Sitting beside the window, all I could hear was the chugging. It would only take a few more hours. Had I been away for too long? I haven’t seen them for so long. I knew they would’ve picked me up if I let them know.

I first saw her on my first newspaper run in the summer. Uncle had shown me a new way around the village. Cycling past the broken gate, I could smell the lavenders. Like the wind chimes, her voice had that special clarity. I’d stopped and had a peek at her tending the gardens and talking to those flowers. Over the months people had to be satisfied with the late newspapers. I knew by the end of the summer what I had to strive for.

I moved forward tentatively. I’d wanted so much out of life. Every time I achieved something I knew there was something better out there somewhere. All this while I was away, I knew I’d find it somewhere far away. Was it too late to come back? Would she still be here? Why did life always pose too many questions and not enough answers? I could still smell the lavender and hear the wind chimes. I yearned to hear the excited young voices again.

Every paper round was special. There were always lavenders. They always looked lovely with her long, tender hands nurturing them. The days I didn’t find her in the garden, she’d be sitting under the oak tree, just by the stables with a book in her hand. She’d always be speaking to someone or the other. Sometimes, it would be to children to whom she offered the flowers rather too kindly. I’d hoped that one day I would be at the receiving end. Rather too often, I’d hoped she would notice me. Then again, a peeping tom wasn’t always welcomed whole heartedly. Though, life always did have surprises in stock for you.

Journeying home alone was certainly a new experience. Not knowing what lay ahead of me took me back to those moments when you’d wait keenly for that one girl you loved to say yes. This certainly felt like that and more. I wondered if it’d be more effective if I arrived again on a cycle. Though I doubted very much on whether I’d exude the innocence and charm of those early days. That scared me more than the changes that may have occurred to her. To me, she’d always be the girl I saw surrounded by lavenders, with the long auburn hair. On a nice summer day, you could see the rays glistening off the long locks. Today was one of those sunny days.

Summer was coming to an end. I’d been worried on what I’d do once I’d have to return. I was going to miss the flowers. I had grown accustomed to seeing everything in a periwinkle shade. I shall miss the voice of the one who tended those beautiful flowers. It was my last paper round. I had slowed down and treaded slowly towards the gate. The fragrance was overwhelming. Eyes wide open; I stared at the delicate hand stretched forth with a bunch of flowers. Then, I knew that this was only the beginning.

I could see the gate from here, it was still broken. Some things were always constant. There wasn’t anybody bearing flowers for me…yet.  I could hear children, those excited young voices. As I stepped past the gate they ran across to me hands outstretched bearing flowers. Whilst I realized that the joys of life were never far away, their mother smiled tending to her namesakes. From that smile, I knew that my life was always back here, with my Lavender.

PS: This one has been dedicated to my dearest sister Dhaya and our charming doctor Aaron who have been bugging me to write a happy story for ages. :)