so, after a long time of writing extensively on death and other dark and depressing subjects, I thought I would try my hand at a more romantic/feel good story. There is more, that I have still to edit, and is of a more intimate nature, so may save it for something else. In the mean time, enjoy this first part of it!
We made our way up the step incline of the forested path, We were silent but content in each others company. It had been too long since we had been together, and I had a great joy in my heart now we had been reunited. However there was plenty around us to make noise, the birds in the trees, the squirrels jumping from branch to branch.
We finally reached the top of the hill. We stood there for a while, catching our breath, doubled over and panting heavily. It was only when we looked back that we realised quite how far we had gone; the golden afternoon light of late August shone down on us as we saw the valley below us, the long shadow of the church steeple cast itself across the nearby village. Underfoot the light brown-grey soil was dry and dusty from the long hot summer.
We turned around and took in where we were,
“I’ve never seen this part of the forest before!” Said Richard, my companion, his breaking of the silence was almost a shock to me. He continued, almost in a whisper, so as not to disturb the serene place, “it’s beautiful.” We were in the area together for the weekend looking after his grandparents huge barn house, and their equally huge dogs. We had both been best friends since we met at infants’ school. It used to be that we were inseparable, that was until I got my place doing anthropology at a university the other side of the country. He however had stayed on in the sleepy little town we were both born in, not far from here. His paintings had started to sell, so he had money, and he had no interest in cities and the busy people in them, he was happy with the slow pace of the country.
I had always admired his artist’s soul; he was free and able to survive on hope and joy alone as if they were bread and water. I liked how I could always be who I felt I really was around him. I could say exactly how I felt, and he’d get it instantly. He always knew what to do or say to make me feel better. And here we were again, after a whole year absent from each other, and as corny as it sounds, it felt now like it had been a few days and nothing more.
We had been working our way through the forest for most of the afternoon. Looking for somewhere to have our picnic. Robert had explored them rigorously as a child, and knew them all too well. It was indeed odd to find somewhere here unknown to him. The trees in this forest were his friends. I had never known a person to have such a connection with a place before, in many ways I was jealous of how close they were, but I knew it made him happy, and that in turn made me happy. If the dappled light of the forest floor would keep him happy whilst I was away, then let it.
We looked around us and took in the scene with a mild wonder. It must have been the only even part of the forest for miles, but here it was, half way up a hill, a moss covered clearing, complete lacking of trees on the inside. Off to the side, there was a little stream that danced its way along, its tuneful trickle pleasing to the ears. Robert gabbed my hand and dragged me over to investigate, falling to his knees as we reached the edge of the tiny stream. I saw now, that it would be easy enough to just step over it, it was so small, but it’s eerily clear waters seemed so fast and full of life.
Robert scooped up a little in his hands and drank some, forcing me to drink from his hands too. It seemed odd at first, and I felt a little grossed out drinking water from nature, not knowing what could be inside. But when it touched my lips, and I tasted the water that was so pure, I realized it must be fine.
“I knew the start of the river had to be up here, we must be close to the spring!” Robert explained. I just smiled at his childish excitement and made my first suggestion of the day;
“Y’know, I think this may be the perfect spot for that picnic.” Even as I said the words, Roberts eyes lit up, he had obviously forgotten the reason we had come out in the first place. We set everything up on the home made quilt Robert’s Grandmother had made him as a baby, which in turn we had layed on the soft cushioning of the mossy undergrowth, and sat down to finish the afternoon of talking about everything. What we had been up too, despite knowing everything thanks to out chats online constantly, and as always, we talked of our beliefs on the universe. It was a beautiful hazy afternoon. We nibbled at the home made food we had brought, and drank the wine, and the whole thing seemed timeless.
It was about two hours later, we were both lying on our backs, looking at the white fluffy clouds between the break in the trees. I have a cigarette in my hand that I would very occasionally take a drag on, all was right with the world, despite all my problems, they were not here, and they were not now. The entire universe was just me and Robert in this forest, and that was how it should be forever.
I felt his hand squeeze mine and I looked over to him. We often held hands, we had done since children, we thought nothing of it, and we were friends, true friends, so we held hands, nothing more. I turned to him slowly, the look of contentment on my face changing to one of concern as I see Roberts.
“What’s up?” I said, “Nothings troubling you is it?”
“Hmmm, not really.” He replied, Then after a slight pause; “It’s just, you never talk about girls, are you not having any luck finding someone?”
I looked at him and laughed, “Is that it?” I ask jokingly, “What do you mean? It’s just never been that important to me!” And that was the honest truth; I had no interest in girls, other than as friends and people to go out with. I had kissed a few whilst out clubbing with uni friends. I’d even slept with two, it had been fun, but I never stayed in contact with them, I never felt romantically towards them. To be honest I rarely gave these actions a second thought, but now
Robert had brought it up, I realized quite how odd it was.
“Are you going to try and hook me up with someone? Haha!” I continued joking, but Robert was having none of it. He sat up cross legged, facing me. The look on his freckle dusted face was one of hurt and anguish. I wondered why on earth he was taking this so seriously.
“I mean it, I’m worried about you, and you don’t have someone in your life to help you out when you need it, someone to balance you out.”
“I appreciate your concern Robert, but I’m alright, honestly.” I say as I smile.
“It just upsets me to know you might not have someone to look after you when you need it, or someone to share the fun times with. It’s no fun being alone.” As he said this his eyes started to well up with tears, and as they started to stream down his face, I instinctively leapt up and held him tightly in my arms where he sobbed, low and quietly, letting whatever hidden emotion or feeing out into the open, exposed only for me and the forest to see. I slowly lay him down on the quit, my arms still wrapped around him, cradling him.
After some time, the sobs quietened down, until all I could hear was his breathing and the occasional sniffle. His head was buried in my chest, my chin and nose resting on the top of his hair, the smell of his shampoo filed my nostrils, Jasmine or some exotic scent. His warm body fitted so closely with mine, which seemed only natural, but then everything seemed natural with us. Everything apart from the past year apart.
Then for some unexplained reason, and to this day I could not tell you why, something happened. After stroking his hair, and comforting him, I realized what he needed; I slowly and gently lifted his head, so I could see into his moss green eyes, where I looked for some time, finding the conformation I was looking for, there it was, like the spark of a new born star. I pressed our lips together. For the first time felt that electric jolt of everything falling into place. I felt his velvet soft lips, the taste of the wine still on them.