The words over at Three Word Wednesday at collapse, sweet and yearn.
In the woods near my home, I discover a trail, a slit of brown in an otherwise overgrown green of spring grasses. I am compelled to follow it.
At this time of day, the path is neither tacky with dewy mud or dusty with fine dust, like talcum powder. It twists thinly past a stand of gnarled oak, a game trail, really.
I follow through the brook, up a hill to where it enters a horseshoe-shaped meadow. In the middle, there’s a sandy mound, a rise where the wild plants have been trampled, beaten back.
Standing on the top of the mound is a girl, her long flaxen hair swirls in the breeze. Her skin is like milk, kissed with the first of many summer freckles. She’s barefoot and holds in her hands a bouquet of plucked wildflowers.
Her dress is as white as her flesh, but slick like satin.
I am enamored. My chest fills with the elevated thump of my heart. Hot breath pumps from my nostrils as I gulp the air, missing the sweet smell of damp grass, wild blossoms. I am consumed, heated, feral.
For I see, coming down a web of similar trails, other young men. Some with their shirts off, forearms and faces tanned, but bodies sickly ashen, a condition of the long winter. Working my father’s fields gives me an advantage, so I peel off my T-shirt and reveal my overall roasted tone, like fine olive oil.
At this, the girl waves, her fingers roll in synchronicity.
And each boy makes a mad dash for the mound. Great battles by twos break out. From a side path to my own, a boy appears from a clump of new saplings. He turns toward me - he’s a head taller and much thinner - and cries in a low, guttural way.
He sweeps a curly lock of hair the color of wet coffee grounds from his reddened face, charges. I pick up curled piece of oak, widen my stance and swing, hitting him in the chest, mid-charge. He collapses into the meadow, eyes stung with tears, arms folded to his ribcage.
I look up at the girl. She’s dropped to a sitting position, the flowers splayed across the hammock of material that is her dress. She’s watching the battles, clapping softly, smiling slyly.
My fierce heart yearns to be with her, so I look for another combatant to vanquish.