The meadow meandered in all ways that are soft to the breeze, the green flowing in bonny waves as any river would be proud to do. There is a casual grace to the meadow, as if it has a peripheral awareness of its own beauty yet would rather be at peace in this warm sun. From the rich brown earthen hues of the ground to the sweetness of the blue-white sky, the meadow is a three dimensional wonderland for the eyes that are willing to absorb the light; but the light will soon run out. The seasons have been harsh, stripping away the bark and outer layers, yet rendering them all the more beautiful. They have the appearance of driftwood, twisting in patterns that remind Dan of seaside waves; even the colour of the moss is kelp-like. They are soft, damp, yet his fingers come away dry. Caving into the middle, the petals concealed themselves away from the danger that mingles in the atmosphere. The meadow bloomed in vain as each petal was nothing more than just a memory.
Watching his feet step across the crispy leaves, he would see the serenity of browns to fireside reds and the gold of sunny days. Curling around the trees, the breeze became their scarf; its ebbed appearance welcomed in the sweet breath of winter. Flowing under the thinnest of ice, Dan felt the need to go towards it but he was frozen to the ground so he chose just to watch the water that remained deep and moving, ever onwards on its journey to the ocean. Falling down, the water suffocated the ice causing it to collapse and wash away.
Tumbling down to the ground, Dan looked across and saw Mel on the floor. Getting up as quickly as possible Mel got up and gave him a hand but he shoved it away.
“Come on Dan, it’s the season to be jolly” sang Mel.
Reluctantly Dan took her hand and lifted himself up. The last person he wished to see was Mel; her bloodthirsty eyes were always finding a way to disrupt his inner peace. He knew he would be competing with her tomorrow for the annual bake off and that sickened him. Why was she being so nice thought Dan?
“It’s so cold, I’m getting coffee. Come with me” beckoned Mel
Dan glanced upward, his mouth pursed but slightly open and loose or a fraction of a second the corners of Dan’s mouth twitched upwards, until his conscious mind asserts control again. Mel saw a shock register on his face before he could hide it. A small smile played on her lips; I guess she gets that a lot thought Dan.
Processing every emotion received by his nerves Dan analyses the situation carefully but before he could stop himself he let out a simple: “Yes” and took her hand and started walking towards the coffee shop.
Wintry trees stood as ballet dancers poised to show the world their grace and strength showing them how they remain so still in the seasonal gusts. Sliding past them Dan saw their skin with hues of spring soil decorated with sculpted flakes. Now that the leaves have fallen, they are so proud, as if their silvery-brown skin was their glory all along. He lifted his head into the wind, eyes open for this softly lit day. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see it: the coffee shop air was swirling with aromatic dreams and filled with the ambiance of friendly chatter.
Sitting down, Dan looked at Mel. His eyes darted around the coffee shop and his breath rises in serendipitous puffs whilst he inhaled the viscous smell of caffeine.
“Why are you being so nice to me?” asked Dan.
“I don’t know I feel like we should just stick together as we run the only bakeries in this town” replied Mel; her voice created illusion of certainty and support.
Talking about her life; Dan was mesmerised by her voice it sounded like the wind whispering melody in his ears. Why hadn’t he noticed this before he thought. The wind stirred restless waves in his eye and his heart began to sing with the wind. Their eyes locked into each other he saw galaxies instead of pupils and every ounce of breath faded were taken away from his lungs. Talking about her dog she glanced down and took a sip of her coffee and he did the same; its bitter taste turned into a sweet cotton candy taste.
I’m in love with her he thought.
Oh no, it can’t be. What have I done? He thought. I need to leave; I need to get out of here.
“I need to go, I am getting late” said Dan whilst he stuttered uncontrollably.
“Please stay a little longer” pleaded Mel. Her soft hazelnut eyes stared into his and he didn’t have the gut to say no; as much as he wanted to he couldn’t get himself to do it. “Okay, fine” said Dan; whilst he unwillingly gave into the idea of spending more time with her.
Walking side by side, they went across the meadow. Penetrating through his hat the cold wind shot up his ear and beckoned the leaves to come out; it was an embryonic joy. Bathed in love, the beautiful winter sun brings a peaceful harmony. Glancing up at him Mel looked at him and the tenderness in her eyes made this cold winter feel like a warm autumn evening. Putting her hands around his; they walked towards town; her slender fingers curled around his; unwilling to ever let go. There is a warmth that tumbles out in the winter time; when all else is so cold. It radiates from those who love and nurture as easily as they breathe.
Entering town, the watery light illuminated the thin patches to brilliance. The dark sky shone with lustre. Elevating his spirits, the snow shone with clarity. Even the coldness upon his face was refreshing; his hand is cosy as it is still clinging onto her hand.
“Would you like to get a drink” asked Mel whilst pointing towards the crowded bar.
“Yes” replied Dan before he could stop himself; he wanted to spend more time with her but wasn’t sure if it was the best idea.
Not letting go of each other’s hand, they walked into the bar. Taking in the drink of beer; Dan couldn’t say no to a second and to a third.
Waking up in his bed the next day, Dan couldn’t remember last night. Some illusions pervaded into his mind such as coming back home and dropping off Mel; however this was all vague. Then suddenly he saw the time: it was 9:13. Oh no I’m late thought Dan and rushed out of bed to get ready. Running around frantically, Dan tried to get all his ingredients together and was suffering with the minimal time. Adding the chocolate and flour he finally made them: his special triple chocolate cookies with a tint of fudge.
His brain was screaming to go back and do all the checks again but his feet kept on going forwards as he quickens the pace to an almost-run. His brain was in overdrive but his concentration was shot. Those once golden rays from above are only blue in this water; and the deeper he collapses within the less light can penetrate. It’s cold too, colder than he imagined it would be. With the increasing pressure he begins to feel like the water is thicker, like soup.
Arriving just on time, he sees Mel however he recognises something else, something that made his heart skip a beat, something that drains the blood from his skin. Triple chocolate cookies but these weren’t any typical triple chocolate cookies; they were his triple chocolate cookies; the special ones that no one in town knew about.
Anger, pain, sadness - so intertwined that perhaps their names ought to be tweaked to reflect the true origins of these emotions. His anger would come like an impossible build-up of steam, burning him on the way out, burning the one on the receiving end; but he couldn’t do it because he loved her but she manipulated him when he was drunk and took all his ideas and used them as her own.
How was I so myopic? Thought Dan. Her face was lit of exhilaration and that was the breaking point for him. The serving of rage tasted bitter much like coffee, its bitterness drew him in to take another sip knowing he would be more awake than minutes before. Running up towards her he froze; he didn’t know what to do or what to say.
Standing face to face in front of her he hesitated and their eyes met
“I thought …..” said Dan.
“What you thought that we were friends?” Asked Mel hysterically whilst laughing. “Of course not”
“Dan do you have an entry for this competition?” asked the judge as he stood behind him.
“No” Dan replied hastily and went far away from Mel. He held it back as long as he could, then he let go and let the wind take him far away just for a minute so that he could recollect his thoughts and come back into the present. Swelling up of blood, his veins waited to explode and vexed his soul into torture.
Standing up on the stage was Mel. A stash was tied around her shoulders. He wanted to shout it out loud that this was his recipe; but who would listen to him.
“I present to you the winner of the annual 2020 baking challenge is Mel Hunter” announced the judge and the crowd erupted into a loud applause.
Inside Mel was broken but she wanted to look pleased. An overwhelming feeling of dread pervaded into her. I shouldn’t be getting this, thought Mel, this is not my creation. Before she could stop herself her feet carried her towards the judge presenting her with a trophy and she clutched onto it for dear life. She wanted to call him up front; she wanted to share this with him. All because she loved him.
What have I done? She thought.
The snow comes, white and glistening, erasing the troubles beneath, directing him toward a new and positive day. Perhaps in this swirling perfect whiteness that gives crystalline kisses, the coolness in the air will rejuvenate his soul, elevate his spirit and give him new reasons to step forward with confidence; but right now his soul has been torn with false love.