The air was painted with water colours that morning. It was very quiet. Just me, alone. My feet crunched up a gravel path over a sandy hill, shaded by leafy oak trees. Somewhere, a bird cheeped happily as the sun glinted through the leaves from over the eastern roof tops. A mid-summer breeze floated around my face. I hunched my shoulders, and nuzzled into the worn, fuzzy blue scarf that hung awkwardly round my neck. I breathed in the deep, flowery smell, and sighed.
I reached the top of the hill, and made my way silently through the tall pale grass into a wide open clearing, scattered with small stones and weeds, wild flowers. Heather and English rose, and of course, primroses. I made my way quietly to the centre of the clearing, and carefully sat down. The wind blew. I closed my eyes. Chimes, in the nearby trees, laughed gently in the breeze.
“Hello.” I looked up, into the pale face of a girl. She was wearing a lilac blue lose top and jeans, her vermillion silky hair hung around her shoulders in lose curls. She was smiling at me. Dirt was smeared all over my face; I wore nothing more than baggy camos and an old Brown T-shirt. I bushed, and starred quickly back down at the earth. “Um…hi.” I said slowly. She giggled, and I glanced up at her again. She was smiling at me, but in a kind way.
“My names Katrina” she said gently. “But you can call me K. what’s your name?” I blinked at her stupidly a couple of times. “Charlie.” I mumbled eventually. “Can I call you charlotte?” she asked brightly. “No.” I said firmly. “Just Charlie” she smiled again, and sat down next to me. “Ok. So what are you doing?” I blushed deeper red still, and tried to appear as interested as possible in an earthworm crawling past my big toe.
“I’m playing.” I said eventually. “Can I play?” she said eagerly. I glanced back at her; she was still smiling brightly, with little freckles on her nose and the sunlight glinting in her brown eyes. “What’s wrong?” she asked quietly. “Yeah, yeah.” I grinned hurriedly. “Ok. You can play. But only if you like flowers.”
The wind blew through the long grass, as I gazed up at the sky. Just like when we were little, the sky was blue. The clouds, like melted ice cream castles drifted lazily far above. I lay back, and putting my hands behind my breathed in the warm sunshine.
“K!” I scrabbled up the tall sandy hill, scrabbling in the dirt. I grinned happily as I caught a first glimpse of Vermillion hair, floating in the wind, and waiting. I ran towards her, as she spun around smiling, as she shouted “Charlie!” before I ran straight into her arms, and then we both fell over, laughing in the warm grass. We lay side by side, and we talked. She told me all about her private girl’s school, made me laugh with her stories of grumpy old teachers and stuffy classrooms and endless boredom. I talked a bit about the local comp, about home, didn’t have much to talk about really.
“K.” I said quietly after a while. “yeah.” She breathed. “Thanks for being my friend” I whispered. She reached out, and held my hand. “Thanks for being mine.” She smiled. After that, we decided we’d carve our names in a tree. K wasn’t strong enough to handle the pen knife, so I did it. I carefully carved ‘Charlie + K = best friends’ in wobbly writing. I said I was sorry if looked terrible. She said it was perfect.
I walked around for a bit, stretching my legs. Old memory’s flickered, as my eyes drifted over the ground. Worn paths. I stroked the bark of the old rotten oak trees that surrounded the little area, counting each one. I stopped at the fifth, and pulling away the mould and ivy revealing a memory’s promise. I traced the worn simple words with my finger. I spelt ‘friends’ wrong, and my hand writing was childish. But it was perfect.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Charlie happy birthday to you” sung K, in a clear voice. I gazed happily on the beautiful cake, with pink sponge and blue flowers, and ‘happy birthday’ written on the top. “Do you like it Charlie? You like it right? I picked one with flowers, because you like flowers, right?” she babbled excitedly.
“It’s amazing!” I grinned at her, and she flushed a deep pink. “You ok?” I said, frowning slightly. “Of course.” She quickly smiled at me. “Happy birthday Charlie! So were both 18 now, right?” “That’s right” I said, cutting into my cake. “Except of course some people never grow up.” “Hey!” she laughed playfully, punching my arm lightly. “Ok, ok, get off.” I giggled, pushing her hands away. Suddenly her face fell. “Oh no! Damn it!” she spluttered. “What?” I asked. “I forgot to get you a present! I’m sorry Charlie!” she flushed, genuinely embarrassed. I could feel myself beginning to blush again.
“It’s cool.” I smiled at her kindly, touching her arm. “You already got me a cake and everything, which is delicious by the way, so it’s cool ok?” I picked up a hunk of cake and placed it into her hand. “Here, have some.” She smiled at me, again. A warm breeze flowed in through the trees, rustling the leaves. The ground was warm and dry underneath me, and as I looked up, the evening sky was a golden watercolour. “Hey look at that!” I smiled. I glanced back at K. her head was hung into her chest.
“You still feeling beat up about the present thing?” I asked. She nodded. “Well, you could always give me a kiss” I laughed, smiling at her. She looked up. She was blushing, a really deep crimson. “Are you feeling ok?” I said suddenly, my bliss falling to concern, and then suddenly, she reached right forward over the cake between us and kissed me. I sort of meant to pull away, to be annoyed, to be angry, to say it was just a joke, but then I sort of realised… I didn’t want to.
Sunlight streaked across the morning sky. In the distance, I could hear the first cars driving to work, and the chaffinches tweeting merrily, a perfect soundtrack to a beautiful scene. I sighed, and sat down again. Reaching inside my pocket, I brought out a handful of cherry blossoms from the garden, and scattered them on the pale grass. “Hi K.” I said quietly.
The air was cool and comforting against my skin as I sat in the dry grass, waiting. “Charlie!” I spun around, to see her coming towards me. “K!” I laughed, scrambling to my feet and running towards her. She was wearing primroses in her vermillion hair that day, and an indigo dress. I kissed her, and took her hand, pulling a funny face to make her laugh. When she stopped giggling, she coughed violently a little. “K?” I said quietly. “You ok?” she smiled at me. She was very pale, paler than usual. “I’m fine!” she laughed, and throwing her arms around my shoulders said “I’ve missed you!”
We walked around for a while quietly, maybe talking every now and then. “K?” I said. “Mmhm?” she murmured. “Will you come with me K? I want to stay with you. You and me, we could live together K, just us, us against the world. Wouldn’t it be wonderful? K?” I looked down at her.
She was shaking. “K? Are you all right K?” I said; worry beginning to seep into my brain. Suddenly she burst into a fit of coughing, longer and more violent than before, and fell to her knees, clinging to me. “K!” I shouted, clutching her. “K, what’s wrong? K! K!” nausea and fear flashed though my mind, I couldn’t think straight.
She clutched her mouth with her hand, and finally stopped ghostly pale and shaking violently, half conscious. She brought her hand away from her mouth, splattered in a deep scarlet liquid. Time stopped. I felt sick, looking at that hand. “…K?” I said shakily, looking down at the girl I held in my arms. I could feel her getting colder, though it was so warm around us. “K?”
She looked up at me, and with a great effort, smiled at me gently. “I…I…love…” she whispered. She wouldn’t say anymore. “What? What!” I shouted, shaking her. “K! What are you saying K?” she was unconscious, and hung limply in my arms. “No… no K!” I shouted “stop it! Stop scaring me! K? K! Please stop it, K! I love you K! K? K!” tears were beginning to fall down my cheeks as I knelt there, rocking her gently, screaming “K! K! Please stop this K, K! Please! Help! Somebody help!”
Memory’s echoed inside my head. I shivered as a cool breeze blow around my shoulders. It was so peaceful, and quiet. The warm air filled the gentle space, ruffling the grass. Blowing the leaves in the trees, sunlight shone upon worn pathways. Wild flowers grow in patches in the dry grass. Speckled yellow primroses. I gazed around me, at our place. Breathing the sweet scented air. “Hey K.” I said gently. Nobody answered. “It’s been a while right?” I sat down in the quiet, and smiled happily as two butterflies flitted through the air. “I wouldn’t let them put you in the ground.” I said quietly. “You’d hate it down there.” Still silence. I got up slowly, and began to walk away.
“I know you’re here.” I smiled. “You’re always here, waiting for me.” The wind blew through the gentle wind chimes. The soft sent of flowers filled the air. “I’ll come back and see you again K” I whispered. “Goodbye. I miss you.”
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