Friday, January 21, 2011

Notebook: Beneath Emerald Eaves

Another oldie of mine, originally written in 2009. I submitted it to the weekly reading at The Greater Canton Writers' Guild, of which I was a part of, and won some money for it. "Beneath Emerald Eaves" is a flash fiction piece about the beginning and the end of a relationship. I thought that people could enjoy it again and so, re-posted it here at my blog. Enjoy!

Beneath Emerald Eaves
By Blake Gabriel

I remember the day well, every detail frozen, crystal-clear in my memory. I was kneeling, not caring if the grass would stain my jeans; eyes focused on the bluejay perched in the highest branches of the tree. My camera clicked three times in rapid succession.

I rose to my feet and thoughts of the bird were banished by the sight of the woman before me. I never believed in "love at first sight," but if irony could have clubbed me over the head, it would have.

She was tall, maybe to my nose, and slender as a sapling, unbowed by age or the weight of care. She glided with a dancer’s grace, stepping from pedestrian to pedestrian. People that passed her did not walk away without a flyer pressed into their hands.

Dazed, I approached her slowly, afraid she would disappear as soon as I got closer, like a desert mirage. She spotted me and smiled sweetly. Twinkling blue eyes like starlight sparkled with delight as she pressed a neon green flyer into my hands.

“Hello, sir, I’m Kay Mackenzie and I represent the Central Park Preservation Society,” she said. "Did you know that an evil, money-grabbing corporation is pushing for the destruction of those trees?"
She pointed to a grove of weeping willows by the water’s edge.

“Um… No, I didn’t.” I didn’t know she was a hippie either, but her floral print dress and tie-dye wristband gave it away.

They were nice to look at, I’ll admit, but they were just trees. Despite her strange views, I felt drawn to her.

“Listen, Kay, right?” I paused to see if I had caught her attention. She was silent, waiting for me to speak, but her eyes were flitting around, searching for more people to win to her cause. “I’m interested in your study. Really. But I’d hear you better over a cup of coffee.”

Kay cocked an eyebrow at me.

“Was that some kind of lousy pick-up line?” I nodded with reluctance. She smiled with uncertainty. “Maybe. But I don’t even know your name and if I’m having coffee with you, I won’t be passing out flyers.”

“I’m Mark Wheely.” I stuck out my hand and she just sort of looked at it. I withdrew it.

“And if you give me a stack of those, I can give them to the people at the National Geographic.”

“Oh, you work for the Geographic?” Kay searched my eyes for any deception. She bit her bottom lip in thought. “Okay. As long as you promise.”

“I promise.” I’m pretty sure I sounded sincere.

“Okay, coffee sounds good.”
I remember the day, when beneath the emerald eaves, I met Kaylynn Mackenzie, who I had jokingly called the defender of Central Park. She didn’t like that, but she must have liked something about me.

We didn’t last though. Ironically, it was spring when the inevitable happened, right there in Central Park where we’d met.

I remember the day that cold spring, its details engraved in my soul. The sun had coldly decided to sleep in as its rays barely kissed the still starlit sky. Beneath emerald eaves, we rested in each other's arms.

It was one of those moments when you start thinking about your life, about the future. Two years from now, would I still be with Kay? Looking at her, biting her bottom lip and watching the sky with the avid attention of a five-year-old watching television, I was unsure.

“Kay? Where are we going with our relationship?”

That’s an odd question.” She pursed her lips and met me eye-to-eye. Her chocolate-brown hair framed her face like the curtains of leafy green swaying above us. “I thought it was the journey, not the destination that mattered.”

Kay looked hurt and confused. Sighing, I tried to hold her hands to comfort her but she pulled away.

“Kay, I need something concrete, not promises that could blow away with the wind. I need to know if we’re going somewhere. Are we?”

“I don’t know, Mark. The uncertainty was part of the fun.”

“Was?” My heart caught in my throat. Kay traced the horizon with her eyes.

She nodded sadly. “I’m sorry, Mark. If you can’t trust me not to ‘blow away with the wind,’ then I’m not sure if we should be together. Can you trust me?”

I realized the truth and though it killed my heart to say it, I knew I had to. “No, you’re right Kay. “

Kay stood up but rather than leaving she gently nudged my chin up to look me in the eye. She kissed my forehead.
“Mark, I want you to know, it was a wonderful experience. You’re a great guy and I know you’ll find the right girl someday.” A single tear rolled down her cheek.

“You too, Kay. I wish the best for you.” We embraced for the last time then she vanished, like a forest spirit of myth, into the trees.

Beneath those emerald eaves I had met Kay and lost her. I often wonder if perhaps I had said yes, she would have stayed. But doing so would have been lying, and she deserved better than that even if it meant losing her.

Though it wrenches my heart, I know it was for the best. We shared some blissful times but it was a love that never could be. But Kay was right in the end. It was never the destination that mattered, but the journey.

Beneath emerald eaves, I cradle the head of my fiancee, her golden brown locks cascading over my lap as she dreamed. She is beautiful and my heart races at the thought that I will spend the rest of my life with her. Silently, I thank Kay, wherever she was, whatever she was doing, for teaching me to appreciate simple beauty, beneath emerald eaves.

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