we got in the sea and tried to balance on small waves, everyone kept falling in! It took a another two lessons to get over that!

Yesterday, just Bo and I went out. We did pretty well and it was easier without all those people. But a big wave came out of nowhere and swept us both away. Luckily, we both made it back to the beach, surf boards intact.

Bo didn’t want to go out again, she was too shook up, so we headed back to the cottage. She was much better at our early morning lesson today, but it’s going to still take awhile till we’ve really got the hang of it!

All the best, Ed and Bo.