Old Times Sake

I remembered at quite late last night that I hadn’t written anything this week to post (although naturally at like 2am I came up with a whole bunch of things that I could write about, but am going to actually put some thought into them and post them over the next few weeks). So I panicked and looked for some short story that I had written which I found. From the beginning of last year, and with some cringing and questioning my ability to actually write anything, I got it to a place that I kinda feel comfortable with it being out there.

Call this some sort of nostalgia in  a round about way.

Aidan sneaked up behind Carly where she was leant on the kitchen counter grazing on the punnet of grapes in front of her.

‘Boo,’ Carly jumped then rolled her eyes before pulling another grape off a stalk, ‘How about one last time for old times’ sake?’ Carly turned to look at Aidan and nodded.

The pair walked out of the kitchen door and round to the front of the house where a large oak tree stood. The tree had three sturdy fairly low hanging branches framed by green leaves and the sprouting of blossom which only came during the spring and summer months. On the thick trunk were seven well-formed foot holes.

Aidan walked over to the lowest of the holes and with a practiced motion climbed the tree until he reached a branch with which he straddled before shifting down further on it and very carefully turning himself around and facing the trunk. Carly watched the whole thing and when Aidan looked down at her, she took that as her cue to climb the tree herself. She carefully climbed the tree trying to avoid grazing her bare legs on the bark on the way up. When she reached the same branch as Aidan she stretched over to straddle it before settling down with her back resting on the trunk.

Carly looked through the leaves of the tree to see the whole of Aidan’s street bathed in the light of the setting sun and the sky painted in various hues of pink, purple and orange.

‘It’s beautiful tonight.’ Carly said without looking at Aidan. He followed her gaze vaguely and nodded, ‘Yeah it really is. Isn’t it weird that we will never be like this again? I mean not in the way we are now.’ Aidan asked looking back at Carly who turned to look at him before answering, ‘Yeah. Where the hell did all the time go?’

Aidan laughed and shrugged, ‘I dunno? I guess it just sort of happened while we totally ignored it.’

‘Right?! I was just thinking watching you climb this tree of the first time we ever did it. How we got so scratched and bruised because we couldn’t figure out the best branch to climb to…’

‘And we got stuck and our dads had to whip out the ladder and guide us down.’ Aidan interjected and laughed.

‘Exactly. And now we have foot holes and a routine. I mean the one thing we did right with our youth was the mastering of climbing this tree.’

‘And sneaking out of our houses. We mastered that as well.’

‘Well all this climbing trees probably helped with that massively.’

‘Oh yeah obviously!’ Carly turned to look back at the street and the sunset.

‘You can’t deny we were good that.’

‘No Aid you were good at that. And you could always sneak back in. I never quite figured the best way to do it. Been caught every single time.’

‘Well you don’t have to worry about that anymore.’ Carly groaned and looked back at Aidan.

‘Don’t remind me. You know mum actually gave me cooking lessons?’

‘She still hasn’t forgotten about the burnt pasta thing?’

‘Clearly not. It was terrible. She watched me like a hawk. Pretty sure that was the only reason I fucked up.’

‘So you still can’t cook?’

‘Who knows!’ Aidan and Carly laughed then trailed off into silence.

‘My dad gave me a sex talk yesterday.’ Aidan broke the silence and Carly snorted after he finished speaking.

‘Shouldn’t he already have done that?’

‘Yeah he did in a way. But I mean he started rambling on about how I should respect women and not sleep around. Meaningless sex is just as damaging to men as it is to women, he repeated himself a lot.’ Carly laughed again.

‘So no becoming a man whore?’

‘Nope. Or dad might smite me.’

‘Well we can’t have that… So how packed up are you?’

‘Oh this is where the conversation is going? Erm, it’s all colour coded and ready to pack up when I can bear it. You?

‘My room is barren. It’s terrifying.’

‘You always were organised.’

‘It’s in the genes!’ Carly smiled briefly before her face turned away with a look of sadness in her eyes.

She sighed before she spoke again.

‘Promise me that we won’t be one of those friends who say they will keep in touch but don’t.’ Aidan picked off a leaf on a branch near to his knee.

‘I promise. Permission to get sappy?’ Carly nodded and looked back at Aidan, ‘I can promise that because if there is one thing I am certain of in life, it’s that we will always be far too involved in each other’s lives. You will always be one of the first people I will tell everything to and you will still be my best option any day of the week, because we get each other and our friendship is the easiest thing in the world, despite all the shit we have gotten about it in the past.’ Carly laughed wetly and Aidan noticed that she was crying slightly.

‘Good.’ Carly wiped gently at the tears on her face before she carried on. ‘Good, because I can deal with a lot of shit, like leaving my childhood home and my parents total lack of faith in my ability to take care of myself, but I cannot take the possibility of us not talking. If only for the fact that you don’t find it alarming when I inform you of the most ridiculous things.’ Carly laughed again and Aidan gently knocked her leg before joining her in laughter.

‘Well I’m pretty sure I will continue to do that for you.

‘Good.’

Carly and Aidan both turned to look at the street again. The sun had gone behind the houses and the moon was starting to shine brightly between the branches of the tree. The street lamps were starting to illuminate Carly and Aidan’s faces as they sat on the branch in silence.

After about five minutes a ‘Carly! Aidan! Dinner’s ready.’ was called from the front door and Aidan and Carly turned to look at each other and smiled slightly sadly. Aidan swung one leg over so that he as sat sideways on the branch, braced his hands on either side of himself and lowered himself slowly down. When his arms were almost straight he pushed up slightly and jumped down onto the grass. Carly, when she saw he was on the ground properly swung her leg over and shifted away from the trunk. She then pushed herself off the branch at Aidan, opening her legs and wrapping them around his waist as he caught her, in a practiced motion after years of gymnastics on both their parts. When Aidan had gained his balance again he set her down and the two held hands as they walked towards the back of the house and the kitchen door, the sun finally set and the moon shining brightly, an air of sadness between them.

In December the two were back on the branch in similar positions wrapped up in scarves, hats and gloves each cradling a mug of hot chocolate, which they had miraculously got up the tree, talking about anything and everything almost like things hadn’t changed.

Except they had. But the friendship that Carly and Aidan had hadn’t. Not really anyway.

sign off 2


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