The dampness of late June evenings stuck to her skin like honey. She stared out along the river’s bank shaded by Spanish moss and priceless privacy as she walked over to a low hanging Magnolia branch placed conveniently near the water – nature’s perfect bench. Taking a seat in the tree, already passed its prime of the season, she remembered the sweet smell of the blossoms as she posed for pictures in her cap and gown just a month ago. So quickly the blooms had begun to wilt. Hearing the crunch of crisp dead grass behind her, she turned with a smile on her face, already aware of who would be joining her.
He recognized her happiness and shared a boyish grin in return, wrapping his arms around her from behind, placing a peck on her sun-kissed cheek. Suddenly the blossoms were full and fragrant; the grass was lush and as green as his emerald eyes. This was a moment that would never leave her memory.
“It’s not gentlemanly to make a girl wait, you know?” She spoke flirtatiously keeping her eyes far from his gaze as she batted her long, naked lashes. “It’s not like I don’t have anything else to do beside wait for your ass.”
“And you’re such the lady with a mouth like that!” He laughed at her innocent hypocrisy, climbing over the Magnolia’s limb and taking a seat on the grass just in front of her branch, leaning backwards before he found his balance.
“I’m more of a lady than most,” she said, shooting him a playful look daring him to counter her statement. When he responded with nothing but an earnest smile, she couldn’t keep the small distance between them any longer. She jumped off the tree into his unexpecting arms, the force of her leap sending them both into the uncut grass.
For what seemed a lifetime past infinity they remained silent in the unkept greenery – him brushing auburn hair out of her dusk grey eyes, her running a thumb softly across his callused palm, her lean fingers wrapped around his strong hand.
He jumped up without a warning, startling her out of daydreams of love and life to be lived. Slowly following him, she sat up, running her hands over the blades of grass, tickled by their touch. As the sun dipped below the tree line and the cicadas began their nightly concert, she couldn’t help but fall in love with life’s new possibilities.
“Ready to jump in?” He asked, throwing his shirt effortlessly across the low branch, turning back to offer her a hand.
“Yeah. Yeah, I think I am,” she responded with more confidence than she thought she owned. Biting her lower lip to control her smile, she found his hand and held on. Even the hot Southern summer breeze couldn’t thaw this moment frozen in time.