This story is by Pamela Jane Eastwood and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Friday the 29 July 2010. She felt excited but couldn’t put her finger on the reason why she felt this way. In her favourite khaki coloured tunic and white pedal pushers, Emma ambled lightly towards the entrance to the shopping mall. Then, something urged her to take a few paces towards the travel agents. She stopped in front of the colorful posters and realized that she was beside a handsome gentleman of slight build elegantly dressed. She felt an instant attraction to him as their eyes met and lingered in a gaze. She glanced at him as he too was looking at the posters.
– I’ve been there, there and there, she said to him pointing out the exotic destinations with her finger with an almost childish attitude.
– I’ve been to St. Petersburg too, he retorted.
They both ended up chatting for at least 20 minutes on the pavement.
– Are you in the medical corps ? she asked cheekily
– No, he replied, I’m a writer.
– What kind of books do you write ? she asked becoming quite fascinated by their meeting, slightly taken aback by her audacity.
– Short stories, he replied
Again quite innocently, she rambled on to say that she too had an idea for writing a book and went on to tell him the story that she’d been wanting to write for many years, but just didn’t have the gumption to follow up her idea.
He interrupted her for a moment and asked:
– What would your story be about?
– My story would be about a scarecrow that comes to life at night time. For many years fed up with having all the birds peck out his straw to make their nests, he too wanted to encounter his love.
– Not in my register at all, replied the gentleman solemnly
– Oh well, it’s just an idea, she said, maybe one day I’ll take the plunge and write it.
Their eyes met again. She felt butterflies in her stomach and maybe he too. At that moment they both felt a magnetic attraction they had never experienced previously. Time had come to a standstill with a magic touch. They both decided it was time to go their different ways. Just before that, they shook hands and introduced themselves.
– Dorian Langley, presenting a handshake, and a very firm one it was too.
– Emma Peruzzi, she said smiling at him.
With that they both disappeared into the crowds of the weekend shoppers not before having both looked over their shoulder for a last glimpse.
Emma hummed to herself on the way home in her car.
– What an interesting meeting… But how on earth am I going to find him again, if ever ?
Thankfully the social media would look after that. She logged in to her computer and started checking out his pedigree.
– Oh, there is a Wikipedia page for Dorian Langley, is that him?
She started reading…
– Hey, can’t believe it, he’s really well known!
Emma sighed as she sifted through all his details, the books he had written, not to mention the awards he had received.
– Very impressing, she mused.
Next step into audacity, Emma sent a friend request, explaining politely how they had met and if he didn’t find any inconvenience in becoming “friends”.
Four days past. Nothing.
– Oh dear, she sighed very disappointed.
On the fifth day:
– Yes! Dorian had accepted her invitation.
At this stage, she was able to communicate with him. Yes, she was already smitten. Their exchanges via Facebook were fascinating. They got to know each other a little bit more. Dorian confided in her explaining that he was finishing a novel and it was taking him more than a year to edit and then to publish. She told him that she understood and could only encourage him in his work. Emma explained that she had an assignment for three weeks, in the south of France, to look after an elderly lady who furthermore was a countess. She and her charge had to travel the very next day after her meeting with him. Keeping in touch with Dorian had become her priority.
Once in the beautiful town of Grasse, up the side of a mountain looking after an elderly countess, she related her daily exploits to Dorian. She found it very hard working for the countess. The beautiful villa was perched on a mountain just beneath Grasse. There was a gate to the entrance that opened and closed with a remote control. Once in the grounds, that was it! You couldn’t walk anywhere as the land was too steep. Emma would therefore spend her days looking after the countess as best as she could. So she took pride in cooking pleasant meals, encouraging the ninety three years old lady to swim and go for small walks in the grounds, she loved to smell the Jasmine so typical to this part of France. She even learned how to play cards much to the joy of her charge. At night time, when everything was quiet and the countess asleep, Emma would walk to the top of the house and sit outside on one of the garden loungers. From where she sat, she could see Cannes bay. She could almost hear the buzz of the discotheques over and above the sound of the cicadas and see the fireworks over the waters at that distance. Loneliness invaded her. She would think of Dorian and her heart pined to be able to share this with him. She thought to herself :
– How lovely and inspiring it would be for him and his writing.
She had to chase those thoughts from her mind and content herself with star gazing. Once in her little bed in the prettily sunflower themed bedroom, she imagined clasping Dorian’s hand in hers, actually squeezing it and strangely it reassured her, as she’d drift off to sleep, perchance to dream of the eventual meeting with him.
Several days passed, Emma had written to Dorian telling him how she had seen shooting stars that night. The next day he replied and complimented her on her writing skills :
– You should write more, he added.
She took this as a great compliment. The days passed on her mountain as she quoted to Dorian, she went on to telling him that she hoped for a free day off so she could visit the exquisite Lerins Islands. She added that she was a mermaid and that going to the sea was vital to her. He seemed fascinated and replied:
– Well, this is the first time that I have had exchanges with a mermaid! Naturally, she developed the “mermaid” theme much to his amusement. He was able to reminisce as she related her visit to Antibes that he had visited with his parents and brother as a young boy.
At last, it was time to return home with the possibility of meeting one another. As she flew over the Pyrenees mountains, her heart fluttered at the thought of meeting him again, but then she sighed to herself as they flew into the marshmallow clouds. August turned into September. The mornings were becoming crisp and chilly. The trees that were dressed in green slowly to become a flamboyant array of gold, reds, oranges, tarnished copper. There was no end to the color schemes that decorated the trees, only to fall one by one in crisp brown curls strewn along the streets and foot paths. Emma took joy in harvesting the apples, chestnuts and blackberries from her orchard. She made crumbles, jams and tartes with the harvest. In the meantime, Emma waited and waited. Dorian had contacted her to excuse himself as he was finishing a novel, it was taking more time than expected for the corrections and editing.
Later, that week, a date was fixed. A quaint café was chosen and Emma sat as she waited for his arrival. Shily, he came towards the quiet booth table. She felt excitement, almost pain in the pit of her stomach. A sexual frenzy invaded her every being. She felt deliciously in love. She had, over the previous weeks, fantasized about their meeting up, imagining nestling into his hair and taking his hands in hers. Both completely oblivious to their surroundings, chatted for hours, held hands and embraced each other. A long languorous kiss that had them both trapped in a inextricable love zone. The “nestling into his hair” didn’t take part, but that was not going to affect the rest of their love story.