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Friendship Sad Romance

“Marie-Eve, is it true? What I heard.”

Marie-Eve sincerely hoped it was not true, and also that her sister has not got a whiff of the news yet. But something told her that unbridled optimism was not the word she could employ in describing her current family situation. She forced a wry smile and meekly said, “We are trying to make him see reason.”

Her sister Stephanie said, “Of course! Of course! Once in a while a fling is fine. But giving up the long-standing traditions of the family is no joke.”

Marie-Eve looked on with a deadpan expression. She was trying to find something optimistic to say, to her sister and more importantly to herself. But Cedric’s tone during dinner last night was serious and caustic.

Stephanie jerked her, “Marie-Eve! Marie-Eve! What are you thinking? Let’s go. Everyone is waiting. We will broach the subject with Cedric after the party. Don’t fret.”

David was finishing setting up the table. The celebrations were that of his 70th birthday. David knew Marie-Eve wanted the day to be special and had gone to great lengths to plan this day in advance so the extended family from both sides could be present. Harris, David’s elder brother and his wife from the South of France had come as the guests of honour and it was a reunion between the two brothers after a whopping five years.

Cedric’s recent announcement to leave the business was playing on David’s mind too, but neither was he the type to be emotionally swayed easily nor did he think Cedric beyond redemption. Not yet.

As the guests trickled in, David and Marie-Eve were forced to turn their attention to deal with the activities of the evening. 

The family wasn’t exactly rich, but they weren’t poor either. Vegetables and chicken from their own farm turned into delicious eatables in the deft hands of Marie-Eve. In a way, she was the perfect wife, perfect mother and the perfect business owner. David met her at a wedding 50 years ago, went on to court and marry her with blessings from their parents, and built a family together with three sons, Cedric, Jean and Pierre. Pierre, the youngest, showed studious traits since his childhood, something not abundant in the rest of the family members. Jean had trained to become a mechanic. Cedric, the eldest, was the heir to his father’s farm, just like Harris, had been to his. David had moved North, to Lille, and started his own farm close to Marie-Eve’s family house, though at the time of the move David’s parents were not sure why their son wanted to trade the Southern sun with the Northern winds.

Harris had been bequeathed the family winery and brought several bottles of his best ones as a reunion gift. Needless to say, drinks flowed in abundance and loosened the tongues of all present, not to the best outcomes, however. Harris, in an attempt to covertly boast of his business acumen, opened a conversational can of words which he was too drunk to realize at the time.

“Cedric, what plans do you have for your father’s farm?”

Cedric look startled and a bit irritated. Why did his parents have to tell anyone of his plans to not continue working at the family farm?

“Legally speaking, the farm belongs to my mother”, he replied sourly.

“Ah ah! Well, your mother’s farm then. Surely you have some plans.”

“I don’t. I don’t intend to take on the operations of the farm.”

The air stood still with silence, hoping someone will dissipate the tension palpable in that declaration. Cedric, being the dutiful son he was, had no intention to ruin his father’s birthday.

“But of course, I am open to helping modernize the things around here.”

“Ah ah. Cedric has become better at joking. When I saw him last, he was a shy and grumpy kid.”

Cedric was generally the calm and measured type, but he had a little too much of the claret already and wasn’t in a mood to back down. Before anyone could intervene, he blurted out, “I am not going to take over the farm. I am going to Japan next week.”

A few gasps preceded the silence of the night air.

“What do you mean, son?”

Cedric lowered his gaze. He never had the intention to break the news of his forthcoming foreign travel to his aged parents in this manner. He was a private person. A public show off was not his cup of tea, especially when it meant far-flung relatives with not so weak memories.

“I am going to Japan. I booked the tickets.” Eric tried being terse.

“What? You booked tickets?”

“I did. It was necessary.”

“When will you be back?”

“I haven’t booked the return tickets yet. But if it helps soothe your nerves, the visa expires in six months.”

“Six months. Japan. And you didn’t bother to tell us. Japan is not next door.” David sounded disheartened.

Cedric was the shy and grumpy kid Harris accused him to be. And having online friends seemed to fill the void in his time and life. Marie-Eve knew Cedric had friends from all over the world, but she never bothered. She hadn’t envisioned this day. And now Cedric was taking off for Japan without notice. She felt she should have checked on him more often.

“Are you going to meet that girl?” Marie-Eve questioned.

“What girl?” David looked flustered. Cedric’s expression changed.

“Oui! I am going to meet that girl.”

“What’s so great about her? There are thousands of women in France. I don’t understand why you have to go to another country.”

“I am not going to answer that.”

“Ok. Tell me then why can’t she come to France? And what’s the huge rush that you book a ticket next week without bothering to tell us?”

“She is dying.”

“I hope she does. And you come back.”

“Maman, did you just say that?”

Marie-Eve faltered. In a moment of rage, she had blurted out something horrible. She was a nice woman, and Cedric inherited his kindness from her.

“Sorry Cedric. I did not mean to be rude. I don’t wish her ill. But I don’t want you to leave us.”

“This might be my only chance.”


“Wait.. Your friend is sick and you are visiting her? But you will come back?” David interjected between mother and son.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean by you don’t know? You have a family here. You have responsibilities. You have a business to take over.”

“Jean can have the farm. Isn’t that what happens if the eldest son is not capable? As for family and responsibilities, I agree. I will think what best I can do.”

“Your friend is not going to be sick at all times.”

“No. She isn’t going to be.” Cedric lowered his gaze towards the ground. He paused, trying to make peace with the fact that his long-time friend might not have a long time left.

“I might be in love with her.” Cedric’s voice was almost inaudible now, and held traces of soft sobbing. 

The clarification wasn’t necessary anymore at this point. Those present were not sure if they could explain to Cedric that giving up the certain oft-trodden path for chasing the fragile butterfly wings wasn’t prudent or convenient. But without the ephemeral iridescence, love rarely stays poetic.

November 25, 2020 16:35

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1 comment

Mou Sukoshi
05:00 Dec 03, 2020

Hii.. If you are reading the story.. pleeeease do leave your comments (even if you hate it :D).. I am new and want to improve my writing.


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