She came running out of the woods and stopped. There in front of her was a tea party. A bit like you’d imagine a mad hatters tea party. There were books hanging from trees. Really posh candlesticks with fresh candles haphazardly pushed into the holders. The table was laid out but something wasn’t right? Something about it looked bare! There were flowers a plenty – freshly cut and smelling divine…..but where was the food? And where for that matter were the guests?
She wondered if she’d arrived too soon, and the surprise party for whoever hadn’t actually taken place yet.
Why were there books hanging from the trees. She tip toed over and took at peak in the first book she came too. She wondered if there was any correlation to where the book had been tied – was it acting like a book mark? She peered into each one slowly reading. They all seemed random. Nothing stood out to her. But then she didn’t know who had laid out this foodless feast, how could she expect to be able to find meaning in their work? Maybe that’s what it was? Maybe it was just a piece of art?
No, that didn’t seem right. She looked again at the table and noticed some chairs had been pulled out or maybe not quite fully pushed back in. Someone had been here. Maybe many!
She searched the plates for signs of food but found nothing. This was definitely a party that hadn’t quite got under way.
Each plate had a little favour on it. Something woodlandy like it had been made from things that had been found, someone had gathered up leaves and twigs and acorns and made little table settings. It really was quite lovely.
She sat down and picked up a glass, she sniffed inside but couldn’t smell anything. She let her tongue slowly stick out; finding its way to the glass, she gave it a quick lick. Nothing.
She picked up the teapot. Now this was full, she poured a little into the glass but it just appeared to be water. She set the teapot down with a bang. Disappointed. What was this and who was it for? She thought she heard a twig snap and spun around in her seat to see who was there. She peered and stared towards the trees, she peered so long she couldn’t be sure if she could see someone moving about or if it was her eye sight playing tricks on her.
She looked back down at the table. It was then she noticed the table cloth was actually made up of pages of a book, scattered around but somehow staying together. She looked up again at the books. Staring for ages, hoping something would jump out at her. Eventually she got up and started to look through the books again – it was then she noticed that they were all written by the same author – someone she had never heard of before. She flicked to the front of the book and then to the back but there was no authors note, there was nothing about the writer inside, she turned a few pages to look at the dedications but they were just in the first name – it didn’t give anything away, I mean how many Kate’s and Luke’s were there……..
Walking slowly around the table letting her hands reach out and touch, or move anything they felt like. She pretended to look absorbed in what she was doing but every now and then she would look up to see if anyone was around. Part of her wanting to get caught and the other part of her ready to spring into action and run away the moment anyone came near.
She sighed loudly, threw herself back down into a chair. She reached out for the glass that contained the clear liquid and took a sip, she grimaced, it was sweet, but very, very strong, almost syrupy, some form of schnapps. She placed the glass back down and picked up the next pot to see if there was anything in there. Inside were lovely little pastel shapes, sugared almonds, she didn’t care for them but thought they looked pretty, in fact, she couldn’t think of anyone she knew that actually ate them.
She leant back in her seat again and picked up the book nearest to her and began to read….
‘He knew he loved her but how was he going to tell her that it was over? How could he tell her that his parents had said that it was her or the rest of his life? They wouldn’t be paying for him to go to music school and would stop the rent on the flat that he had, his only bit of independence but it was still bought for by his parents…..’ she flicked on a few more pages, ‘he watched the tear fall slowly from her eye, gently snaking towards her lips, it sprang into a pool as it reached them, he reached out and wiped it away. He’d given up everything for her and here she was telling him it was over…after all this time….after all they’d been through and she’d met someone else. Of course she hadn’t told him that but he knew…..in his heart he knew…….he looked at her tear on his finger….’ She gasped as something caught her eye….she ran as fast as she could not daring to look at who or what it was behind her.
Two people jumped down from the tree laughing, they’d been watching her for ages trying not to laugh. They’d come out to the woods to celebrate their signing up to an agent. They’d been writing books together for years but had only just had the courage to put the work out there. They sat down to carry on the celebration.
The girl arrived home out of breath, book still in hand, she curled straight up on the doorstep and began to read.