The Blind Following the Blind Cow

Submitted into Contest #40 in response to: Write a story about one event from the different perspectives of multiple friends.... view prompt


Funny Romance

Evie: I don't want to say things got complicated.

Donald: She says that, but she's the one who wore the dress.

Evie: As if you wearing a dress could give me the flutters.

Donald met Evie. Her name wasn't Evie then, it was Miss Corning. You didn't straightaway go about calling people by their lovely nicknames in those days.

Evie: Those days? You act like we're a hundred years old.

Donald: Close enough.

She was also the daughter of a banker. Ulverus Corning. Which was definitely a daringly made-up name and sounded like someone choking on a long unchewed celery stick.

Evie: Are you going to keep changing the story?

Donald: Yes.

Mr. Kieran Hedding: Let him tell his side of the story, Evelyn.

Evie: It's Miss Corning.

Banker Corning was rich of course. But the most valuable thing he owned wasn't money. The most valuable thing he owned was a daughter. Evelyn Tiffany Corning was an angel who had grown curious about the proms they threw on Earth and the lipstick the girls wore when they grew older, so she had come down as a baby and now she is the pretty little thing here before you.

Evie: Mr. Hedding, he shouldn't tell you because he's not sensible.

Hedding: He's a born storyteller, so just let him tell me his way.

Donald: You see, I have to lie, it's the way I was born.

Hedding: That's not what I meant, Donald.

Saying someone is your true love is often an exaggeration, but when Donald saw Miss Corning at the Sunday picnic in a dress as yellow and perfect as a fully bloomed dandelion, he was unable to pronounce his feelings to be anything other. A man under a spell can not be charged with what he does next. It is not him who is in control of the strings.

Donald was led by this unseen hand—well, really he could see the lovely white hand trailing by her side like dandelion fluff—to sit enthralled at Miss Corning's feet the whole picnic, embarrassing himself publicly, and afterwards stalking her to her place of residence and noting down the address on his hand in black ink.

He knew quite well that these were terrible things to do, and that Miss Corning's father was a prominent social figure who had really grand ideas about his daughter's future, and also that his own dirty shrimp-like body was not worthy of anyone like her. But it definitely wasn't his choice to give his heart. He pulled it out and left the sad undernourished thing on her doorstep.

Donald waited for her that whole long night till he could walk her to school. Along the way, they chatted about everyday subjects. He walked her to school then for weeks and she called him 'her mutt'. He was worldly enough to know that meant she liked him.

Normally he'd have been content with the friendship they had. However, he was being driven like a horse-cart and he went where the feelings told him—rather more obedient to them than his parents. Miss Corning had now become Evie and by her own insistence the walks had been taken on dark and secluded forest paths. Donald had no issue with this (though walks in full view wouldn't have deterred him). He was glad to have her to himself.

Then one day the sun found a hole between two branches, where the leaves had grown brittle from illness, and left a small spill of warm sunlight on the forest grass. They stopped there to warm themselves, sitting down. It was one of those perfect moments from books. She was wearing the same yellow dress from the picnic. It glowed in the light and Donald could see her angel wings. She was smiling and the unseen hand beckoned. The moment couldn't be ignored.

He leaned in and kissed her lipstick.

Donald: And that's it. We're pretty much back up to this point, give or take a few hours.

Evie: Before I came to ask for your help.

Donald: Before I came to ask for your help. She's controlling me and I'd rather be let free.

Evie: Uh!

Hedding: So it's Evelyn's fault that you kissed her?

Evie: No! My father didn't raise me to be that kind of person.

Donald: You're telling me to be truthful...

Evie: Fine... It is my fault, actually.

Hedding: Why don't you tell me your version now. It's your father who's going to be upset about this, you know.

Evie: I know...

Donald: For sure, and that's why I'm so sorry for being so dang impulsive.

Evie: Hmh. Well, here I go...

I have no brothers. Or sisters, but brothers were what I was missing. Other girls complained about their brothers. The little ones were annoying, the older ones were bullies. I couldn't make sense of it. A brother sounded like a darn useful person to have around. I was always looking out for one, one to be mine. I figured there was just this wonderful boy wandering around out there that I could adopt, someone who was...perhaps...waiting for me.

If it hadn't taken so long to find him...

At the picnic on Sunday, the girls in my class kept talking about how many cute boys were going to be at the picnic. If they didn't like their brothers, what made them think they'd like having a beau? There can't be much of a difference.

Somehow when I thought that, I begin wanting a beau too. I think girl's talk can be catching. I fussed with my dress and my hair and borrowed a girl's lipstick, which she'd snuck from her older sister. I imagined I might make some sort of entrance and everybody would look at me, but after all I was only wearing a sundress of the same cut and color as many of the girls, my father being no more rich than anyone else. He's a banker, but he doesn't own the bank or anyone else's money.

Hedding: And his first name is Harvey.

Evie: Well...yes... Ahem.

Waiting till the other girls had rushed across the park to join the boys in an excess of enthused giggles, I walked on my own but none of the boys looked up. They were too busy with what was right in front of them.

But when I joined them I noticed a boy leaning against a tree by the lake. He was staring straight at me with his mouth ajar in...well, I suppose I can admit without embarrassment since he's already said it...absolute adoration. I could instinctively tell—with instincts I seemed to have acquired on the moment—he had been watching my lonely entrance.

While my first thought normally would have been to scout him for my precious brother, the day's tone had previously been set. My thoughts suddenly ran rampant with flirtatious quips and my hands were full to the brim with flirtatious gestures. With all my might I went about wooing him, and for no reason that I could see. It just seemed the most natural thing to do.

The fact that he was dirty and low-class seemed to lend excitement to having his attention.

With discreet glances I realized that he was following me home after the picnic. What strange pleasure it was to know that I had caused this effect! What satisfaction I gained when I watched from my window to see him standing out there in the streetlamps when I went to bed!

But in the morning it had all went away. I was myself again, and looking back I was ashamed. I knew I had not behaved very nicely, so I resolved to be on my best behavior today. I didn't even think I'd see the poor boy again.

To my surprise I heard snoring as I walked down the front steps. I checked and he was asleep in the bushes. I think I only meant to be friends with him when I poked him awake, but the day was not listening to a sane voice.

He walked with me and the dirt under his nails filled me with fascination. My mind painted him as a mischief-maker, an inexorable imp. When he smiled, I was unduly glad to be the one he was smiling at. The day before I had wanted to be his master. Today I wanted to be his slave. 

Friendship is something people say is easier than attraction and love and that whole bundle. I've never thought much about love until now, but I don't think it's more complicated than friendship... at least, I don't like to think that. I want to say that my relationship with Donald makes sense and I don't want to say that what could have been a wonderful friendship got complicated because I was abusing my feminine power. But it doesn't really matter what I want to say. This very day I went out meaning to make a friend confess his love. I accomplished it.

Evie: The fact that it was apparently against his will and that he doesn't actually like me at all... Well, I guess that never occurred to me before. I didn't actually think I could force someone to do something.

Donald: I didn't say—

Hedding: The way I see it, being older and wiser, you were both victims of shallow pubescent feelings arriving from unfamiliar hormones. It's neither of your faults. And, I think you're not very well suited to each other.

Evie: What? You can't reduce everything to that. There was a lot going on. Did you not hear our stories?

Hedding: I did. And here's a little story for you. My story. While you and Donald were gallivanting around the forest together, your father and I had a chat. He made a proposition and I agreed to your hand in marriage when you come of age.

Evie: Marriage?

Hedding: You say it like you don't know what it is.

Donald: She doesn't. No one at our age does.

Evie: It's true. I'm not ready to get married.

Donald: Perhaps you will be in three years.

Evie: I'm pretty sure I won't feel any differently.

Hedding: You don't know what you feel. You're like a blind cow put in a new pasture.

Evie: Well, that's a lovely thing to say to your future bride.

Donald: True poetry.

Evie: It seems you were the very last person we should talk to about this. You're going to tell my father right away, aren't you?

Hedding: No, I'm going to dismiss the whole thing because it is of no consequence.

Evie: No consequence! When I love Donald—

Donald: And I love Evie?

Evie: You do?

Donald: Er, it sounded the right thing to say.

Evie: Donald!

Hedding: Go on now, I have things to do. I'll be coming to dinner tonight, Evelyn.

Evie: Oh, and I'll be sticking my tongue out at you the whole time!

May 08, 2020 20:21

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