(This was fun! Stay tuned for whatever is coming next!)
There were three people on opposite sides of the park. An expanse of green spread out between them, dotted by picnic baskets, umbrellas, babies taking shaky steps. Above, a blue ocean of sky. They couldn’t see one another well, but they waved all the same.
They made up stories about each other. The old man was a war veteran. The young boy was his grandchild. The two women and the girl were a new family, brought together by love.
The stories were happy ones, and there were some truths in there, but it didn’t matter. It was a perfect day.
The yeti said ‘I love you’ with mushrooms brought to the seashore, and the mermaid always smiled. He would kneel down and she would braid his long, mossy hair with seaweed, and he chased the gulls away when they dove at her shimmering tail.
The mermaid said ‘I want you here with me’ with abalone and clams. He would build fires at night on the beach and dig tidal pools for her to lounge in, and they watched the stars shine and fade.
And even when her breasts sagged and his hair fell out in clumps, they still remained together.
“Please don’t go,” she said to him, through the tears only a seven-year-old in love could show. “Please don’t move. I’ll let you play with all my toys. As much as you want.”
“My parents are making me. We’re going to Alaska. I’ll send you pictures,” he said, as stoic as a nine-year-old can be.
“But you’ll come back, right?” She blew her nose on his sleeve, even though he made a face. “You’ll come back and see me?”
“I think so,” he said, believing the words.
And every month, there was a postcard with a moose in the mailbox.
They lived in the house together, all five of them, and there was always tea and fresh-cut flowers and blankets in the winter. The house smelled like lemon, and when any of them hurt or felt pain, the other four would enclose them in a circle of love.
Of course, there was talk of the strangers in the beautiful house on the hill. About how their love was something to be feared, something to avoid.
But the yellow walls and brown shutters held tight and fast. Inside, the five needed only one another, and they were happy in that knowledge.