I didn’t find autumn cold like most people did. I found it warm and cosy. I loved pulling on a soft jumper, curling up on the sofa with a hot coffee or chocolate then burying myself in a thick novel.
Outside, the wind might be howling and the rain might be pouring but that just made perfect background noise to my reading. As the early darkness covered the sky and lingered by the windows, I pulled a blanket over my knees and wonder how the hero was going to escape this time.
The bubbling of stew and dumplings called to me before I could get there. It was a hearty meal with bread for soaking up the gravy at the bottom of the bowl. I felt hugged from the inside!
Sleepiness drifted like the night upon me and I took the book to a fleece lined bed and goose feather pillows. Safe from the world, I disappeared in between the words till I was dreaming I was adventuring alongside the hero.
I looked up at my neighbour’s apple tree and my mouth started to water. The thought of the first bite of sweet crispiness called to me and it was a temptation I answered.
I pressed against the wooden fence and cast through the leaves. There were a lot of apples on the branches that over hung my garden. A few apples were in easy reach too but I wanted one that was ready.
The lowest apples were the ones that had seen less sun and they were not ready. The highest ones were but they were out of my arms reach and it would be too suspicious if I stood on a ladder.
I choice an apple that was at the height of my reach. It’s red and green colours were splashed together and it felt heavy in my palm. A quick twist and it was mine!
The barking started before I could officially claim my prize. I looked across my neighbour’s garden and saw their dog. It was a terrier mix and making one hell of a racket.
I swiftly lowered my arm and put the apple into my pocket. The dog bounced over, knowing he’s territory had been entered and he slammed into the fence.
Shooing the dog away was useless and I know my neighbour would appear to see what the noise was about because their back door was open. Hopefully, they would think it was a bird the dog was chasing after.
I rushed back to the lawn mower I had abandoned and turned it on. The engine drowned out the dog’s barking and I hurried about my task once more.
A few minutes later, I had finished and packed away the lawn mower in the shed. The dog had stopped barking. Sitting on the shed’s step, I took out the stolen apple and had my first bite.
The snails had been eating Burt’s plants again. He signed and plucked away the nibbled leaves that reminded. Hopefully, some of the plants would survive if he give them some extra care.
As for the snails, Burt got some plastic sheeting out of his shed and some metal rods he had made for this job. He constructed a mini greenhouse cover over the plants and put wooden planks on the floor to weigh the sheet down and stop the snails getting underneath.
Burt would never put out poison. He didn’t believe that was the correct way to deal with nature. The snails were just hungry and they didn’t mean to eat his plants, it was just their way. So, he wouldn’t kill them but he would stop them from getting access and encourage the snails to move on.
I had to know what he was doing, it was like a addiction. I thought about him all the time since he’d left me. How was he doing? Was he eating okay? Did he have a new girlfriend yet?
I always tried to squish that thought down. Of course, he hadn’t moved on yet. He promised to always love me. How could there be anyone else?
From the bushes outside his parents’ house, I watched him sitting a table eating whilst his mother talk to him just out of view. I couldn’t hear what they were saying.
The bruises on his face were fading. He looked happier, he was smiling and nodding.
When was the last time he had smiled at me like that?
I balled my hands into fists, dried blood still in the lines and soil buried under my nails Anger filled me, burning in my chest like an immortal fire. I wanted him back. I needed him back! How could I live without him, my one true love?
I got out of the garden and went to the front door. I rang the bell.
Putting my hands behind my back, I fixed a smile on my lips and waited.
He answered the door.
His face turned white, his eyes growing large and his mouth trying to form words.
‘I’ve missed you, honey,’ I spoke in a breathy voice.