‘Promises’ by Gabriella Petrillo

The midday sun settled in the centre of the sky, highlighting dandelion seeds as they danced like fairies. Delicate wisps of wind caused the two girls’ dresses to float and carried their cheerful giggles away with the summer air. They had returned to their favourite meadow for the fifth day in a row. Their wall lined the edge of the field, a main footpath on the other side. The soil below was parched and the grass was a fetching faded green- a beautiful picture in the eyes of two young souls.

One girl sat on the warm stone, letting her legs to dangle close to where her friend was busily etching something into the rock with the penknife she allegedly borrowed from her father’s garage. “What are you doing?” Small strands of strawberry blonde hair fell as she looked down at her friend, who soon met her curious gaze.

“I’m carving our names in our wall, to make sure we never, ever forget each other.” Unaware of her friend’s fading smile, she returned to her work, the faint shape of the letter ‘D’ gradually materializing.

“We will forget each other?” The scraping continued.

“Yes, because that’s what happens when you grow old.” Her voice was sweet sounding, but the words were harsh.

Her friend held back tears, talking weakly, “But I don’t want to forget you.” A single tear rolled down her cheek, that’s when the carving ceased. After a moment of contemplation, and pools gathering behind the eyes, the girl stated,

“Then, lets make a promise,” her pinkie finger outstretched, “a promise to return to our names on our wall in… seventy years.” The other girl’s eyes widened, darting between her friend’s hand and her desperate eyes. “Do you promise?” Silence.

“Do you?”

Her hand gesture is finally taken, “I promise.”

They exchanged smiles brighter than the sun watching over them; the same sun that would mark the passing of days, months and years until their return. For hours after, they played. Every day they would sit by the wall, until only one friend would come. Despite their friend’s absence, they would play and laugh- until they, too, never came.

Soon their wall grew lonely, with only bugs and birds to keep it company. However this company never smiled or danced or carved their names, it would simply leave as quickly as it arrived. Years passed, and it came apparent that they had indeed grown up. Every now and then the friends would walk the footpath, never together, and neither of them would stop. Years passed and they had partners beside them, then children beside them; wrinkles, cuts and curves until… they were alone again.

The midday sun settled in the centre of the sky, highlighting the rims of her glasses as she leaned against the wall. Beside her feet was a small carving of letters surrounded by a heart. Familiar footsteps approached and they both smiled; the same children they were seventy years ago.

“I kept my promise.”