True Love?

Beside the chapel they will stand,
Smiling happily hand in hand.
Knowing that they have found the one,
Their lives have only just begun.

Soaking up the rays of the sun,
He stares at her whilst she’s still young.
“I will grow old with you my dear,
And I’ll remind you every year.”

Now time was passing oh so fast,
Their wedding was now in the past.
She longed to have children to love,
But children… He would not talk of.

They argued every single night,
She thought he did it out of spite.
But really he was just afraid,
If kids were born – their love would fade.

But he eventually gave in,
And she gave birth to Katherine.
The baby made them bond much more,
Their love was stronger than before.

Things did get rough along the way,
But it was true love, every day.

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Reminiscing by the fire side

in January 2013, devastating wildfires hit the Australian island of Tasmania. Amongst the devastation of land and property, the papers seemed to focus on one man’s heroic rescue of his family.

Having recently been reading about Welshman Tim Holmes, a resident of Dunnalley in Tasmania who saved his wife and his 5 grandchildren during hours of thick smoke and ferocious flames, the tragic wildfire involving the Holmes family from Dunnalley in Tasmania which occurred in January of this year inspired me to write the following short story. The wildfires affected hundreds of properties across Tasmania. Whilst reading through the many articles explaining the chaotic scenes, I couldn’t help but speculate about what memories this would hold to a child many years later.

Matilda, aged 11 at the time, remembers jumping into the water, it was anything but refreshing. As it gently touched my bare arms, I felt calm and I felt like I could pretend that my siblings and I had not just experienced the most terrifying affair of our lives but there was no disguising the fact that we just had. I will never forget the terror in my grandmother’s eyes as I looked over once we were all in the water. I remember how fast my heart was beating and how the sweat dripped from my forehead into my eyes, blinding me, but being the eldest child, it was my duty, I had to protect them. I held my youngest sister so tightly as the water began to heat up. We saw tornado’s of fire coming towards us at rapid speeds and there was only about 200 to 300 millimetres of air above the water. The atmosphere was indescribably toxic. I can’t emphasise enough how petrified I was, the memories were so intense that I still feel them burning at the back of my mind yet I knew I had to remain calm to prevent the rest of my family from panicking.

I recall my grandfather calling us over as the heat was almost unbearable.
“Over here” he yelled. As he led us towards a small dinghy, we climbed in and it took my family and I further offshore. Sheltering under a jetty was the wisest idea at the time despite the fact the water was up to our chins and we were all struggling to breathe in the sweltering heat and lack of air. I glanced to my left and my grandfather held a camera up, I was confused but smiling was the first thing that I thought of when I saw a camera so I tried my very best to smile for a photo, attempting to forget the current situation we were in. It was so difficult. Looking at that photo brings back so many emotions making me feel tearful and nervous but keeping the fact that we survived in my mind has always encouraged me to strive for more as I have aged. By Matilda Walker, retired senior ecologist for the United Nations.u

A Christmas Date.

I remember when I was a child, walking outside and breathing out warm air, telling my little brother that I looked like a dragon. Strolling down the cobbled streets, holding his hand, trying hard not to slip over. That memory of my childhood was so vivid, especially in the winter, we used to do that walk every day to school. I missed him. Now that I was older, I imagined it to be different but I still got the same wintery feeling I did when I was younger. The city was a lot busier now though, it always was near Christmas. It was 3 days before the 25th and I had a date tonight. I was nervous, I hadn’t properly communicated with anyone since I lost my little brother in the crash. But I think I was ready, I was lonely and this would help me, of course it would. I wandered down the streets of London, window shopping for a festive dress. I was thinking red, maybe a royal blue. I stopped outside a posh looking shop, and a dress in the window caught my eye, it was perfect and I had to try it on. I entered the shop and the atmosphere was strange, a variety of smells hit my nose. Cinnamon, mulled wine, gingerbread… I spotted a little old lady sat at the till, sewing something and humming along to Cliff Richard- Mistletoe and wine I made my way over to the dress…
“How much?” I asked
“£25 my dear” The woman replied.
I smiled and took my size off the hanger, I tried the dress on and it was perfect for the occasion, I couldn’t not purchase it. I was getting butterflies about this date. How do I act? My mother always told me to be myself but I wasn’t sure if I liked myself so why would anyone else? I left the shop and an icy breeze hit my face, I could feel my cheeks turning rosy red. I put my hat on and made my way back home, I had 2 hours to prepare myself. I practised my smile in the mirror until I felt comfortable. I looked at my wrist watch and my date was arriving in 15 minutes. The butterflies began fluttering again. I heard my doorbell ring, it couldn’t be him. He was early! I looked through the peep hole but all I could see was a red blur. I slowly opened the door and there was a gentleman holding a large bunch of roses. He gave me them with a note which read ‘See you soon beautiful. Love William.’ Wow. I was speechless, the man handed me the flowers and I admired them, the colour matched my dress exactly. I replaced them with some Lily’s which had been in my favourite vase for a few weeks and I smiled to myself, this man was definitely going to be someone special.
I powdered my nose, combed my hair and took a deep breath, my doorbell rang again. I took another deep breath and opened the door.
“Hello you.” He said in such a sweet, calm voice as he grinned. I didn’t know how to react so I giggled and said greeted him back, matching up to his friendliness. The first thing I noticed was his eyes. They were a deep hazel colour, they reminded me of the fresh bark on a growing tree, they were huge and his eyelashes were thick and long, I looked into his eyes and found myself getting lost so I shook my head and followed him out of the door. He brushed his hand against mine as we walked down the street and I took hold of it, I had never met this man before, but it felt right already.
“Thank you for the roses, they are beautiful.” I thanked him.
“You’re welcome.” He replied. We strolled down the cobbled street which reminded me so much of my little brother, I felt myself tearing up and grasped Williams hand harder, took a deep breath, looked up at him and smiled. I admired the Christmas lights, my favourite one was the dancing Santa which was above the bakery where I bought a donut for my brother every Tuesday afternoon. We entered a small Italian restaurant where we had reserved a table.
Time went by and we had shared a creamy carbonara pasta dish and a delicious black forest cheesecake and chatted the whole time, he had so many stories to share and so did I. He was such an interesting person and I didn’t feel bored at any moment. Why had we clicked so well? I asked myself. We were very similar and that helped us get along a lot. But I started asking myself whether he was feeling the same or whether I was being a hopeless romantic, what if I had started interacting with others too quickly after my brother’s death? I felt it was helping me though, I had to stop overthinking and panicking, he wouldn’t have sent me flowers or let me hold his hand if he wasn’t interested. We walked outside and the temperature had definitely dropped from before. I looked at him and he had rosy cheeks like me, He looked at me and smiled. I suddenly felt a lot warmer, his smile was enough to make any girl feel like a princess. We took a stroll by the Thames and he suggested we visit the German Market. It was very romantic and Christmassy, I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible in the space of this night. But it started to get late and I was feeling sleepy, he noticed it, I thought that was so lovely. He walked me home, still holding my hand. He stopped and put his hands in his pockets. Had I done something wrong? I worried, but he brought his gloves out of his pocket and gave them to me. I was really falling for this man. He reminded me of someone but I really couldn’t put a finger on who it was. He continued walking back to my apartment, the temperature constantly dropping. My thoughts were invaded with things such as ‘will he kiss me?’ ‘should I kiss him?’ ‘will I see him again?’ but I tried not to panic.
We reached my front door and the moment had arrived. He held both of my hands and looked deep into my eyes. There were the butterflies again.
“I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you, I’d love to see you again.” Inside, I was screaming and dancing and all things crazy you can possibly think of but on the outside, I remained calm and collected.
“Me too William.” I kept it cool and I was proud of myself despite the fact I was actually going crazy due to my excitement. He began to lean in. Oh my. What do I do? He is going to kiss me. I was panicking. But I wanted to kiss him, I really wanted to kiss him. But my mind started overloading and all I could think about was who this man reminded me of. His lips were nearly touching mine and then it came to me. It was my little brother. He reminded me of my little brother who was tragically killed in a car crash 2 months ago. He paused and caught my eye, I felt myself welling up again.
“I’m sorry.” I said, and entered my house.