Beyond the Valley
We were four when we met. Our parents were vacationing in the Amerindian Village of Moruca, miles from where we both lived in two different cities. It took boat rides on two different rivers; the water gushing off the side of the speed boat as I clung to my stepmother for dear life, for to us reach the peaceful serene atmosphere of the indigenous village.
My father and brother were seated in the seat in front of us. I remember thinking that one day I will be as brave as them, able to sit with my feet cocked up on the railing and enjoy the way the sun glistened on the black water. You were on the opposite side of the speed boat pointing out everything and asking lots of questions. Our parents had met on the little cliff overseeing the valley, between the mountains, for lunch. They had all laughed out loud when they realized they had planned a picnic in the same spot. My stepmother had smiled and invited your parents to join us. It is here we met. You followed my fourteen year old brother around and I sat quietly in awe of the large greenery before me. At four it seemed to all swallow me, the way the two mountains parted leaving the lush greenery that ran in between them as though protecting a hidden treasure. Eventually, my brother had asked you to “get a life” and saddened by this, you sat next to me. I touched your arm and said, “He is just a mean old booger.” You wrenched your arm from my grasp and turned to back me. I am not sure if it was that day that I fell in love with you, or if it was ten years later when we met again in that spot.
Our parents had remained in contact over the years. To celebrate your father starting a new business and my brother’s graduation from college, they planned to meet for vacation again in the Amerindian Village of Moruca. By this time my father’s business had flourished; he had made it big in the chicken rearing business, so we flew up in the cabin of a small airplane. Your family would reach the village by boat.
The first day of our vacation our families met for lunch at the same spot; atop the hill overlooking the valley; still green and lush in its beauty. The two mountains to the side still high and mighty. You smiled with me shyly and I blushed. My brother who was now twenty four tried to get you to go down with him to the creek to catch fish; you told him, “I don’t want to” Your dad urged you to go, you shrugged and sat down in our spot. My stepmother asked me to lay out the picnic; she was busy with her twin boys now six years old who tried to run off behind my brother. I watched them and smiled remembering the four year old who used to run after him. You kept glancing at me, making my heart skip a beat. I remember you so well at fourteen; with your pink smooth lips; and small round nose; your dimples that pursued when you smiled and your thick curly hair that was well kept and shiny from hair spray. You were slim and tall, and smelt of a woody musky scent, the same scent that I got from your father when he patted me on the head and said, “You have grown.”
I was nervous and excited. I had never forgotten you and waited eagerly for this vacation. Eventually, I slid down on the grass next to you. My long lanky legs outstretched in front of me. You turned and smiled with me and looked off into the distant valley. I wrung my hands together and it felt like hours before you said something.
“What do you think lies beyond that valley?” you asked me, pointing to the majestic greenery before us.
I smiled broadly because I too had wondered the same. I pulled my knees towards my chest and hugged them, resting my chin on them.
“I believe there is a beach with pearly white sands and blue waters washing in, where indigenous people live, people who dress in drabs of gold and silver and they dance and laugh all day long.”
You laughed and your eyes sparkled.
“How would they eat and survive if they danced and laughed all day?” you asked me.
“They eat fruits from the trees.” I said, trying to stifle my own laughter from the ridiculous ideas that were floating around in my mind.
“What do you think lies beyond that valley?” I asked
“A jungle with big tiger cats, and lions, and snakes and a water fall,” you answered.
I looked off into the distance as you spoke.
“But I like your idea more,” you added.
We sat and talked for hours, you brought our meal to us there while the rest of the family had their picnic not far from us.
Later that day we walked hand in hand down to the creek, leaving everyone chatting and laughing atop the hill. At the edge of the water you looked back and noticed that we were now out of sight.
I was wringing my hands together again, nervously looking around and drawing circles in the sand with my feet. When I turned around, we awkwardly bumped into each other. Our foreheads connected and we rubbed it. Soon we were laughing hysterically. Then you were staring at my face, my awkward looking face that had a few pimples. I looked down and suddenly felt very self conscious, wondering what you were thinking. When I looked up you were closer to me. You leaned in and I knew what was going to happen; tightness formed itself in my chest and something seemed stuck in my throat. But, I didn’t allow them to prevent me from leaning in too.
First our noses crashed into each other and this time instead of laughing your rubbed yours against mine and my face felt flushed. I felt you smile as I closed my eyes and felt the warmness of your lips on mine. You pressed them against mine tenderly and then you parted my lips and kissed me lightly. I heard the birds chirping in the trees, the leaves swishing with the wind and the creek water lapping against the sand. The sound of my little brothers’ hurry down the hill towards us caused us to break away and awkwardly back each other. We would not get another chance with such privacy.
Today, ten years later I sit on the same hill overlooking the valley. I wait for you to join me. With my backpack on; ready to trek through the valley to the undiscovered land beyond it. I wait for you. Will you to come to me my love? A tear runs down my cheek and I wipe it away, I promised you I wouldn’t cry. I held your hand all the way to the end; I kissed your forehead even when it was pale and lifeless, feeling the coldness against my lips. I kept hope alive in my heart and courage in my soul that you would be here to take this journey with me. I see you ahead of me, standing at the beginning of the valley calling me. I am coming my love. I look back behind me to the trail which I walked to this point, leaving the village in the middle of the day with no word to anyone. This trek was supposed to be you and me alone and this is the way it will be. You and I alone will trek through the valley, to the undiscovered land beyond it.
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Sometimes the most unexpected of stories are born from the sight of a photograph. This is the story that my mind conjured up when I saw this photograph. I can be a bit morbid in my writing sometime, even though I try to give happy endings to my novels.
However, I would like to know what do you think when you see this picture? What do you think lies beyond that valley?
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Anjie Harrte - Romance with some Caribbean flavour
Anjie Harrte is a twenty nine year old mother of one who resides in sunny Guyana, South America. Sometime between running a small business, having a full time job and being a mother and partner she finds time to pursue her passion for creating stories. Anjie dreams up stories of contemporary fiction splashed with some romance, a little dose of murder or an ounce of suspense and sometimes when no one is looking she dashes in a little twist. When she isn’t doing any of that, she is decorating a cake, knitting a chair back or sewing her latest design. Anjie even finds time to lurk around and stalk people and pages on facebook and you too can stalk her if you like at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anjie-Harrte/ ; you can follow her on twitter @anjieharrte; keep updated with her writing at http://authoranjieharrte.blogspot.com/ or check out one of her stories @ http://storytimetrysts.blogspot.com/