The Girl with the Dark Hair

She was there again, sitting beneath the lavish tendrils of the Willow tree, leaning against its trunk, waiting. David saw her for the first time last week, when he was cleaning the front room window. Dark hair fell around her shoulders obscuring her face, although ascertaining her features from where he was, would be well-nigh impossible.

She intrigued him.

People walking past didn’t seem to notice her – swept up in their every day, mundane, lives. Most things went unnoticed, even for David. He wouldn’t have seen her either, if it hadn’t been for the kid down the road who decided he’d throw an egg at his window – maybe he thought, I should go and say thank you.

Once her presence was known to him, it was as if she called to him in the silence of his heart. He never witnessed her arrival but always a strong urge would climb inside him and he would know when she was there. It didn’t matter what time of day it was – the overwhelming sense of her would fill his being and he would have to look out the window, over at the tree, and there she would be, sitting and waiting. Her ethereal-like form, always seemed to evoke a sense of longing in him.

Today he decided he would talk to her, put a face to her and a name, to see if she was really there and not just a figment of his imagination. As he stepped through his front door a rush of adrenalin coursed through his body, he checked himself ‘slow down’ he said aloud.

The slow, meaningful, steps, he took to cross the road to reach the tree, seemed to take forever to get him there, and when he finally reached it, the tendrils parted, inviting him in. Carefully he approached her, on silent feet, the spongy grass softening his tread. As he reached her, she glanced up at him, and her look became a silent whisper against his cheek. Green eyes gazed into his and full lips parted, to form the gentle trace of a smile. David stared, overwhelmed by her beauty, and when she patted the earth beside her, a look of mischief animating her soft features, he smiled and joined her on the ground.

Everything changed, after he’d sat. Instead of the green grass, stone pavement, and busy road beyond, a deserted, country track lay before him, leading off into the thickness of a dense forest. To either side of the track spring meadows readied themselves for summer bloom. A horse munched idly on grass, a few feet away. And where they sat, was not beneath the Willow tree but upon a fence and behind the fence, a large house stood.

Eyes wide, David stared in disbelief. He turned to the girl but she did not look at him, her head facing forward, her features lost in grief. Everything she felt he felt. His heart was ripped apart by the sorrow that consumed her. And he knew why. He, her true love, had been taken from her, in battle, and every day since, she had waited here for him to return, unable to accept he was gone from her forever.

A cold blast caught his hair and his face became captured by her hands. Deep green eyes peered into his soul.

“You have come back to me, my love,” she said. David drowned in her presence. The memory of another time, another place, manifested before him, had brought him back to her. He knew her now, his love, his life, his heart. “Come with me, into the house, and I will make you better.” David took her hand and began to follow.

“Oi, Mister, what you doing?” The intrusive voice brought him back and, startled, he withdrew his hand from hers. He stood, stumbled, looked bleakly around, but she was no more, only a light ripple in an ocean of eternity.

David retraced his steps from beneath the Willow, across the road and back to his flat. When he opened the door and stepped inside she stood by the window. She turned to face him, her pale face and green eyes, made more so by the darkness of her hair. The grief had gone from her face and what now stood before him was a dream, a vision of immense happiness.

“I am come home,” she said, “Come to me my love.”

David moved toward her and took her in his arms. They embraced and then she bade him look through the window. What he saw stilled his heart within his chest. Outside, upon the floor, his body lay crumpled and bloodied from the car, which had mown him down and left him for dead. He turned his face to her.

“Am I dead?” he asked.

“No my love, you are merely released from the physical and we have become reunited, at last.” She kissed him and a smile lingered upon his lips …

Rick clicked on save, pushed back in his chair and hoped this latest effort would please her. Creative writing was not his forte, he was much more into the factual side of prose – but she had made him write another because his last one was not up to scratch.

“Bring me a love story, Rick, some literary magnificence. I know you have it in you,” she said smiling. He rolled his eyes. What did she think he was? I am a serious writer not bloody Shakespeare.

At class that evening he presented her with the piece and she read it – her face soft, her lips realising a smile. “Better!” she enthused. Rick sighed heavily and took his usual seat.

Ten minutes into the session the door swung wide and a young woman walked in. Rick was too engrossed in his pet project, writing an instruction manual on how to build your own PC, to notice her. The tutor’s voice intruded irritably into Rick’s thoughts and he sucked in a breath, concentrating all his attention onto the monitor and what was upon the screen, hence, blocking everything else out.

“Can I have your attention everyone?” All heads faced forwards except Rick’s. “We have a new tutor starting with us today – this is Lillie and she specialises in Historical Fiction. We’re all very excited to have you with us, Lillie.”

Lillie smiled and said, “Thank you, I’m very happy to be here.” The voice, strangely familiar, penetrated Rick’s imaginary force field and he became curious enough to look up. He froze – it was her. She, Lillie, was exactly how he had pictured the mystery girl from his story, in his mind’s eye.

His mouth agape, he stared at her. And for the entire evening, as she gave them her thoughts on the writing of historical fiction, he could not take his eyes off her.

As the class drew to a close he decided to approach her. It took every ounce of will power to talk to her. He was never good at speaking to strange women and especially those he was attracted to. But tonight he fought the urge to run and, with a deep breath, he nudged himself before her.

“It’s been interesting,” he said quietly. At first he didn’t think she’d heard him. He went to repeat himself but she looked up quickly, as if stung. It was then Rick noticed his story lying across her knees. The look on her face made him think she didn’t like it. Well, I’m no story teller but now wished he was.

“Sorry,” she said absently before looking at him. When their eyes met, something stirred within him.

“I see you’ve read my story?” he asked, “Was it that bad?”

As if trying to shake herself out of a trance she asked. “Is this yours?”

Rick nodded.

“I dreamed this last night,” she said, “you have written my dream down, in every detail.”

They stared at each other in stunned silence. Eventually Rick broke it.

“Can I give you a lift anywhere?” To eternity, maybe.

She smiled. “I have my own car but …” she paused, “You can buy me a drink, if you like.”

“I like.” He smiled. When their hands touched they sensed a bond, a coming home. Rick gave himself an imaginary pat down and wondered if he might be dead.

As they walked out into the coolness and darkness of the evening they both looked up simultaneously. A shooting star shot across the night sky and a voice, so distant yet so very near, caressed them:

To infinity and beyond …

They stared at each other. “Did you …?” She stopped as he nodded, her lips parted in a gentle sigh.

“Yes,” he answered. “You heard it too?”

“Yes.”

They turned towards each other and their smiles became laughter.

“Buzz lightyear is very profound,” Rick said.

Lillie nodded. “Yes, very.”

Rustling leaves and giggling revealed the culprits and Rick pointed a finger at them.

“Be gone before I set Mr Potato Head on you,” he yelled. The three boys ran off chuckling.

Hands entwined they stood for a while watching the sky.

“Do you believe in fate, Rick?” Lillie asked.

Rick thought about it. “I suppose I do, now.”

They smiled.

 

Copyright © Michael Jones