Jenna sauntered through the leafy woods heading for the river. Summer was in early days and the warm breeze was scented with lilac blossoms. She had found a perfect path, winding through the forest filled with budding trees.
Jenna and her dad had just moved into this rural town after the sudden death of her mother. She had been killed by a drunk driver last year.
They had decided that a new start in a different town might be best for them.
She now stood on the windy rock cliff, opening her arms to the panoramic view. White clouds scudded across a vast blue sky. Two eagles made a leisurely loop above the rushing river that sparkled in the morning sunlight.
She then noticed a small caravan by the maple trees. It was an old wooden one with a colorful awning that stretched out over the grass. Further on in the pasture, three horses grazed on the grass.
A couple of young boys played by the water. A puppy romped happily between them.
Jenna moved in closer and crouched beneath a sprawling cedar tree. She watched them play.
A young man about her age, pushed aside the curtained door of the caravan. He stepped into the sunshine and waved at the children.
He was beautiful.
Even from a distance Jenna could see his brown eyes. Long, black hair hung down his back in a thick braid.
Jenna's breath caught in her throat. She could feel her heart pounding on her chest. A warm flush creeped across her face.
She watched as he made his way easily down the stairs and called out to the children. They raced to his side and he gave them what looked like corn husk dolls. Then Jenna heard his laugh for the first time.
She sighed and could just imagine him, working by lamplight in the evening to create simple little toys while the young ones slept.
She crept closer each day and watched the camp, hidden by the trees.
One morning, an older woman appeared and began to cook over the fire. The children napped peacefully beneath the striped canopy, the dog between them.
The young man often sat on a log, sketching the mountains in the distance.
He's an artist, she thought wistfully.
Jenna found herself drawn to the caravan every morning that summer.
She would sit cross legged beneath the tree to observe this family.
The young man she now called Picasso was a joy to watch.
Jenna was fascinated with this unassuming, gentle artist.
Picasso's face was childlike in concentration as he thoughtfully sketched. His head would nod between the view and his pad. She was sure whatever he drew had to be magnificient..
Jenna took an apple from her bag and rubbed it on her jeans. She munched softly, almost hypnotized by this family, then tossed the apple core to a chattering chipmunk.
Every sunny day that summer, Jenna would follow the familiar path then sit quietly beneath the cedar tree.
She was in love for the first time.
One afternoon while she sat in her clandestine camp she suddenly realized what love really felt like. Every passage in every book that she had ever read about love made sense. The sappy love scenes in every movie, she now understood.
Just the sound of his voice, or better his laugh, would send warm chills down her back. She was so in love it was almost painful. Jenna was ready to embrace any emotion this wonderful love raised.
Picasso. With his beautiful face and lean body was a joy to watch, like art. She loved to watch him swim in the river. The sun cast him in a bronzed hue as he threw up tiny rainbows at the children.
Summer gave way to autumn and now Jenna walked down a path of scattered leaves. She whistled softly to the birds until she came upon the camp and gasped.
The caravan was gone!
She ran past the cedar trees to the the huge rock by the river.
It was as if they were never even here she thought. Even the fire pit was covered in sand. A cold wind blew across the river, casting the waves silver. A few red leaves swirled about her feet.
She heard, then found a white paper that fluttered with a soft purring sound. Pinned to the tree with a large porcupine quill was a drawing. A gift from Picasso. Her heart soared.
She carefully took the paper down and suddenly sobbed aloud.
It was a magnificient sketch of Jenna. She was sitting cross legged beneath the cedar tree. Her head leaning on her hand.
He had captured her perfectly.
Eyes shining with love and a shy smile upon her face.