"Come on Frank, we have to go!" My mother said giddily as she stepped out of the house.
I groaned and tugged at the piece of fabric that was currently attempting to strangle me.
Every time I get a break from college, I come home. I love my family and I miss them a lot, but every spring, there's this annual garden dance party tea thing at someone's big, over priced house. Turns out the owner of that house is one of my mother's friends so she always has to drag me over there for that event. I don't go out to formal events anymore; I'm either studying or at work. The tie, the jackets, the pants... a far cry from sweats, big sweaters and my work uniform.
"Frank! Stop tugging on that tie and get in the car!"
I rolled my eyes and stepped in.
"Lily! It's so nice to see you again!"
My mother rushed over to a tall elegant lady with grey hair and a floral dress.
That's the friend who owns this place. She's widowed, doesn't have any kids, and she rarely goes away from her property. She has someone else do all of her groceries and random errands. These events are the only times I see her. She can be a bit rude but other than that, I guess she can be a nice person.
"Mrs. Goodman, it's great to see you again." I extended my hand and put on my best smile.
"The garden is that way." She lazily pointed a finger to a general direction and didn't even shake my hand.
She's quite a lovely person.
As soon as I stepped into the garden, my mother was swept away by some friends and I was left all alone. I sighed and went to go find drinks and food.
Sadly, when I arrived to the food table, I totally forgot that they make their sandwiches the size of my thumb and the fruit is cut up into pieces the size of sugar cubes and don't even get me started on the dessert. I should've done what I have been doing for years, which is to eat a huge meal before I came. But the thought just slipped my mind.
I grabbed a plate (Which happens to be extremely small. Go figure.) and pilled on about four sandwiches which earned a cold glare from my mother across the garden.
I moved over to my left but I felt a bump and heard,
"Oh, beg your pardon."
A girl about my age was balancing two plates each piled with sandwiches, fruit, and dessert.
I chuckled at the sight in front of me. She blushed and said in a beautiful sing-song voice,
"Uh. Hi. Yeah, I'm sorry, I understand that you're really not supposed to eat this much and I probably look like a pig but well, I'm just really hungry." She said, apology written across her heart shaped face.
"No, no, I wasn't laughing because you aren't supposed to eat that much, I was just laughing because I hadn't thought of getting two plates to begin with!"
She smiled at me.
"You should've! And I'm Penny. I would shake your hand but well." She lifted up the two plates that she was carrying.
"I'm Frank. And I'm not one for handshakes so it's okay."
"Do you come here every year?" I asked her. "I haven't seen you around."
"No, I don't. My mom comes every year but this is the first year I've been. I live with my dad."
"And what is your reaction to this," I waved my arm around trying to find a word to describe this nonsense. "whole uh, party type thing."
"To be honest? I don't like it at all. I mean, all these pompous people and the food! Jesus why don't they just give us hamster food? The proportions are so bloody tiny."
I threw my head back and laughed. She smiled at me with her eyes glistening in the sunlight.
"Frank! Frank! Frank? Where are you?" I whirled around to see my mother frantically trying to search for me.
She spotted me and said,
"Ah. There you are. You must come my dear. There are a few friends I would like you to meet. Speaking of friends. Who is this?"
"This is Penny mom. We just met."
"Hi Mrs. Uh. Um."
"Sentra." I coughed out.
"Sentra! Yeah, hello."
My mother extended her hand for a shake but since Penny's hands were full, she smiled and gave mom a awkward hug causing me to try to hold in an outburst of laughter because of how ridiculous this situation was turning out. My mom doesn't do well with hugs from strangers.
"Yes. Well. Now come along Frank."
"I'll see you later, yeah?" I turned back to her.
"Sure thing! I'll be around."
"Don't wait up." I said throwing her a playful wink.
"Oh, I won't." She lifted up her plates and winked back.
With one last smile, I turned around and weaved my way through the sea of people.
My mother literally dragged me around for the next three hours introducing me to all her friends and acquaintances. There were millions of handshakes and countless time when I heard the phrase, "Oh, I have a daughter you know. She's about your age."
I did not see Penny throughout the day. I kept sticking my head out of conversations to look but she would be no where in sight. Her mother was probably dragging her around as well. But then again, I met her mother and she wasn't with her. She must have found a brilliant way to escape. Not bad for a first timer.
The party continued and soon it was lunch time. We were ushered into a huge tent to have a light lunch, (Light my ass. Air was lighter than this meal.) and more music and dancing.
The music started and my mom got distracted for a second and I realized I was left alone. Finally! I searched for Penny and called her name out a few times. She was no where in sight. I left the tent feeling perplexed and downgraded.
I left the tent and started to walk away from it; I just needed some fresh air.
I took off my formal jacket and my tie and slung them over a nearby tree. One afternoon in that was enough.
I started to walk and savored the way the fresh breeze felt against my skin.
I don't know what happened or how I even got there but suddenly, I felt something tall brush against the leg of my pant. I snapped out of my daydream to find a whole plain of overgrown grass. It looked liked it was never mowed in it's existence. I turned around and saw the tent and the house; but they looked like tiny dots from where I was.
I shrugged my shoulders and kept walking away. I didn't know what I was doing, I could easily get lost but I just didn't care.
"Hmmm mmmm mmmm..."
I stopped walking as I heard a soft humming coming through the tall grass. I walked a little further and saw Penny, lying on the ground with her eyes closed, smiling slightly as she hummed to the music playing in the distance.
"Penny," I said softly, trying not to scare her. "Penny what are you doing here?"
She tilted her head back and looked at me.
"Frank! Where have you been? I've been looking for you all day."
"Yeah, same. My mother was dragging me around. She just seems to gain more friends every year and I have to meet all of them."
"Ick. That's a sucky afternoon."
"Yeah, it really was. So what were you doing with your eyes closed?" I asked.
"I was looking at the clouds."
"But Penny, your eyes were closed." I said as I lied down next to her. "You have to open your eyes to see the clouds."
"The best things are felt within the heart; not seen with our eyes or heard by our ears. The clouds are better when I close my eyes. Fluffier, and much closer to the ground then they usually seem." She said simply, like it was just something that everyone knew.
"Hm. I guess you're right."
"Well don't guess, just believe me!"
"Okay, okay fine! I believe you!" "That's much better." She smiled.
"What else do you believe in?" I don't really know why I asked that. Something inside of me just wants to know her more. Inside and out, my heart wants to know her.
We talked for forever. We talked about our fears, our dreams and our plans. She told me what made her tick and what made her smile. When she laughed, she did this thing with her nose; it scrunched up like a pug and it killed me.
"The sun is setting!" She said.
I looked to the west and saw this big disc of butter slowly melting into the grass.
Her hair shone as the last rays of sunlight hit it just perfectly; her lips mirroring the shape of the sun as it set behind the tall grass. In that moment, I couldn't seem to remember anything or anyone so beautiful then her.
The music in the distance stopped and I held my breath and said,
"May I have the next one?" I whispered into her ear.
"Of course." She said smiling.
The music started and we swayed back and forth, the wind ruffling her dress slightly at the bottom, and the butterflies dancing around us.
Questions filled my mind. Would I ever see her again? What happens after the music ends? Why am I falling for her but I barely even know her?
But in that moment, it really didn't matter. Because I can tell when I look down at her, that life will figure itself out. And my heart told me to just believe in the fairytales and "Happily Ever After." Because I had it in my arms.
A country dance was being held in a garden I felt a bump and heard an "Oh, beg your pardon" Suddenly I saw polka dots and moonbeams All around a pug-nosed dream
The music started and was I the perplexed one I held my breath and said "May I have the next one?" In my frightened arms, polka dots and moonbeams Sparkled on a pug-nosed dream
There were questions in the eyes of other dancers As we floated over the floor There were questions but my heart knew all the answers And perhaps a few things more
Now in a cottage built of lilacs and laughter I know the meaning of the words "Ever after" And I'll always see polka dots and moonbeams When I kiss the pug-nosed dream