A Singular Movement By Two

It was another beautiful summer day; the pulsing sound of cicadas matched the glorious heat of the afternoon sun. The fields of the farm seemed to hum with energy; colours bloomed into life around the two small children seated in the soft grass. This had always been their favourite part of the day; the birds skimmed through the air as soft blurs; nature had already found its own rhythm. They both enjoyed being surrounded by stability, to make up for the harsh, cold nights inside the house. They would try their hardest to whisper promising words until sleep carried them off, away from the screams of anger their parents hurled at each other, muffled through the bedroom door.

“Lucy, why are mummy and daddy arguing? Why must they scream?” His voice was pleading, tinged with true sadness only children could understand.
“Please try not to worry, Dan.” Lucy raised her hand to ruffle her brother’s black hair. When she finally met his green eyes, she could see the pools of tears beginning to brim over and down his cheeks.
“I promise you, we will make it through this. We are attached, if not Mum and Dad. We can stay together. Always. Would you like that?”
“Yes please Lucy.”
With those simple words, both responded in the only way they knew how. As siblings who had spent all their time by each other’s sides, their actions would always complement each other. As Lucy reached out her hand, Dan’s soft palm rose to meet hers; their fingers touched and both knew immediately that hope was there, as long as they believed in it.


Both children did not expect that afternoon to be their last spent together, at least for the following 9 months. Their parents eventually separated one night. An unspoken chill pervaded the house; it creeped along the floorboards and dispersed through every room. Lucy and Dan awoke to be divided on a frigid morning. One would leave the farm and remain under the care of a mother and the other under the stern, watchful eyes of a father; left to ramble in the fields on the hill, alone and wounded. For Dan, the once tranquil sounds of the thriving cicadas began to grate on his ears; they would throb at the sound of the incessant screeching. Weeks would become painfully slow; movement to their once favourite grass area was painful. It hardly mattered to the little boy; they would have to search for a better place as the grass and the life in the fields slowly began to die off.

Lucy did not like the city. It was a sordid, dusty and grey patch where the sky was deliberately blocked out and hardly any people were friendly. The sun barely managed to draw itself along the windows of the apartment; its slim rays never reached deep into the rooms; shut out by the blinds. Nature was not welcome here; there were no cicadas at all Lucy realised. All forms of colour had effortlessly drained away; leached out from the nearby park. The colours she was once accustomed to had bled away from this place. Above all she missed Dan. Without any knowledge at all, she realised she had placed her hand on her bedroom window, pretending her brother had reached for her too. She hastily took it away; the smooth glass was so cold during the night that it burned.

At the end of each 9 month period, they would meet again. Back under the warm sunlight, they would trade places with each other, but never remain together for long. As they passed each other, Dan would reach out his hand to meet Lucy’s. For a few brief moments, they would both stay like that; feeling a connection that had already begun to become displaced.
“I miss you Lucy. Why are they like this? This will end and we can be a family again, right?” His voice was gentle; it felt burdened.
“I don’t know. But I miss you too Dan. I have tried my best to believe in our hope, do you remember?”
“I don’t think that hope is coming.”


The process seemed to drag on indefinitely. They would meet, share a few words, and then leave each other again. Both could feel the loneliness overtake both their ‘homes’.
What was one supposed to do when colours faded?

The heat and slow pace of another summer broke away and was replaced with a rapid, cold autumn…and a colder winter. This cycle continued. Both Dan and Lucy had no desire to count out exactly how many months it had been since they saw each other; since they held hands and renewed their sense of place in this world. Their parents had separated indefinitely. For good. Lucy could no longer hear any sweetness in her mother’s voice and Dan, miles away, could no longer see and residual kindness in the deep, crisp blue eyes of his father. Love had been lost. Was it ever there in the first place? One couldn’t tell. It had been many years and one still couldn’t tell.

The telephone rang. It was a shrill noise in the quiet night. Lucy slid out of bed and tip-toed lightly into the kitchen. The phone was still rattling and vibrating away on its holder.
“It’s me Lucy. I can’t take this anymore. Gather your things and come to the farm. We are leaving, now. Together. You promised me we could stay together. Please.” She knew the mellow tones of Dan’s voice anywhere.
“Dan, are you insane? How? What will we do?”
“I don’t know, but trust me. Please. I’ll be in the field, waiting.”

Dan hung up the phone, leaving Lucy staring down the receiver. It took a second for her to decide. Everything around her melted away except for the chance to hold her brother’s hand again. Their singular movement. She would take it.


*Artwork unknown- Pinterest*


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