CoffeeShop Blues: 2015 Traveler's Edition - Page 75

Jeremy Frost A brilliant yellow flash catches her eye from the side of the path and she sees a buttercup fluttering in the breeze from the waterfall. Eirwin lets the petals glide through her fingers like silk and leaves the flower unpicked. “Most suitable as a match,” her parents had announced six months ago. Thomas was a future husband with prospects, due to inherit a farm in the next valley with three times the number of sheep. “At twenty, you’re at the best years of your life,” her mother added, looking down at her feet. Only the date was to be decided, in case Thomas might change his mind. Thomas. Eirwin’s hand rises to her neck again. She shudders and breathes in the mist to try to calm herself. His age could be understood; a gap of a decade was common and his farm had five versions of Derwen. Moreover, she could not remain at home, becoming a spinster while her nieces and nephews grew. She touches her neck for a third time. Her lips form his name but leave the letters unfinished. Thomas has taken her a walk during their brief courtship, the engagement ring barely ordered. She could smell the sweetness of whisky on his breath as he had leaned over to kiss her and had turned her face instinctively away. A warm saltiness shocked her. Thomas had licked her neck. Until their wedding night, he had murmured in her ear. She would be worth the wait. “Eirwin,” she hears and wonders if Derwen is calling her name, reminding her to return to the farm in time for her sister. Only the rocks of the path are behind her. She lets her eyes roam over the waterfall and sways. The water must be speaking to her. As a child, she was always prone to dreaming. Reversing her direction, she skips through the rocks and checks to the side of the waterfall, straining on tiptoe. The slops of the surrounding hills appear covered in Christmas trees. She never took the route to the top when she and her sister had come as children, seeing only innocence ahead. Eirwin’s feet jar on boulders as she scrambles up the hill. A d &