To read part 1 of this story-

Hannah tossed the rest of her bourbon down and tilted her glass towards me.  Again, I hastily rushed to the bar to make her a fresh drink.  I was fascinated by her life and elated that she was sharing the evening with me.  When I returned with her cocktail she gave me another nod and a tilt of the glass in appreciation.  I eagerly sat down facing her, beckoning her attention to go back to the story. 

“I couldn’t believe I was going to England.  I was sixteen and eager for the experience. Mama was going to drop me off at the airport and then I would be meeting up with her college roommate Abigail at London’s Heathrow Airport. For the long journey there I would be on my own. I spent weeks planning my outfits and making lists of things I would do while I was there. Abigail had two sons that were both slightly older so it made staying with Abigail exciting and frightening. Living in a small community had provided me with a good sense of self, but it had not provided me with a boyfriend. None deemed worthy of a relationship outside of friendship. My mother had always preached waiting for the right one to me and thus far I had no crushes to tempt me. Finally, the day of my flight had arrived. My mother was beside herself with glee. She had visited England once when she was in college. Her parents had agreed to let her go home with Abigail for Spring break one year and she said it forever changed her for the better. Mama believed it was important for a woman to not only be educated, but well-traveled. She helped me load her Volvo with my bags and a small cooler for our trip to the airport. It was a two hour trip to get there and in true mama fashion we would need to leave five hours in advance to get there. On the bright side, I could listen to my new Cure tape on the way there. She had bought me a new walkman for the trip, too. She was a great mom. We arrived at RDU airport with bags in tow on a Wednesday in June of 1985. She waited the three hours until boarding with me despite my attempts to tell her to go home. When the flight was called, mama squeezed my hand and handed me a small box. She told me to open it on the plane. We hugged and kissed each other good bye and I thanked her again for giving me the trip. To my awesome surprise the flight wasn’t full and I ended up with a row to myself. Once we were in the air, I opened the box which contained a note and a jewelry box. The note simply said Always Follow Your Dreams and the jewelry box contained a small silver airplane charm to add to my bracelet. I smiled at the thoughtfulness of the gift and put the charm on my bracelet. The flight was a bear, but my new walkman and Cure tape helped me get through it. I was so excited when the airplane landed. I knew that Abigail or Aunt Abby as I had always called her would be waiting for me with a big sign and a huge grin. She and mama had ruled at college. They were both beautiful, smart blonds. Abigail’s English accent had always mixed well with mama’s North Carolina one. They had been joined at the hip all through college and had maintained their friendship over the years. I knew mama wanted to make the visit herself and she hoped she would be able to join us midsummer, but at the time there was too much going on for her to get away. As I predicted Abigail was waiting for me with a huge sign. She hugged me for what seemed like forever before she even said hello to me. I didn’t care. I was just so excited to be there. I was going to spend the summer with her family and I planned on enjoying every minute of it. Between the money I had saved all year and the money mama had given me, I would be able to enjoy most everything there. Finally Aunt Abby let go of me and proceeded to tell me of all the plans she had for us. Although I knew Aunt Abby really well from all of her visits to the states, I didn’t know her family and I didn’t know her country. After claiming our baggage we hailed a taxi for a ride to the nearby train station. The train ride was glorious. I was in awe of the views of the countryside. As we neared our stop Abby squeezed my hand and asked me if I was ready? Ready for what I asked? She simply replied, Everything and smiled a huge grin at me. When we got off of the train her oldest son was there waiting for us. Charles was twenty one and very handsome. He came over to us and greeted me kindly and grabbed my bags. I thanked him, but could not quite make eye contact with him. I was unsure of the feelings that I was experiencing. Aunt Abby just gave me a knowing nod and told Charles to step on it. Their home was even better than I had imagined. I had my own room with adjoining bathroom taking most of my fear away about sharing a house for the summer with boys…especially cute ones. Aunt Abby told me to meet her in the kitchen after I had settled myself in so she could show me around the house and grounds. While I was unpacking I couldn’t help but notice the nearby stables out of my window. I had never ridden a horse before. Growing up on a river had provided me with lots of fishing experience, but no horseback riding ones. I guess that was just one more thing I would add to my list for the summer. I met Abby in the kitchen shortly after and was greeted with the aroma of freshly baked cookies. The recipe was my moms and it made me love Abby even more for making them for me. This was going to be a great summer.”

To be continued…


9 thoughts on “Leaving the River-part 2 (a story of fiction)

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