A short story by Jess Britton, author based in York
The terrapins always look like they are confused here, looking up at the sky with their blank faces. You and me both mate, she thinks.
Sitting down on the nearest bench, Jenny’s mind wanders to the fact that she hasn’t heard from him in a couple of days. The worry was starting to set in.
Her company had offered to send her over to Hong Kong for the summer to help set up their new office and she believed it would be a wonderful opportunity, and so did Jim. Until a few days ago when she started hearing from him less.
She’s been here for four months now and even though it’s been tough, she firmly believes that the relationship is strong enough to withstand it. Maybe she was wrong, she thought, as she took a sip of her coffee.
‘You okay?’ Jenny was brought back to reality by a passing stranger looking down at her with concern in their eyes.
She smiled back, ‘Yes thank you, miles away!’ The woman grinned, nodded and walked off. When the stranger was out of view she started walking across the path towards her hotel; it was nearly tea time after all.
The next day she returned, her little daily ritual. As she sat down on the bench nearest to her friends the terrapins she opened up her messages. Nothing. She rang him, no answer. Wow, she thought, why the silent treatment? She remembered the last phone call they had. Monday, was it? Nothing seemed untoward, he seemed a little distracted but nothing of any concern.
Sighing at the hopelessness of it all, she went back to her hotel room and tried his phone again.
‘I just don’t understand it, Mel, I haven’t heard from him in a week!’ Jenny cried, sitting on the same bench in Hong Kong Park.
‘Calm down, I’m sure there’s a rational explanation.’ Little-miss-reasonable exclaimed on the other end of the line.
‘I don’t think there is Mel. I think he’s just too chicken to tell me it’s over.’
‘Now why would he leave you? I-I just don’t see the logic.’
Jenny rested her face in the palm of her free hand, ‘I can think of a million reasons.’
‘Have faith Jen, I really can’t see that being the case. Look, I have to go. Ollie’s crying again and I can tell that Harry is going to ignore him until I get there.’
‘Okay, see you later.’
‘Bye, and try ringing him again!’
After a few tries, she got up. Finally resigning herself to her fate, she walked towards her hotel once again.
As she was passing the fountain in the park she noticed that white roses had enveloped the water fountain, and in the middle a man stood with his back to her, with the same chocolate brown hair as Jim’s. She sighed. Is everything going to remind me of him?
‘Jenny!’ The man called, and as she swirled around she could see it, the explanation, It all made sense now.
‘Will you marry me?’
- Long Distance - January 31, 2022