Tag Archives: love

Perhaps The Rain 

I sat on the passenger side in the truck. The rain came down in torrents, running down the windshield. She didn’t care to use the wipers, but instead let the rivulets of rain hide the fact we were sitting alone in her boyfriend’s truck in the parking lot of his work. We’d come to pick him up so we could all grab a bite to eat once he was off for the evening, but something was different than usual. Perhaps it was the rain. Or maybe it was her perfume filling up the interior of the cab as we waited. The scent of it was sweet and inviting, and filled my mind with images of her getting ready to pick me up, walking into the spray of perfume,feeling it lightly caress her then naked body. A body I hadn’t really thought much about except in secret thoughts, though I’d always found her attractive.
She’d always been off limits. We were friends. Nothing more. She couldn’t want a boy like me when she had him, the typical college frat boy, all beer and muscles, whereas I was the thin typical geek boy girls always liked to have around as a friend and confidante. Tonight however, she was confiding something else to me and I barely heard her, as lost as I was in my own thoughts.
“Sometimes I wish I wasn’t with him,” she said. “Have you ever felt that way about someone?”
For a moment I didn’t realize there was a question there, then she leaned forward and made eye contact, which made me nervous. I hung my head slightly and wouldn’t look at her. “No, not really. Maybe once long time ago, but I haven’t had many relationships other than friendship, you know.”
She nodded and smiled. “I sometimes wonder what it would be like with someone else.”
I dared to look up. “And?” I asked, feeling there was more to her statement.
“You’ve never tried to hit on me.” It was spoken as a statement, but I felt there was a question intended.
“What?”
“In all the time we’ve known each other, you never once put a move on me. Why is that? Do you think I’m ugly or something?”
I smiled. “No, you’re not ugly.” This was a true sentiment. She was far from being unattractive. Beautiful brown eyes, high cheekbones belying a Native American heritage, long dark hair that I’d always wanted to run my fingers through. Lips, thin and moist, from her adorable habit of licking them nearly every time she spoke to me.

“You’re beautiful. You’ve always been that way.”
“Then why is this the first time you’re telling me?”
“Maybe we shouldn’t be talking about this here.” I looked up at her boyfriend’s workplace. He would be coming out soon. 
“You’re right. We shouldn’t.”
She started the truck. 
“What are you doing?” 
“We’re going someplace else.”
“You’re going to leave him here stranded?”
She seemed to think about it for a moment, then turned the engine off. She reached across me, her hand brushing against my leg on its way to the glove box. She opened the box, pulled out a sticky notepad and jotted something on it. She tore the little note off and stuck it to the steering wheel. Then she opened up her door and danced out into the rain. 
I took a quick look at the note. It read, “You never kissed me in the rain.”
I opened up the passenger door and stepped out into evening shower.
2017 Paul D Aronson. 

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Orchard House Part 57: I’m Going To Miss This

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

Okay, here we go with the second part for today. As the name implies, I am going to miss sharing this story with you everyday. I hope you have enjoyed  sharing in the adventure and what I have been trying to do with putting this tale out there like this. We are not at the end yet, but I just want to say thanks for taking the journey with me. I really have appreciated the company. 🙂

Okay, here’s today’s second part ….

Part 57: I’m Going To Miss This

After the Ashley incident, I did give considerable thought to calling Eric and blessing him out for sending her my way. Of course, it was my fault I gave him a clue to where I was last time I talked to him, but I didn’t think he would tell her. If anything, I thought he’d look it up on the internet and come track me down himself. Still, I did need to call him about something. And when I told Summer about it, she gave her approval.“If both my mother and I could find it in our hearts to forgive my father,” she said, “then I think you should forgive your brother.”

She was right. There was no sense holding grudges. So what he had talked to Ashley after she ditched me on that failed wedding day. So what he didn’t understand my grief at losing our parents when he was always a self-supporting guy, never relying on them for anything. So what he always seemed competitive with everything I ever wanted…it was all trivial, and forgiveness was far better for the soul and beneficial to the heart than bitter resentment.

I turned on my phone, while Summer went up to her room in search of hers, too. We hadn’t turned them on or used them for quite some time. Proof you don’t really need a cell when you’re alone in an isolated farmhouse with the one you love. I had several messages, but none were from him: apartment rent was due; a publisher returning my call and sounding so unenthusiastic I figured it was a rejection of sorts; a public service call asking for my support on the next local election. I dialed Eric’s number and waited for him to pick up. When he answered, I hesitated, but after a second I said hello and got down to business. Neither of us mentioned Ash.

When Summer came back down she declared that she also had several pesky calls waiting on her phone. One was from an ex she left behind.

“Today must be old lovers awareness day or something,” she said.

I laughed. “Want me to punch him in the nose?”

“Nah, I need the practice.”

“You could always invite him to the wedding.”

“Ha! No way. And you better not invite the wench either.”

I shook my head. “No worries there, baby. Though she could probably use a lesson on what is expected of brides on their wedding day.”

“Well Matthew, you don’t have to worry about this bride. I’ll be there.”

“Good.” I kissed her on her cheek. “Have you decided when?”

“Not really. I guess I’m ready when you are. We just need time to put the wedding together. I don’t even have a dress. Mom wasn’t exactly my size, and I think she sold hers to a consignment shop anyway. There’s a lot to think about though. Decorations, caterers, who’s going to be in the wedding party, hiring a preacher to do the deed, all sorts of details. It’s mind boggling to think about.”

“As long as it doesn’t boggle you so much you want to cancel.”

“No Matty, it’s not like that. It’s just a lot of things that have to be taken care of. We have to go to a courthouse and get us a license too.”

I shook my head. Leave it to her to think of all those things. I just wanted to marry the woman. I didn’t care about all the details, as long as she said “I do.” Finally I just smiled and kissed her. “Okay, we’ll try to get all we need first, and then we’ll plan on the big day.”

She put her arms around me and kissed me back. “I can’t wait.”

“Me either,“ I replied, thinking of Summer in a white wedding dress walking down the church aisle towards me in front of God and everybody. But for now, I had to be content just to watch her walk through the house.

In the kitchen she opened up the refrigerator. “We’re going to need to go to the store if we are going to have anything for lunch and dinner.”

“Well, I thought for our last evening here we could go out and have our first date as almost marrieds.”

“I like the sound of that,” she replied. “Though I can do without the almost part.”

“Me, too. But it won’t be long.”

“We should go to the store and see if they have anything we can have for our lunch.”

I nodded, knowing. “You want to tell her, don’t you?”

There was no need in hiding it, so she grinned. “Hey, I’m engaged to be married. A girl has to tell somebody.”

I smiled.

“What?” she asked.

“You make me so happy, Summer. No one could ever make me happier.”

“You make me happy too, Matty.”

“Thanks for giving me closure.”

She held up her hand, which was still a little red from meeting Ashley’s face. “My pleasure.”

“Not just that. The real closure came the moment you said you’d marry me.”

“I’m glad,“ she replied. “But I didn’t say it to give you closure. I said it because I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

I smiled and kissed her. “Well then…let’s go tell somebody.”

The smile that spread across her face was adorable. She jumped up and down excitedly as if she were a young girl getting ready to get her nails done for the first time. “Yes, let’s!”

The walk down the long path through the orchard reminded me of our first days here, when we were strangers becoming friends, secretly longing to be more. To look back on it, I had to smile. How Helen knew we would hit it off and become a couple was beyond me. Maybe after years of seeing people come and go from Orchard House, she had developed a knack for the ones that would explode into the grandest of loves. Perhaps she just knew from experience and family history, the effect the house had on others, lost and lonely wandering through this world. Either way, I felt like if this had been a fairy tale, she would have been the Godmother with the magic wand waving it over our heads and sprinkling our lives with wish making dust.

We didn’t take a straight path to the store, but instead wandered down the paths and rows of the orchard, which was huge and encompassed many acres. We had walked its paths before, even streaked them in the late night hour, but had never covered the entire area. We had seen the small cottage home of Hope and Gunboats far across the orchard next to the woods, and we wondered if anyone else lived, or had once lived, in other close proximities to the house. The question was answered as we followed a rutted trail within view of the store and down an embankment into a small valley, where a stream ran through. This stream diverted into different directions, mostly back into the orchard where it fed the pumps that provided moisture to the apples and peaches. Beyond the stream, and now out of sight of the store, we saw an old cottage. It may have once been a home not unlike Hope’s and Gunboat’s, but now it had fallen into disrepair. The front porch was leaning, windows had gaps between their frame and glass, and it needed a new paint job, its once white color now falling off in flecks revealing a dingy gray underneath. On the back side, there were remnants of a small greenhouse, maybe once capable of growing fruits and vegetables, but now fallen into disuse as well. The place was not a complete loss, but it was obvious no one had lived here for many years. Perhaps the diversion of the creek had made the ground a little too moist for habitation, or maybe a better house had been built to accommodate its original tenants. Had other members of this apple growing family lived here or was this the spot in which the country store had first started, far off the beaten track and doomed to failure if a better place wasn’t built closer to the road?

As we moved away from the house and went back up the embankment to rejoin the orchard, it made me sad that the history of this place would soon be lost. All the lives through the years who had been affected by the solitude and magic of Orchard House, now to fade untold with time. How many had stayed or lived here on these acres, falling in love, and taken that rarest of loves back with them into the world? Maybe that was the purpose of Orchard House – to instill in its visitors the healing power of love, taking broken lives, or at least those that were unfulfilled, and inspiring them to love beyond even their wildest hopes. If that was the case, then it was a shame it would do so no more with the closing of the best bed and breakfast ever.

Summer sensed I was deep in thought and squeezed my hand. “You okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m just lost in thought again.”

“By the look on your face, it seemed to be sad ones.”

“I’m just going to miss it is all.”

“Me too,” she replied, looking back at the rundown house we had just left. “I wish we had a place here, so we could stay. I think I’m going to miss this much more than I thought. No wonder Earl came back to this area.”

“We could try and see if there’s any places for rent nearby,” I suggested.

“That would be awesome, but I imagine most people in these parts are about selling, instead of renting. And correct if I’m wrong, but I don’t think either of us have the money to buy right now.”

“No, you’re correct,“ I replied sadly.

She stopped me and put her arms around my neck. “Hey, I don’t need a lot of money or things, Matthew. I’d be happy living with you anywhere.”

“Really?”

“Very really,” she replied with a soft kiss.

I hoped she was right in that or otherwise I was going to be a big disappointment as a husband. I had never been very ambitious, even in college. While everyone else aspired and persevered to make something of themselves, I was dreaming away interviewing local bands and following the national music scene like the biggest nerd ever. And back then nerds weren’t cool at all. I guess it was lucky for me that Summer loved them.

“Well,“ I sighed, as we resumed our walk across the orchard to the store, “no matter what, we can take all this with us.”

“What do you mean?”

“All the memories we have made here. No matter what road we may be on, they will be following right behind.”

She smiled. “I like that, poet boy. Every minute here is a memory made.”

“And what memories they are,“ I replied.

She slyly flashed me a smile. “We can make more…”

“I look forward to it.”

Part 58: Thanking Helen

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

In The Comfort Of Gathering Storms

We watched the gathering storms

From the safety of a bed of no pain

As the clouds moved across a darkening sky

We smiled at the coming rain
Reggae music wafted high in the air

Marley singing “No woman no cry”

And we fell in love all over again

In the blinking of a lover’s eye
I touched her bare caramel skin

her rain kissed lips touched my own

And in the comfort of the gathering storms

We made love our only home

Orchard House Part 39: Apple Festival

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

Part 39: Apple Festival

Stepping outside, we noticed there were now more people in the orchard. The afternoon seemed to have brought out the pickers. Cars and trucks were parked at the side of the path that led to the country store and it looked like the whole community had come out for the fun. Deciding to get us a drink from the store and find out just what was going on, we headed down the path. Passing by families, couples, and even the fortune teller from the day before, everyone seemed friendly. For a moment I got the impression everyone we passed by knew who we were. Being a small community I could understand the familiarity, but it made me feel a little strange, as if suddenly we were a couple on display for everyone’s consideration. Any minute I expected people to start holding up placards with scores on them. Summer must have felt it too, as she clutched my hand and whispered, “Maybe you should have dressed me in a monk’s robe.”

I laughed. “You’d still look hot.”

We didn’t see any of the migrant workers out. They must have been given the day off, but there were still plenty of people in the orchard, going up and down the rows in groups trying to find the best apples. Smaller groups of children ran and played, and as we passed by a pickup at the side of the trail we noticed someone had set up a rocker in the bed. An elderly gentleman was rocking back and forth with a smile on his face.

“So, this is what they do for weekend entertainment,” I suggested.

A group of teenagers were going by and must have heard me. “No,” one of them said, a girl of about sixteen with hair the color of sunshine. “That’s tonight. The street party.”

“Street party?”

“Yeah, they block off the road on that far end for live music and stuff.”

“Cool,” Summer said. “What kind of music?”

“Blues, country, southern rock.” The girl’s friendly smile turned into a proud beam. “My boyfriend’s band is playing. “

“Where do they set up and play?” I asked.

“Right up there in front of that house.”

She was pointing up at Orchard House.

The country store was packed. if we thought we were going to hear the rest of Helen’s story today, it didn’t look like it was going to be happening. We managed to maneuver our way to the cold case and grab us some crème soda and root beer. We held hands the whole way, not because we wanted to show our affection, but so we wouldn’t lose each other in the crowd. As I reached into the cold case, something caught me by surprise. Jackson, the dog from Orchard House, was lying right beside it, probably cooling off from the outdoor heat.

“Well, hey there buddy,” I said, reaching down to pat his head. He rolled over so I could rub his belly too. As Summer leaned over to pet him, a squealing voice from the back of the store announced a fresh batch of lemonade was made. Peering through the crowd, I could see Twyla at her table, standing on a wooden crate like a barker at an auction taking orders for her sugary concoction. She saw us both and waved excitedly. Throwing up our hands to wave back, we heard someone come up behind us. Stepping out of the way to let them pass, we noticed it was Raymond, carrying a basket of golden apples. He smiled, recognizing us.

“Well hey, there you are,” he said. “We was wondering if you’d come out for the apple festival.”

“Ah, so this is what is going on.”

“Yep. Have it every year. Everybody loves it, as you can see. Helen’s over there somewhere if you want to holler at her.”

He moved off, continuing with his business, and from the looks of things he definitely was having a busy day. I heard a loud noise outside. Summer pointed to a huge tractor that had just started up. An open flatbed covered with hay was hitched to the back and kids were climbing on as it started to pull off into the orchard. We moved towards the front counter to pay for our drinks. I don’t think either one of us did well with crowds. We just wanted to get to some wide open place again.

We had to wait about ten minutes before we could set our drinks on the counter and pay for them. Helen looked up from her register and the smile that crossed her face threatened to light up the whole room.

“Well, there’s my favorite couple,” she announced.

“Yes, here we are,” I replied, a proud smile on my face as Summer held my hand.

Helen raised an eyebrow and grinned. “Ah, so finally you believe me! Ready to admit what your hearts can’t deny.”

Summer smiled. “Yes, we’re guilty.” She glanced at me and then added, “Big time guilty.”

Helen clapped her hands in delight. It didn’t take much to figure out what had occurred between Summer and I. Even the blazing sun can’t make people glow like that. “Isn’t orchard House wonderful?” the woman exclaimed. She gave us both a wink. “I fell for my Raymond up there myself.”

I got out my money as she rang up the sodas. “That reminds me,” I said, handing her a couple of dollars. “We’re still due a continuation of the story from the other day.”

“I would really love to tell it, but it’s crammed busy today. And we are closed on Sunday. Maybe Monday if you want to stop by.”

“Well actually, I wanted to ask you something.”

She handed me my change. “Ask away.”

“I don’t think I told you, but I’m a writer and I was coming up here to get away and write a book, but I couldn’t quite figure what to write about in the beginning. So I was wondering if you would mind if I wrote about Hope and Gunboats?”

“That’s awful flattering. Never thought their story was book material, but maybe there’s some folks like to read that kind of thing after all.”

“Is that okay?”

“Well son, I’m really not the one to be asking.”

Oh,” I replied. “I just thought since they were your parents, you were the one to give me the okay.”

“I could, but you should just ask them yourself.”

“Ask them myself?”

“Yeah, they live on the other side of the orchard. You can’t see their place because of all the trees, but they got a little house over there. The old home place got too big for just them.”

“I’m sorry, I thought they were deceased being their story took place during the war and all. And you said the ring came back to her before the body did. “

She laughed. “You liked that, did you? Maybe I should be a writer too?”

I smiled. “Yes, maybe you should.”

I opened my soda and took a sip. “You want to call and tell them to expect me?”

“No phones on that side of the field. Just walk on over. I’m sure they would love to meet another orchard couple.”

“Cool. Okay, we’ll do that.”

Helen looked at Summer. “Your outfit is so cute. You’re the prettiest flower in the wild.”

“Thank you, Helen, but he dressed me.”

“Oh well! I can almost hear the bells then.” She grinned. “Let’s see you deny that, young man…”

Heading out of the country store, we ran into Raymond again. He was taking what was probably a much deserved break. Sitting in a wooden chair out front, he was enjoying some of Twyla’s lemonade and nodding to customers who crossed his line of sight. He saw us and smiled. “Hey, you folks going to the party tonight?”

“Well, I guess so since it’s in front of the house.”

Summer nudged me and I realized it came off sounding a bit rude.

“But I’m sure it’s going to be fun,” I added.

“Yes sir, it is. I was thinking we probably forgot to mention it to ya. We get so excited about the Apple festival it slipped our minds someone would be staying there. Hope the loud music don’t bother you. It’s a little ways from the house, down the hill out front right before it meets the road. There’s a little amphitheater we made, got about ten long benches in front of a little stage. We first built it for family get-togethers, but then the street party idea came along.” He smiled. “Now people just stand out in the road and dance. It’s quite a sight.”

“I bet it is. Sounds like a little bit of the city coming to the country.”

“Well, that’s about as city as we get,” he said with a laugh.

“Good. I was trying to get away from the city myself.”

“Don’t blame you none.” He got up and stretched his legs. “I guess we’ll see you there then?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.”

The big tractor came pulling into the parking lot again. It was now empty except for the hay. As soon as it stopped more people came out from the store and got on. I turned to Summer. “Want to hitch a ride home?”

She looked at the truck bed. “Yeah sure. Why not?”

We jumped on board with the rest of them, and as the tractor pulled off to head up the Orchard path, I put my arm around her. She leaned against me with a happy contented sigh. If you had told me on Monday I would be riding on the back of a truck bed in an apple orchard with a beautiful country girl, I would have laughed at you. I guess it just goes to show that when you’re out of your element, expect the unexpected.

When the tractor got close to the house, we bailed out. We landed on our feet, sodas still intact, despite the fact the tractor hadn’t stopped. Some of the other riders cheered and clapped at the two romantic daredevils, and in a gesture of complete silliness I curtsied and Summer bowed.

“So, want to go see Hope and Gunboats?” I asked.

“Are you kidding? Of course I do. I loved Helen’s story. It’s killing me to know what happened.”

“Let’s go see then. She said it was on the other side of the orchard. I figure we’ll just walk in a straight line from our place and hopefully we’ll get there.”

“Sounds like a plan, Matty. Ready when you are.”

So we headed across the orchard, down the rows and past all the pickers who were still filling up their baskets and bags. Eventually, we left them behind as we headed into a part of the orchard I remembered from our streaking event the night before. We jumped over a ditch and I remembered chasing after Summer’s naked frame in the dark.

“I just thought of something,” I said. “What if last night we streaked right past their house in the dark?”

“Oh my god, I hope not,” she replied with a red blush to her cheeks.

It was the cutest thing ever.

Part 40: Gunboat’s Tale

“Orchard House And The heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Orchard House Part 34: Sharp Top

New to Orchard House? click the link below to go to the table of contents. Hope you have a pleasant stay.

Orchard House: Daily Serial Novel

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Part 34: Sharp Top

If the clearing had been a place to rest before the hard climb, then our kisses must have been the batteries to recharge us. The rest of the hike took close to two hours and we pushed ourselves to the limit to achieve the rocky summit. As brush and dirt slowly turned to rocks and bare leafless trees, the trail wound us up and around outcroppings that in older days must have been hard to navigate without the clear marked trail we had. As we reached the top, we noticed just how popular a spot this was. Varied groups of people had also made the hike and were milled about on the rocks enjoying a 360 degree view of the valley below. Kids jumped from rock to rock in a carefree exploration that could never be achieved behind a video game console. Couples leaned on each other sharing quiet reflective moments, filled with a sense of wonder about the world around them and how the open skies were truly the limit, not only here on this mountaintop, but for the rest of their lives. An elderly couple, whom I found hard to believe to have made the hike, sat on a bench outside an old weather worn cabin that had been built ages ago among the huge rock outcroppings. A peek inside showed us it was empty except for an open fireplace. The elderly man spoke up. “It’s a good place to get out of the wind and rain when it picks up.”

“Yeah, I imagine. How long did it take you to make the hike?”

“Oh, I don’t know. “ He looked over at his wife. “What do you think, Hon? About an hour?”

“Yes,“ she said, smiling at us both. “Thereabouts, I guess.”

I looked at Summer with a shocked look. Here it had taken us three hours and they had made it in one.

“Of course twenty minutes of that was on the bus,” the man added.

“Bus?”

“Yeah, go down that little trail right there and it’s a bus stop. Last one leaves out right before sunset though, so if ya’ll are here for that, I’m afraid you’ll just have to roll down the hill on your own.”

“A bus,“ I said to Summer. “Now, why didn’t we think of that?”

“It’s still a little walk from here,“ the elderly missus told us. “Bus has to stop when it starts getting rocky. But it does save some wear on the feet.”

“This is his first hike in a while,” Summer replied.

“Oh me. Well then, you better take care of this fellow tonight. He won’t be good for nothing else after this mountain is through with him.”

“Oh Ma, leave them alone,“ her husband playfully admonished. “They look like a right perfect couple.”

A right perfect couple. I looked at Summer and she smiled at me. I could see it in her eyes, the want. Like me, that’s what she wanted out of life – to be part of something right, something perfect. Something we had never found with anyone else before. And yet here on this rocky mountaintop in front of this elderly couple who had shared years and years of sunsets, it somehow dawned on us – we were no longer two people walking through life alone and miserable. We were a couple stepping bravely into the unknown, knowing it was right, and that our companion was the most perfect one the heavens could ever have placed here for us.

What was left of the afternoon we spent among the rocks of Sharp Top. Sitting on top of a huge flat boulder resting between two others rocks of even larger size, we felt the wind and sun on our faces. Her head leaning on my shoulder with my arm protective around her, we sat in silence, comforted in the closeness of each other and the sheer wastefulness of the day. Other visitors also enjoyed the day, yet kept their distance from us, maybe realizing this was something special at work, a tender relationship developing before their eyes and they didn’t want to hinder its growth. As the day grew later, people began to wind back down the mountainside, either the way they had come or down the smaller trail to catch the bus. As the sun began its slow descent and the colors of the clouds began to change, we found ourselves with a slight sunburn from being outside all day. But it wasn’t the heat of the burn that warmed us from the inside out; it was knowing that we had each other to share this beautiful day with. As she rested against me, I found myself wishing that somehow we could have just as many sunsets together as the elderly couple sitting outside the cabin.

It was this thought – the prospect of other sunsets – that got me to thinking about the future and what would come after these days at Orchard House. “Summer,” I asked. “Do you really think I should pick up writing again?”

She smiled. “Yes I do. I think it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but for some reason you set it down and never picked it back up. It’s in your blood though. You just need something or someone to get your writing blood pumping again.”

“I’ve never had anyone to push me to do anything. No one really encouraged me to keep writing.”

“Ashley?” she asked.

“No, she just had the attitude of do what you want as long as it doesn’t affect what I want.” I sighed. “She never really cared what I wrote.”

“That’s sad.”

“That’s why when I was into the poetry thing I never wrote her anything.”

“Nobody ever wrote me anything either.”

I smiled. Looking at her now in the late afternoon sun, I could write volumes of it.

Summer patted my hand. “You really should write, Matthew. Your description of our kiss was amazing.”

“Our kiss was amazing.”

“Yes it was.”

“I hope there’s many more,” I ventured.

Her smile said it all. “Me too.”

We sat there a few more minutes on our rocky perch in silence. It was so peaceful. Even more so that the sun was dipping. We watched the last remaining families make their way to the paths and for a moment I thought I heard the bus straining its way up the mountain. “Want to stay and watch the sunset? Or do you want to catch the last bus down?”

She leaned closer to me. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to stay. I really want to see the sunset with you. “

“I want to see it with you, too.”

“If your legs are too tired to make the hike down though..”

“I’m okay. You can just roll me down the trail like a spare tire.”

She laughed. “As long as I don’t have to change you.”

“You already have.”

“You have changed me too, Matthew.”

“So, what’s next for you?”

“What do you mean?”

“After you finish up all your mom’s affairs. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know really. All my life I have worked in restaurants or retail. It’s really all I know to do, and yet I don’t want to do it anymore. “

“What would be your ideal job then?”

A wistful look came across her face. “I’d love to work in a nursery.”

“Kids?”

She laughed. “No. flowers.”

“Cool.”

“Yeah, I love flowers and gardening. It’s so relaxing. I picked it up from my mom. She always had a wonderful garden, and as a kid I helped her a lot. Maybe in that sense, I can hang onto a little piece of her through gardening, you know?”

“Yeah, I know,” I agreed. “I kind of did the opposite with writing. When my folks died, I quit writing. It reminded me of them, how they had encouraged me and were proud of me. It’s just when I pick up a pen now I think of them and it bums me out.”

“Well, why don’t you write a story for them? I mean, you could write about Hope and Gunboats there at Orchard House, but you could also write it for your parents, too.”

“I guess it’s worth a shot. Hey look at that…” I pointed at the sky. It was really changing colors now. Clouds were streaked with orange as they sailed across the sky; a sky that was now shifting from orange to burgundy.

“It’s beautiful,” Summer said.

“Yeah. It reminds me of a poem.”

“Really?”

I looked down into her face, daring to look at her dark eyes, now reflecting the colors of cloud and sky back at me. I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them up again, Summer was staring into my face, perhaps watching my eyes reflect the wondrous sunset too. In that moment, the words finally came easy for me.

“If we could stay here forever,

Under the shimmering velvet sky

To run my fingers through your chestnut hair

And never say goodbye;

We could watch the colors swirl

At the closing of the day

From the clouds above the mountaintops

To where we softly lay

Your face turned upwards to the light

The sun catches your dark eyes

Oh, if we could only stay here forever

Under the shimmering velvet sky.”

She was silent for a moment, but a certain glow had come across her face. “Wow,” she said. “That was beautiful. Who wrote it?”

“I just did.”

She smiled. “For me?”

“For you. The poem no one had written you before.”

“Matthew.”

“Yes?”

“I…” she hesitated. There was the beginning of a tear in her eye and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. I could tell she was struggling with what to say, until finally the words she mustered were a simple “thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, and though I felt there was more both of us wanted to say in this moment, we just let the echo of the poem speak what we felt, as we held each other and watched the sun dip and disappear on the far horizon.

Part 35: Kiss And Drive

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.

Orchard House Part 28: What If’s

Before we begin with today’s post, I want to thank you for following and reading this little novel of mine in this ongoing daily format. If you are new to the story or just need to play catch up, click on the link below to go to the Orchard House main page. There you will find a table of contents that will allow you to go back to the beginning, or any previous part in the story. Keep in mind , each part is 2000 words or less, allowing you to read as time and schedule allows. Again, thank you for visiting Orchard House. I hope you will enjoy your stay.

Orchard House Main Page

Part 28: What If’s

There are many things that go unspoken by new couples. Perhaps they just assume the other knows how they feel, and so they don’t take the moment to confess their fears and worries about the relationship. But in my mind later that night, I pondered if the relationship would even survive past tomorrow. Summer had retired to her room and the sleep she said she needed for whatever tomorrow would bring. I knew she meant the fact that she would be leaving, even though she hadn’t quite told me so.

After our dance and night of kissing, the bed I lay in seemed very lonely. You don’t think of these things much when you have no one. It isn’t until the experience of that first kiss, that first taste of longing and desire, does the bed reveal itself as empty. I lay there wondering what it would be like to sleep at Summer’s side, to feel her breathing form resting against me, to watch her peaceful countenance as she slept and sweetly dreamed. To see her smile in her sleep would be one of life’s greatest pleasures, I imagined.

When sleep did come, it was at first filled with pleasant dreams of the orchard, blues music in the night, and Summer’s sweet peach kisses on my lips, but soon they turned to more dreadful things, such as packed bags, sad goodbyes, and the disappearing tail lights of her car as she went back home.

I awoke to the sound of my phone ringing. It roused me up from sleep like someone screaming in my ear. I checked my cell to see who was calling. It was my brother. I didn’t answer it. I still wasn’t ready to talk to him. I had bigger worries now that I was awake. I looked out my bedroom to the driveway. Summer’s car was still there. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Getting dressed, I feared what I would find once I walked out the room. With just the slightest hesitation, I made my way out into the hall. I glanced up the stairs and noticed Summer’s bedroom door was open. I went around the hallway and to the living room. Looking to my right into the kitchen, I saw her bags sitting by the backdoor and my face fell.

“Matthew,” I heard her say, and I walked towards the sound of her voice. She was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. “I have to talk to you.”

I didn’t even bother with fixing myself any coffee. I was already wide awake and a bundle of wired nerves. I sat down across from her and looked into her face. It was evident she had been crying.

“You okay?” I asked.

“No, not really.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I have to go.”

I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but there was something on my mind I had to know. “What about last night?”

“It was beautiful,” she replied.

I nodded. “You don’t have to go. You can stay.”

“I only paid for three nights.”

“I’ll pay for the next four,” I suggested.

“I can’t let you do that.”

“Why not?”

She sighed heavily. “Matthew, I know you want to help, and being here with you has been so nice. I will always be grateful for how you helped me with my dad, and all the wonderful times we’ve had, but I have to go.”

“To tie up things with your mom’s estate?”

“Yes.”

“Can I come see you?”

She mustered a smile. “I would like that.”

“So would I. Summer, I don’t want you to go.”

“I know you don’t. And part of me doesn’t want to. But I have to just get away and clear my head for a while. Decide what to do.”

“About us?”

She hung her head and didn’t answer.

“What is wrong with us?”

“What?”

“You act like something is wrong with us. That we shouldn’t be here together or something.”

“Matthew, it isn’t like that. Please don’t make this any harder than it has to be.”

“It doesn’t have to be hard at all. Don’t you want to stay?”

She hesitated, and I could see her eyes starting to well up with tears again. “No,“ she said.

I couldn’t believe what I just heard, not after all we had been through together. “I see,” I stammered. “Well then..” I got up from the table. “I guess you better go then.”

“Yes,” she said with a slight tremble to her voice. “Matthew, please try to understand..”

“Oh, I understand,” I said, turning on her.

“No you don’t. I wish you could know the turmoil inside me.”

“You’re not the only one, Summer. I was in turmoil too before you came, but you brought me peace. You made me see things different, made me open my heart and take a chance. But now I feel you won’t take a chance.”

“I can’t,” she murmured. “I can’t take a chance only for you to get tired of me, or for you to go back to Ashley.”

“I don’t want Ashley. It will be a cold day in hell…”

“You say that now, but what about tomorrow?”

“Yeah, what about tomorrow? Better yet, what about today? Whatever happened with living day by day? You are making judgments against me before I have even done anything. You are just assuming one day I will do you wrong.”

“You will.”

“No,“ I said firmly. “I won’t.”

“How do you know you won’t?”

“How do you know I will?” I countered.

She had no answer for that, but still I could see there was nothing I could do. She was leaving whether I wanted her to stay or not.

“Look, Summer. Last night to me was the most beautiful thing I could ever have experienced, and you to me are the most amazing, beautiful woman I have ever met. And now, just when I’m getting to know you, to get close to you, you want to run.”

I stepped right up to her and put my hands lightly on her shoulders.

“When are you going to stop running? I’m not your father. I’m not any ex you may have had. I’m me, and though I know I’m not much, I am honest with you and I feel we have a shot at something amazing. Now if you want to go, then I can’t stop you. But know that as you do, you are leaving behind a man who is ready to throw all caution to the wind and leap into the unknown with you.”

“Why do you have to make this so difficult?”

“Because I am difficult,” I replied with a smile.

“Oh Matty,” she said, reaching for me. She wrapped her arms around me and clung to me tightly, resting her head on my shoulder. “I’m so scared.”

“I’m scared too,” I confessed.

“What if we don’t make it?”

“What if we do?”

“What if we grow tired of each other?”

“What if we don’t?”

“What if my baggage becomes too much to bear?”

“Then I will bear it with you.”

“What if…”

I took her head in my hands, my palms lying flat against her cheek and made her look into my eyes so there could be no mistaking me.

“Summer, stop the what ifs. Why are you trying to convince yourself things won’t work between us? Why can’t you just put a little trust and faith in what we have?”

“What do we have?”

“We have each other and all the possibilities for a wonderful forever together. If we both want it. Do you want it?”

She had tears streaming down her cheek. “Yes. Yes I want it.”

I took her back into my arms, kissing her forehead. “Then stay,” I said.

I could tell by how rigid her body was against me that she was torn. I knew she wanted to stay. But another part of her wanted to bolt. Just like she did in the orchard. If she bolted this time however, it would be in her car, and I didn’t think she would be returning at nightfall.

“Summer, I know, just from the past few days that we have a connection. Despite our different backgrounds, our age gap, and our past sorrows, we have something special. I know you can feel it. “

“Yes,” she whispered low.

“Look, you don’t have to leave right at this instant, do you? Even if you want to leave today , you don’t have to go immediately. Would you just stay a little longer?”

“I know what you’re trying to do. To prolong this and make it harder for me to go.”

“Yes I am,” I said.

“At least you are honest.”

“Yes. Would you go somewhere with me, Summer?”

She hesitated a moment, unsure of what I wanted from her.

“I saw something from the bedroom window when I got up and I’d like for us to check it out together. Who knows, maybe it will give us the answers to what troubles us both.”

She finally looked at me. “Okay I’ll bite. What is it?”

“A fortune teller.”

“Excuse me?”

I laughed at the expression on her face. “At the artist’s village. They are set up this morning. There’s a sign out there that says fortunes divined. So, let’s go get divined.”

At first she seemed like she was going to back down, but she relented. “Oh what can it hurt? Never had my fortune told.”

“Me neither. But I did get a crush on the fortune teller at the fair when I was fourteen.”

To this, she laughed. “I can almost imagine it,” she said.

I smiled and held out my hand. “Consider this your wild and spontaneous thing for today.”

Part 29: Fortunes And The Truth

“Orchard House & The Heart Of Everything” 2016 Paul D Aronson.