Where The Honeysuckle Grows

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


A 1500 word story written for a daily BoMoWriCha House challenge.

Submitted: June 10, 2018

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Submitted: June 10, 2018

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Where The Honeysuckle Grows

I must have just been in a light sleep when the message came in, otherwise it wouldn’t have woken me. It’s a rare thing indeed for me to get a message so early in the morning, so curiosity drags me from my bed to see who it’s from. Heather, of course. I don’t think anyone else would dare to wake me up so early on a Sunday morning.

‘Meet me where the honeysuckle grows at 9am. I need to talk to you. Urgently.’

The first part of the message that hits me is the word ‘urgently’. Heather is not one to over-react to things, so if she says that it must be pretty important. The next thing is the time, 9am. Blearily I check out the clock; if I get a move on, don’t put in a lot of effort getting ready, I’ll make it.

Grabbing my jeans and a t-shirt I go in to the bathroom. I need to at least freshen up. No need to spend a lot of time getting spruced up; Heather has seen me at my best and my worst many times before.

“Peter! You’re up early.” Mom is in the kitchen, sitting down and enjoying a quiet cup of coffee. “Shall I get you a cup?”

“No, Mom. You stay there. I’ve got to pop out for a while, but I’ll see you later.”

Before she has a chance to ask any questions I’m through the door and off, heading down the road. It’s a quiet place. If this was a weekday, even a Saturday, there might be the odd car or van passing by, but on a Sunday morning all is quiet. There is the distant thrum of a milking machine and the twitter of birds, the flurry of wings. A few dogs, woken from their slumber give a bark at my passing, but of people there is not a sight.

Across the deserted main road and up the hill I go, taking the well-worn path across the fields. I can smell it before I see it, the honeysuckle bush. Even so early there are plenty of bees buzzing from blossom to blossom. A heady scent to a strange looking flower, I think.

I’m early! Don’t quite know how I achieved it but there is no sight of Heather yet. And then I spot her, way in the distance, a bounce to her step. Clearly, whatever she has to tell me is something that is making her happy. Well, that’s good. I hadn’t realized until that moment that I had become so tense, anticipating tragedy.

She’s seen me now. She lifts her arm up to wave and I return the gesture. It’s only a matter of seconds until she is in my arms, her lips seeking mine in the early morning sunshine. I can’t help but notice that there is something different about her. She is happy but she is nervous too, unsure of how I’m going to react to something she has to say.

Eventually, we put a bit of space between ourselves, and I reach out to gently rearrange her auburn hair. “So, Heather, what’s the news? It must be something pretty earth-shattering to get you out here so early.”

“Oh, Pete! It’s wonderful. I’ve got my dream!” She looks both glowing and unsure at the same time. How is that even possible?

What dream could she be talking about? I know that she has long had a desire to star in a musical and there is no doubt she has both the voice and the looks for it. But there’s no where round here, not for miles....What else could it be?

“Come on then, Hev, put me out of my misery. What is this ‘urgent’ news?” I feel myself grow pale as a thought crosses my mind. “You’re not....?”

She laughs at that, does Heather. A nervous laugh but a laugh all the same. “No! Don’t worry, Pete. You’re not going to be a Dad. But come on, can’t you guess?”

She’s dancing around now, caught up in her excitement. I’m dreading what she is about to tell me now. Maybe if I walk away, I won’t have to hear the words. Silently, I shake my head, thinking to myself, ‘Get it over with Heather. Prove me wrong.’

“I’ve got a part! Not the starring part, but almost. A major one that will hopefully get me some attention!” She looks at me, waiting for my response.

‘Come on,’ I tell myself. ‘It’s her dream! You love her, you should be happy for her.’ “Hey, that’s great, Heather!” I say the words but they don’t sound convincing, even to myself. Then I force myself to ask the question that I don’t want to hear the answer to. “Where?”

Heather looks away for a second, chews her bottom lip. I know what she’s going to say. “I’m going to move right across state, go live with Uncle Phil and Aunt Sue for a while. Just until I have a chance to find my feet, find a place of my own.”

There it is, the hammer blow. “When?” I can barely get my mouth to form the word.

“This evening,” her voice breaks, she’s realized the enormity of what she’s saying. Heather is going to pack up and leave me here. “Come with me, Pete! They have plenty of space and I know they wouldn’t mind. Just until....well, until we can find a place of our own.”

“I don’t know, Heather....How can I? What about my responsibilities here? You know, with Dad being sick, they are kind of depending on me to keep things going. I don’t know what to say. Can’t you say no to this one, wait until Dad recovers.”

“No, Pete. I can’t. There might not ever be a ‘next time’ and I’d never forgive myself for throwing away my dream.

I feel sick. The intoxicating scent of the Honeysuckle is clawing it’s way into my mouth, my nose, my lungs. I need to get away. “I thought you loved me, you know, Heather. As much as I love you.”

I’m walking away, can’t let her see me cry. I don’t even pause when she calls out, “I do love you, Pete. Come with me! I’ll be here this evening, at 6, if you change your mind.”

So I find myself walking and thinking. I can’t stand the thought of Mom’s questioning look, although I know she won’t say a word. I don’t want to have to go and visit Dad in the hospital, and I don’t want to walk past the repair shop that I’m trying to keep going single-handedly. I need to be alone, to let myself work through my own thoughts.

The idea of life without Heather is unthinkable. We are only in our early twenties but have been together since High School. I’d always assumed that we’d get married eventually, maybe have kids. I had never once envisioned a life without her in it.

But she could wait, couldn’t she? The chances were that in a year, maybe two, Dad would be back on his feet, able to keep the business going without me, maybe with a bit of paid help. My grandfather had started the business, my father taken it over and some time in the future it was always assumed that it would be mine.

No, I couldn’t walk out on them. Not now. I hastily typed out a message. ‘I can’t leave, right now. But I still love you. It doesn’t have to be the end.’

I hit send and waited for her response but my phone stayed stubbornly silent. I’d go to the Honeysuckle bush, tell her in person. It would be painful, but better than just a message.

Again I arrived early. While I waited for the time to pass I let my thoughts drift over memories of our shared time together. Could I really let her go? Mom and Dad would understand, wouldn’t they? If I explained?

But she didn’t show up. I waited an extra hour and a half, then headed towards her house. Her Mom opened the door and I could see that she’d been crying.

“She’s gone, Pete. She got your message and left earlier. I know I should be happy for her, but it’s still hard to see her go.”

She reached out to place a hand on my arm but before she could touch me I turned and headed away, muttering about having to go, having to be somewhere.

So she’d not even given me a chance to change my mind. Not even bothered to say good bye, but had just headed off to her solo future without one backward glance.

I have the strangest thought as I turn to head home, about flowers. For the rest of my life, I’m pretty certain I’ll not be able to smell the scent of Honeysuckle without thinking of Heather.

 

 

(1500 words including title).


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