Jonty

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A chance encounter with a strange boy causes Marianne to remember her childhood friend, Jonty.

Submitted: January 03, 2011

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Submitted: January 03, 2011

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It started with a handshake, a simple touching of skin on a cool autumn day. I couldn’t bring myself to let go. Something in the way his eyes connected with mine and his hair skimmed his jaw bone in the breeze, felt oddly nostalgic. Even his name, Jonathon Golde, makes my heart skip and my mind whirl. This was not the first time we had met.
“Hello, Marianne.”
His voice, soft and deep like the strum of a guitar, triggered the long forgotten memory. All those years ago it had been higher, but the softness had always been the same.
I’m eight-years-old, standing under this very tree with a boy of similar age. Salted tears stain my cheeks and run over my lips, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. The boy has a look of concern on his rounded face. As the wind whispers through the trees around us he raises a hand to gently brush away the tears from my eyes.
“Why are you crying?”
Being spoken to in such a soft way was something I wasn’t accustomed to. Even now, all these years later, he is the only one to use such a tone with me. At his touch my body froze, paralyzed under his intense gaze.
“Daddy yelled at me.”
He had just looked at me, unspeaking. For a long time we just stayed there, him blankly looking and me still letting the tears run down my face. After a while he crouched down on the ground in front of me and picked up a stick, idly poking the dirt. I felt it my duty to break the silence.
“Does your Daddy yell at you?”
He looked up at me, pale grey eyes glistening with unshed tears.
“I don’t have a daddy.”
“What about you’re Mommy?’
‘I don’t have a Mommy. I’m all alone.’
We had frozen again. Him staring up at me, holding his stick loosely in his hand, and me looking down on him, confusion running through my eyes. Back then I had never before heard of someone not having parents. For all my life I was bought up in a world of perfection, constantly playing a fake game of happy families. To think there was someone out there with nobody to care for them made my heart ache with a kind of sympathetic loneliness. I wanted to help him.
“Want to be my friend then? That way you never have to be alone again!”
It seemed to take a moment for the words to sink in, but once they had he broke out into one of the most genuine smiles I have ever seen. He simply nodded, seeming too overwhelmed to speak. I had smiled back, and put out my hand.
“Pinky promise!”
Laughing gently, he had entwined his finger with mine, sealing the deal. From then on he was my best friend. Jonty Golde and Annie McQueen. We became inseparable.
What happened to Jonty, I never knew.
We would meet every day by the tyre swing at the bottom of my garden. I loved that place. There was an almost overwhelming smell of pine trees and everything seemed so fresh and real. Nothing was fake and nothing was forced. The tyre hung on an old tattered rope that if I saw now I would deem unsafe, but back then it was an adventure. I didn’t care how dangerous it may have looked, the thrill I got from riding it back and forth and letting the wind run through my face and hair outbid any concern for my health. The way my heart began to pound in my ears and the blood coursed through my veins in adrenaline filled my entire body with a giddy childish excitement. Jonty was the same.
No matter what had happened that day, if it was raining, snowing or scolding heat, we met without fail. It was our safe haven. So that day when he didn’t come, I wasn’t angry or disappointed. I was frightened. Sitting on the tyre alone, I stared out towards the direction he always came, expecting to see him any moment with his eyes shining with anticipation and his arms flapping wildly at his sides as he ran. After that I would go every day, alone and simply sit on the hard rubber ring. I couldn’t swing it on my own so I stayed stationary, and I waited. I waited until darkness swept over the sky, turning my safe haven into a place of shadows and demons. I waited until the green leaves on the trees melted into a crisp yellow and floated gently to the ground. I waited until snow fell from the sky and covered the earth in a blanket of clear white, and then I waited until the snow melted away and the flowers pushed their way through the rough earth, opening into a cup of lavish colours.
And then I went home.


© Copyright 2019 Conker. All rights reserved.

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