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Special Corner - Wayne's Writings and Poems The Enchanted Forest January 20, 2010

It was after lunch for the grade six children at their year-end closing picnic. There were games now being played, and it was a perfect warm June day. The water at the small beach had warmed up enough that quite a few of the girls and boys were swimming. A few of the teachers, with help from some of the bigger students, were cleaning up the food leftovers, and the barbeque, used to cook hot-dogs. Soon the annual school-closing picnic would wind down and have a few songs sung by the music of the portable stereo one of the teachers brought.

It was getting on in the afternoon and the six buses started to line up to the exit onto the highway. Tracy and Jeff had wandered down to the field next to the forest. They had been picking strawberries and had two plastic containers almost full. Tracy said "Hey Jeff there is a whole lot over the fence towards the forest" Jeff was in his full glory being with the prettiest girl in the whole school so he run over and said " I will climb over the fence and then I will help you from the other side". Jeff and Tracy were both twelve years old and not at the dating stage of their development, but Tracy was showing a form of being a very attractive young woman. "Do you think we should? The buses are lining up now". Jeff said, "Yeah, we still have time. His rather curly hair, being backlit by the sun, made him into quite a handsome young man. Tracy climbed up the fence trying to keep her rather short skirt from being too revealing, but she shyly jumped down into the waiting arms of Jeff. Jeff looked at her. Yes right in the eyes. Her hair shining blonde, with a red hair band to tie it together behind her head like a ponytail. Both embraced each other just as if they were not sure just what to do. "Lets go Tracy said". There are lots of big ones down this path towards the sunlit pasture." Jeff then picked several of these strawberries and he ate a couple of them and handed one to Tracy. Wow she said. "These sure taste different than the other berries we picked at first". The berries had a lemon taste but sweet enough to want you to eat more of them, which they both did, of course. As they walked down the laneway to the sunlit area of grass, Tracy stopped and said, "I think I hear a horn blowing. I'll run back to the fence to see if the buses are still there." After a minute Jeff heard Tracy yelling. "The buses are all gone", she said almost in tears.

With a fear filled voice, she shouted "Jeff, Jeff we missed the last bus". Jumping down from the fence, this time there was no Jeff to catch her, she started running to find Jeff. "Oh my God" she said as she ran, what will we do? We're miles from the town of Edgewater. As she was running it seemed that there was another small roadway through the forest to the pastureland that she hadn't seen before. Repeatedly she yelled out "Jeff, Jeff". The small laneway now seemed much longer and it was starting to darken a little. Tracy was just terrified and inside her stomach fluttering and knotting like just before an argument or an exam. Tears streamed down her face it somehow emphasized her deep blue eyes, and the tears just seemed to increase her young beauty. "Oh God am I lost?" she said with a quivering voice mixed with crying and creepy fear. A big lump now in her throat certainly enhanced the sense of fear and being lost at the same time.

The laneway somehow seemed to change and it seemed to be getting smaller than before. I'm sure I took the right pathway she said. She got to the clearing but it was not the same. It seemed different somehow. I'm lost now for sure she said to herself with tears streaming down her cheeks, what am I going to do? It's getting darker now and somehow it seemed to be getting dark before it's time. She had no real way to tell the time. Without a watch she could only assume by the length of her shadow that it was getting close to sunset. Where was Jeff? Where was I, she thought? What's going on? This is not the pasture we went to the first time, its different; it's just not the same. Tracy ran back down the lane to the fence. The laneway seemed to be getting narrow and the brush was closing in on her, scraping her arms. She was afraid and it was getting much darker. She could hear the mosquitoes starting to buzz and Tracy had a lot of bare legs and arms to invite hungry bugs to a feast of fresh young skin. She was soon at the fence; but was this the same place where she jumped over into Jeff's arms? She wanted Jeff now in the worst way. Tracy was all alone in the darkened forest and fear gripped her again.

She stumbled back to the clearing, crying and swatting at the mosquitoes that were having a bloody feast on her legs and arms. She fell and this time she was somewhat stunned. She stood up but was very dizzy. She fell down again, but when she looked up she was at the clearing again. Tracy heard something. It was not just the frogs and the crickets. It was a voice. Her name was being called from the other side of the clearing. T-r-a-c-y the voice called. If you can hear me go over to the end of the clearing. Am I hearing voices or is this just in my mind, she thought? She cried in a somewhat muffled way with wet cheeks and some scratches on her legs and arms. She was able to stand up now and she walked slowly, following the voice that was calling her. T-r-a-c-y, the voice called now getting louder, T-r-a-c-y. Go over to the hemlock tree, the voice said. She was panicking and running, as the voice told her to do, but what is a hemlock tree she wondered? The clearing was in darkness but there was just enough light to see a big tree at the end of the clearing. There was a bit of lightning, and a little thunder, as if a storm was brewing up to a boil. Raindrops now spit here and there.

Tracy was at the base of the tree and she crawled on her hands and knees under the boughs of the hemlock tree so she would feel a little safer. Lightning, now and then, seemed to bring daylight to the underbrush and she was surprised to see a cottontail rabbit with about six young ones all looking at her. She smiled, the first smile she had made since she entered this forest. She was tired and hungry. "Hi Tracy", she turned and saw Jeff's head looking in from the other side of the tree trunk. "Jeff, Jeff", thank God I've found you. She was having happy bursts of giggling and tears at the same time. On hands and knees they went to each other. They hugged and embraced each other and looked closely into each other's eyes. It was a hypnotic stare as they got closer and closer. Tracy's lips touched Jeff's lips. It was like an unknowing adventure of love.

It was their first kiss. The kiss and the embrace soon broke up. There was a mighty crack of lightning on the back of very loud thunder. They both knew that a tree was not a safe place to be during a storm. They crawled out and into the field. Holding each other's hands they walked quickly to the now visible pathway that they had gone down the first time. She and Jeff were wet now from the heavy rainfall. The rain felt cool and refreshing on Tracy, as it seemed to wash away the scratch marks on her arms and legs. Her shirt, now soaking wet, showed even more of her growing womanly stature.

She untied her hair and shook her head, somewhat like a dog after a bath. They were safe and they were both hungry and tired when they finally came to the barbed wire fence. They climbed together. The fear was gone and the tears vanished along with the lump that had been in her throat. Jeff clenched Tracy under her arms and twirled her around several times till they both got dizzy and fell down. They were laughing now and sat down beside each other. Their heads touched each other as they lay down, for they were so very, very tired. Sleep now caressed their young bodies and they slept with a smile on their faces.

A deep sleep, somewhat like a lucid dream came upon them. They were each within each other's dream. It was perfect, a life of happiness and the dream being a door to another life of bliss. Hand in hand they walked through this magnificent dreamland in full perspective of a perfect marriage with a graceful and pleasant ending. It was a dream of love and each, in their own way, expressed their feelings in this beautiful land. There was no time. Just a never-ending dream in each other's arms.

The stillness of the dream soon ended as the vice principal shook the both of them into the reality of the real world. "What have you two been doing," he said. Still sleepy from the dream they said that they were picking strawberries and just felt tired and lay down. "A likely story that is", said the vice principal and grabbed them by the arms and got them to their feet. The bus was honking the horn in the distance and the vice principal marched them quickly back to the bus. Chad Myers was not the kind of vice principal you'd want to tangle with. He was blunt and to the point. "Get into the bus" he said. Tracy got in first and found a seat, followed by Jeff who took the seat directly behind her. Tracy turned around and smiled at Jeff. Then they both started a laughing fit that made all the other kids wonder just what happened to make them so long coming back.

As they got off the bus both parents were waiting in their cars. Tracy looked back at Jeff and said, "Jeff thank you for spending so much of your life with me" and she winked at him and smiled as she drove away with her mom and dad.

Wayne Anthony Dec 28-03