Fiction Poetry

In the spring of another Now

This is second part of the story by Deborah Sanderson, the first part can be found here The seed of light and Dan McPhail

It was in the spring of another Now, when young Dan fell into the arms of love, his tears of joy floated on a rippling sea of a balmy breeze, filling the orchard with the scent of apple blossom snow. It was here where he first kissed the farmer’s daughter, after small sideways looks between the two had led to a brief embrace, a kiss that opened up his heart from the touch of her moonlight face.

Sweet Jeannie was her name, and like her name she trod the earth with grace and wonder, seeing heaven everywhere and in everything, for her smile could light up a room with joy, for the gratitude she felt for life, and when young Dan whispered her name on his lips, she and he felt blessed again and again. But how could it be? – that the sweetest one in all his world felt the same for him? A rugged loon who clumsily lumbered towards his love, yet always stumbled when he got too close, then feigned tying up a bootlace left undone. He was young and weatherworn before his time, with sad shy eyes he would wipe with his sleeve of his tartan shirt. For despite his height and muscled brawn, he dreaded that she might see how much he yearned to be her Man, even when he was out at sea.

“Ach!” he mumbled under his breath. “Haud yer wheesht, you fool. Look at yersel. And then look at her, ne’er finer could there be!” Broad-beamed Dan was a softly spoken man, with an innocence in his timbre. He had no idea Sweet Jeannie could feel the same, or how the thought of gentle Dan lit sparks in her tiny frame. “Oh Dan,” she murmured to the coos, the chickens and the geese. “Come to my arms, my couthy loon. Our youth is what we should grasp right Now, and pay no attention to the fearty how. Come to me, darling, don’t be afraid, let’s grow young together, with the life that we’ll have made.”

Each starry night, his quiet strength filled her dulcet dreams, and in them he held her in his strong arms, with love bursting at the seams. On waking, she dressed in her Sunday best as she skipped along the clifftop path, under an infinite sky. Dan was the man for Jeannie. He made her complete, in her blood and her bones, life tasted more than sweet, from her neatly starched bonnet and apron, to her polished booted feet.

Sometimes in the spring, she’d pick cowslips and primroses to tuck inside her neatly ironed bonnet, but today, right Now, her lover’s clock ticking in her heart could sense when she would see Dan, her Man, perhaps on the clifftop path. She knew when she would see him again, even when they were far apart. She could feel him in her bones, crossing the rolling sea, and on this particular morning, she cried to the infinite air, “Dan’s coming hame to me!”

By the seventh step, her highcuts twirled with a joy set free. Just like her mother’s famous dancing, at every village ceilidh – that’s how she won her father’s heart. Florence June and Wullie the ploughman, so like her mother was Jeannie, Sweet Jeannie, she was a dancer. All she knew was her Man was coming hame, and Now, Dan would finally give her an answer. Flowers framed her lunar face, beaming in the Now, but by the seventh step before the quay, a playful wind decided to play the fool, and snatched her bonnet with a gusty smile, releasing Jeannie’s crowning glory of fox-red hair, tumbling, tumbling like a bubbling burn, framing her beaming smile.

To and fro, back and forth, tossed her hair, like an auburn weeping willow hideaway. Where was he? Then suddenly, just out at sea, there was a flash of blinding light. It was Dan! He had been scouring the clifftop with his telescope to see if Sweet Jeannie would be there, unmissable with her overflowing locks of fiery crimson hair. With the poise in her step and summer-blue eyes, she was a charm and a talisman for any sailor that was wise. Sweet Jeannie was his true north, charting him back hame. With his fishing boat rammed full of silver darlings, the compass of his heart had brought him back hame.

For June Wibeauty

© Deborah Sanderson, April 2020


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