E L E V E N
When he was at uni, Harry was taught many fundamental things in the craft of writing. First and foremost, he was taught to always write what he knew, this was imperative. He was taught never to write on a topic he most certainly did not understand, nor that he would ever comprehend. He was also taught to veer away from attempting to write a memoir, unless he was an extraordinarily interesting enigma of a person who merited his own novel. So he was at an ends form the beginning of his course, not really understanding what his task was. If his life was not interesting enough to merit a written story, then what else could he write about? What did he know? Of course, there were not many things Harry had learned at uni, nor that he knew well, other than the fact that he had hated the institutionalization of education as a whole. In the classes he had taken, and of course had failed, he hadn't failed for sheer lack of knowledge, he had failed them because of the constraints that were forced upon him. In his introduction to writing class, he was told that his writing could come off as too pretentious, unrelatable, completely and utterly unappealing. No one wanted to read his short stories, no one wanted to comment on his exercises, and most infuriating of all...his professor had informed him that the topic he planned to write about was not within the topics she had chosen for the class. So, on top of completely destroying any sense of creativity he had, uni had completely taken away from him the ability to write what he had wanted to. And, what was the point of taking classes, if not to find what you love in the context of a classroom setting that inspires you to grow? He was supposed to grow as a writer, and the perimeters enforced upon him had most certainly prevented him from doing so.
But, here he was, two years later, taking yet another crack at the art of writing. Of course, he realized, that not much had changed. Still, his life did not merit a book nor was it interesting enough for others to read about, so he had figured another subject was to be used. His story, he realized, would be about Mia. It would be about both of them, about their life, their flourishing friendship, perhaps their potential love? He was not quite sure yet what the outcome of this ridiculous attempt would be, other than utter humiliation if anyone were ever to find out.
He began simply by placing a quote on the blank page in front of the pages he had already filled. A quote by Bukowski that fitted his strawberry girl perfectly.
"She mad, but she's magic. There's no lie in her fire."
He flips the page and looks at it, at the messy bulletpoints he had made. There was something reassuring in them, almost as if he was showing himself that he had lived through this. He had met this girl that made him feel something he hadn't ever felt before, and he had asked her out. He had asked her out. What he wanted to write from there, he was not quite sure. He didn't want to alter what had happened. Then again, that defeated the purpose of a novel. But, he realizes, looking at the bulletpoints of everything that had happened thus far, that he didn't need to literally write his own story. His actions were his pen, and his reality his paper. This journal, this journal would simply do as a transcript. A living artifact of the days he spent with Mia. Of the many days they have before them. And suddenly, he wanted to fill all of the pages. He wondered, what it would feel like to reach the end of this journal. Would he start another? Would there be volumes? He shook his head, realizing that asking that would be like questioning his barely blossoming relationship with Mia.
He places the journal's page marker between a completely filled page and a blank one. He smiled, realizing that by tonight, that blank page would have their adventure written upon it's clean, white space.
"You said you trusted me." Mia says with a devious smile upon her face.
"That was before you dragged me well into the forest, Mia."
"Harry, don't be a priss. We'll be there soon."
He watches as she walks in front of him, her sneakers making holes into the fresh, dewy, ground. Her long her sways behind her, and he can't help but smile at the small spring in her step. She looks utterly excited.
Harry can't help but still be apprehensive though, after all they had been walking in this forest for the past half hour at least. He hadn't been prepared at all for any type of interaction with nature, and most surely had more than a dozen mosquito bites already.
"We're here." She says, walking up to an expansive wall of greenery.
Harry's brow furrows as she signals to the leaves and trees, "Where are we?"
She smiles at him once more, before walking into the jungle like greenery.
He watches as she pushes through the large amount of leaves and branches, twigs snapping and foliage rustling. He follows her, still apprehensive, still a bit up in arms.
That is, until he reaches the other side.
"Yeah?" She says staring at the land before them with her hands upon her slim hips.
"Where are we?"
She turns to look at him, her face glowing and her smile wider than ever, "My home."
He looks before them at the antique wooden cabin, surely made of some type of pine. But the land around it, the land they stood in front of...
"Strawberries." Harry muttered, in awe. He had never seen so many of the sweet summer fruit in one place. Of course, there was the small field near the bakery, but never would it compare to this. It would never compare to the acres of blooming greens and reds, surrounding them like the Garden of Eden.
"Yep." She says walking towards the multitude of blossoming leaflets.
"You live here?"Harry was sure he had dropped her off at a flat similar to his. How could she live here?
"My mum used to." She says grabbing a near by watering can and starting to lightly drizzle upon the beautifully red fruit. She starts at the very first row on the end, and Harry begins to walk down the row directly adjacent to her, so that he can look at her face as she walks.
"She passed last year."
"I'm sorry." He says solemnly.
"She lives on Harry, don't be sorry."
She nods towards the plants and smiles, "Love."
A labor of love, no doubt. He wondered how he would be remembered in that moment, if ever he were to pass. Her mother lived on through the summer fruit, the acres and acres of the decadent, tart, and fragrant strawberries. But what would he leave?
"They're beautiful." He says, walking down a row, examining each and every one. She watches him from the corner of her eye, as he carefully removes a dried leaf from one of the stems upon the ground. She knows he's aware that he's the first person she's ever brought here. He has to sense it. This place was far too special for her to share, but somehow she knew he was worthy.
"So this explains the obsession with the strawberries." He says, continuing to walk further away, wanting to explore every inch of the beautiful land.
"Mmhmm." She says, going up and down the rows, lightly letting the water fall upon every leaf.
Of course it would explain the obsession with strawberries, but watching her as she continued to lovingly nurture her beloved field, he couldn't help but wonder what would explain his obsession with her. Did infatuation ever need an explanation?
At the moment, as she looks up at him and hands him an extra watering can, Harry figured it didn't. His infatuation would never need a reasoning, as long as he had her to drive him mad.