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Beneath the Oak Tree
“Please Jane, if I arrive home late mother will throw a fit!” the young boy cried, to which his female friend replied “You’ll have to catch me first, Peter!”
Peter watched miserably as Jane skipped and frolicked in circles, teasing him as she wagged his school bag in the air. “Jane, please! I mustn’t be late!”
“I TOLD you, Peter. You’ll have to catch me!” she burst into giggles that faded the further she sprinted away into the immense green fields.
Although his chubby legs were no match for her firm stronger ones, Peter had no choice but to desperately pursue Jane, keeping track of her by her golden pigtails and the sweet alluring fragrance of her perfume. His ears filled with her gentle laughter which sounded almost harmonious. In all honesty, he could have chased her for hours.
But that wasn’t the case. Jane came to an abrupt halt underneath an oak tree, spun around to face Peter, and held the bag behind her back.
“J-Jane…” Peter wheezed, leaning over with his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath. “P-please…I need…my bag…”
She snickered at his feebleness, finding it to be one of his most adorable traits. She’d known the boy all 12 years of her life as they were born on the same day, and although the other kids mocked and ridiculed him, she never left his side. Jane could only see good things in him.
“Alright, I’m serious this time Jane.” Peter said in a semi-stern voice, regaining his posture. “Hand it over.”
Peter’s seriousness drained out of him in an instant. His mouth was dry and his fingers were shaking. Was she joking? Was this a test? Had he misheard her? Was this all just a mirage?
“Uh…uh…” he stammered, looking everywhere but Jane’s deep blue eyes which suddenly seemed so intimidating.
“Well don’t just stand there, kiss me!”
Jane grabbed Peter by the collar of his shirt, and pulled him towards her, sealing the moment with a gentle kiss.
The name slipped from an old man’s lips as he abruptly woke up from an afternoon nap. He adjusted his eyeglasses and peered around himself to recollect where he was exactly. Ah! Right! The local park! “Ericson Park”, the one which had been constructed only 10 years ago upon a large grassy field; this is where he’d dozed off. As he lifted his left arm to check the time, the first thing that caught his attention rather than the wristwatch was his wedding ring. A small smile came across his face as he faintly made out the engraved words “Forever and ever, Jane”
He took in a deep breath; letting the smell of the oak tree he sat underneath fill his nostrils with its wonderful scent, and his mind with wonderful memories. But before he could fully indulge in the serenity of the moment, the newspaper fell out of his lap. The old man, Mr. Ericson, reached down to pick it up and read the first headline he saw:
Community Mourns Three Year Anniversary of the Death of
“Ericson Park” Co-Founder Jane Ericson
The old man’s smile did not fade, however his eyes suddenly appeared glossy and pained. As a small tear slid gradually down his cheek, he closed his eyes and prayed to doze off again.