The Willow Tree
 

Marsha had been sitting by the big willow tree reading one of her favorite love novels, the sun shinning on her and she was sleepy so she laid her head back, she was so sleepy.

She heard a noise in the distance, sounded like a horse running. She stood up and there it was a few feet away. The horse reared up and the rider fell to the ground. She ran  over to him. Are you okay, she asked? He jumped to his feet dusting himself off.

 Yes he said, quite embarrassed. I am so sorry Marsha said again, I didn't mean to startle you or scare your horse. Oh that's okay, he said, he's easy to spook. Real nervous like me I guess especially right now. What are you doing hiding up here under a tree anyway, he smiled as he said this. Marsha reached out her hand. "Hello she said, my name is  Marsha Blake and yours? I'm James Richardson he said with a beautiful southern accent.  Marsha asked him if he came this way very often, she had not seen him around before. Oh, you mean falling at a beautiful ladies feet, no I can't say that I do. They both laughed at the same time.  Marsha noticed he had the most beautiful laugh, the kind that lingers in your ears and heart long after the person is gone.

 James explained he was visiting with his uncle that owned the farm house a couple of miles down the road. He was out of school for the summer and would be leaving in the fall. James asked, and you Miss Marsha, where do you live? Marsha explained she lived in the small cottage just over the hill within walking distance. They stood around a few minutes and just felt the breeze blow and small talked. Both enchanted with each other. Then James said he had better go, his Aunt would be having lunch ready soon. He reached out and touched her hand and ask if she would be here again tomorrow. Marsha felt such a feeling from his touch, she said she wasn't sure.  She watched as he climbed back on his horse and he said it was really good to meet her and she said it was nice meeting him also.  He called as he rode off, don't be a stranger okay? With this she gave him a big smile.

I must be dreaming she said out loud, hearing the sound of her voice to be sure she was awake. He was just like the stories she had read in her love novels, I sure hope I'm awake she thought. I mean he fell at my feet and so handsome and so polite and that southern way of talking. She sat back to finish reading her book, but she couldn't really get into it. I sure hope I get to see him again she said as she looked off into the distance to see one last glimpse of him. She didn't see him and she tried to see off in the distance the old farm house he was talking about. She closed her book and went walking toward home.

As James was riding away he was also thinking. I wonder if she is watching me? She sure was pretty but what was she doing around here? He didn't know anyone lived that close to his Aunt and Uncle. James could still see her smile and the way the wind was blowing her hair, he wondered if he would ever see her again. I guess if it wasn't for the pain in my falling down place I'd think I was dreaming. He smiled and rode on toward the house.

As he entered the house he ran upstairs to freshen up. His Aunt heard him and called him to dinner.  As he sat down he asked if they knew the Blake family and they said yes. They have lived there for a long time but they didn't remember them having a daughter. Well maybe she's just an angel that dropped down from heaven.

As he tried to rest that night she kept coming to his mind over and over again. James thought he was to old for puppy love and to mature to believe in love at first sight, but still he tossed and turned. Finally he made up his mind to return to the Willow Tree.

When Marsha returned home she sat with her parents deep in thought. Her Mother asked her if something was wrong . She told them the story of meeting James. They looked at each other. Honey we do know them, they are very rich people, not the kind we know or get involved with. They are very nice and have always been kind to us.  That night Marsha tossed and turned also, no one had every left such an impression on her before.

The next day she decided to go back to the Willow tree, this time take her easel and do some painting also. As she walked up the hill deep in her mind she thought how nice it would be for him to return. They could talk more . It had been a lonely summer for her so far, no one her age to talk to.  As she placed the blanket beneath the tree she heard it again, this time she waved so as not to frighten James or his horse. A big smile came across his face and he felt a deep satisfaction as he saw her there.  She had on a beautiful yellow dress and it was if she had a glow about her. Was he really loosing it.  It was something he had never felt about a girl before. He waved as he saw her.  Marsha smiled and thought of how happy she felt and also what a coincidence he was riding this way again.

James dismounted and said to her, now isn't this something, were you trying to scare my horse again?  They both laughed again.  James asked if it was all right if he sat with her for awhile? Marsha just smiled and looked at him, in her mind she thought, he had to ask. Of course she said, I'd love the company.

They began to talk and he told her he went to school and he wanted to be a doctor someday. He was excited when he talked about it, he said I want to help discover new drugs that will some day save lives. I am just in for the summer kind of on a break but still doing my studies.  What are you doing way out here?  Marsha spoke and as she did, he noticed a sadness in her voice. I am just in spending time with my parents. I was working for awhile but just decided to come home. That was all she said.

James then said something that surprised her and him. Can I come calling on you, maybe we could go into town and get something to eat or a movie? I don't mean to be pushy or anything and if you have a guy that's okay, just say the word.  Oh no, Marsha said , no guy. I'd love that He reached out and touched her hand and that feeling was there again just like yesterday.  He looked at her and said, it's so strange, it's like I know you and, oh I don't know, it sounds foolish doesn't it?

"No, it doesn't Marsha said, I know what you mean. James looked into the most beautiful eyes, but yet there was a sadness there, and he had to find out what it was, what could cause someone to be sad yet so beautiful. He was determined to find out.  She laid her head back against the tree and closed her eyes. She was beautiful, the color of her skin, the way she smiled that touched his heart. He knew this was going to be a lasting relationship.

They just sat and talked and she painted a picture of the meadow and the flowers for him.  Hours passed but it didn't seem like it. As he got up he pulled her to her feet and he held her hands in his, so small, a perfect fit. She looked at him but knew she had to be careful and not rush into anything especially a relationship, he felt it as she thought it and let go of her hands. He walked away leading the horse and said with a smile, later pretty girl, see you later.

As he walled away, she still felt his hands holding hers, what is going on here she though. What is wrong with me, 24 hours and I am blinded by this stranger, this is unreal. He has the deepest blue eyes and seems to love people, I'm in love, that's it, I know that's it.  She closed her eyes and could still see him, how did he do that, how did he cast such a spell on her so quickly? She didn't come home to meet someone and fall in love, she came home to die. Marsha gasp at what she had just said, its the first time she had said it out loud. She cried, why now Lord, why now did I meet the man I could love? How did he find me, why did you send him here? She cried for while and then got up to go home with such a sadness in her heart.

It seemed as if the weekend would never come, he called everyday and just to hear him on the phone made her happy. She was lonely for him. She thought her life was together and she had come to realize  there was no hope and then this happened. She had such an empty spot when she couldn't hear or see him. It was the same for James he wanted to be by her side every moment.  James knew he had to go back to school, what if she wouldn't be there when he got back from college, what if she decided to leave. Then it happened, he had to leave, she cried and he cried. James said I don't know  if I can do this, go with me, be with me.  Marsha knew she couldn't go with him. She told him, I'll be here waiting for you. But she had a fear, what if he found someone else and then thought, if he does its for the best. She knew she couldn't go with him, she had to stay here with her parents.

The day came, he called her and said , meet me at the Willow tree. Marsha couldn't wait she rushed to get ready but still her heart was breaking she knew he was leaving. She ran to the top of the hill and stood looking in the distance to see him. He came riding as fast as he could.  James got down and reached for Marsha, he lifted her up from the ground and held her as tight as he could and looked into those beautiful brown eyes full of tears.  He kissed her every so gently and held her close ,she melted into his arms. Then he let go, not saying a word. He walked away leading his horse with his head down and never looked back.

Her heart broke, she sat down under the Willow tree, knowing she would never see him a again, this handsome man that came riding into her life like a dream and fell at her feet. She fell asleep with tear stains on her face.

All of a sudden she woke with a start, her love novel fell from her hands. She had been reading and fell asleep, that was the best dream she had ever had, her book laid open at her feet as she stood to see what had awaken her.  Was it the wind, then she heard it a sound in the distance, the sound of a horse running in the meadow, getting closer and closer.

By: Harriett Dash 2001     Home