Under the Oak Tree

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There was just one person she needed. And he’d moved to another city far away from the farm she still lived on with her parents.  The night before he left they sat together under the oak tree, watching the horses  in the pasture softly move together, and then apart. Much like us, she thought. We’ve done this little dance for the past several years, so scared to make it more than just a flirtation. It could be the real deal, if we both opened our hearts. But he was afraid, although he said he had other reasons. That last night the air was cool and had a sweet grass smell. They’d sat apart on the horse blanket, their feet almost touching. They’d talked of many things, like they always did. He’d hugged her goodbye, and held on for a little too long, groaning a little in the back of his throat as he bent his head down to nestle in her neck. And then the sound of his pickup and she went into the house.

She sat there tonight under the oak tree again. There was a slight sound, almost a whisper. It sounded like a horse nicker and she glimpsed something white off to the left. Casper, she thought. Ever since her mother had told her about the doomed white colt and how he’d saved her brother she’d occasionally see something that looked like him. You couldn’t look straight ahead and see him…only out of the corner of your eye. So elusive. Just like love. He seemed to show up when emotions were running strong, when her heart was beating faster. When something strong and wild was moving through her. She didn’t know why. He was just there. She wondered if she moved away if she would still see him. If she too went off to live in a city far away, would Casper still appear. Would she hear him and catch that glimpse on a street corner? Sitting at a cafe? In a high rise building? No, she thought. He belongs here on the farm, just like I do. He’s a part of the cycle of the farm, the animals and the people and the different seasons. And maybe there’s seasons for love too.

There was the nickering sound again. She saw headlights coming down the long stretch of the driveway. It was a pickup truck. Her heart beat faster. She waited, on the blanket,  stars glimmering through the branches of the tree.

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