Highly Commended Story - Forever
“Forever” by Maha Durubi, American British Academy, Oman, is the Highly Commended story in the junior category of the first biannual Short Story Contest 2019.
She wiped her shiny red hair away from her round pale face as she stared ahead at the white snow covering the earth like a wedding dress. She hasn’t been here for ten years now, but nothing had changed, nothing at all. The rocks scattered everywhere on the ground, just like they had ten years ago. The pine trees touched the sky, just like they had ten years ago. The memories in the German Alps had stained in Amelie’s mind and heart ever since she left to Frankfurt when she was fourteen years old. Nothing can change that; the memories will stay in her heart and mind forever.
Amelie thought about so many things, life is better with Aunt Johanna and her children, life is better here, she thought, hopefully I can make a new start. The sound of footprints in the thick snow interrupted her thoughts. She turned, brushing her straight long hair with her fingers. A small thin boy, who looked about eight years old, stared at the tall figure in front of him. He didn’t know Amelie, she didn’t recognise him either. This little boy had a fringe covering his forehead, nearly covering his eyes in fact. His eyes were small like little holes, his nose was thin and his skin was caramel coloured. He wore very thin clothes indeed, Amelie wondered how he could cope walking around with no coat.
The wind howled and whistled, the two continued staring for a while, until Amelie got fed up of just standing there. “My name is Amelie, who are you little boy?”
This gave the little boy courage to speak “My name is Bruno”, the little boy muttered.
“Bruno?” Amelie was surprised. Could he be Marie’s son? “Is your mother Marie?”
The little boy nodded, looking quite confused. The wind howled and whistled more and more. Although Amelie adored this place, she couldn’t stand being in the cold for much longer. She couldn’t feel her toes, it was as if the cold had nibbled them away. She realised Bruno was shivering too.
“I am your mother’s cousin. Didn’t she tell you I’m coming from Frankfurt?” Amelie asked Bruno hopefully.
His response surprised her, as he was so impolite, “Not at all, my mother is not from Germany, and you are probably mistaking her for someone else. My aunt Klara takes care of me.”
“I’m pretty sure I am not mistaking her for someone else. Take me to your aunt Klara, then.” Amelie had this bad temper that was hard to control; but this time for some reason it stayed inside her as if it did not want to burst out.
“Alright then, follow me please.” Bruno sniffed in the cold weather and started running, his feet crushing the snow. Amelie followed him.
When they got to the cottage, Amelie stared at the wooden walls, all pale and old of age. They were always pale, even when Amelie was fourteen. The windows were covered with snow, like cotton to protect the glass. Darker than the walls, the roof was like a slope anyone could easily slip off. The door was old with some cracks at the sides. Amelie missed this cottage, she had this urge to go and rub the side of her face on the wall. She had this great urge to remove the snow of the window and draw animals with her finger on it, just like she did when she was a little girl. She shivered in the winter cold, her heart thumped loud enough Bruno might have heard it as she wanted to burst in the cottage to meet Klara.
The door squeaked when Bruno pushed it open. A familiar smell of bread and butter danced out. A slim woman with a sweet smile greeted Amelie at the door. The young woman had pretty kind eyes and a pointed nose. She also had hair running down way past her shoulders like a waterfall. Amelie recognised her at once, she was Klara! Amelie’s childhood best friend! The sweet natured, kind girl - now a woman - who Amelie left ten years ago was now face to face with her again!
“Amelie! Welcome back!” Klara pushed the door full open. Her eyes twinkled with joyful tears.
When they were sitting at the small kitchen table, Amelie asked Klara many questions.
“What happened to Marie?” she started “why did she leave her son and go? I remember the last time I saw him, when he was newborn, she loved him with all her heart.”
“She still loves Bruno, her husband - well he took her away to Spain.” Klara explained. “He didn’t want the poor boy.” this part was a whisper. “Did you travel there? You said you wanted to leave the Alps to tour Europe.”
Amelie felt like she was about to cry, she clutched tight on her skirt to stop herself.