For years, I had often travelled between the gardens to venture in the O’Brien minuture park they had converted their gardern into. Thier youngest son Patrick and I had been inseparable since we were small, love had come later.

No one had seen it coming as we snuck behind walls to kiss the minutes away.

His parents Marie and Patrick Senoir loved me; I mean I went for tea at least three times a week, I even attended family functions and braided little Lacys hair.

“Are you nervous!” Patrick quizzed gor the hundreth time.

“A bit.”

“Don’t be.” He replied, again for the hundreth time.

As the door opened I suddenly wanted to run but Marie smiled warmly and ushered us in.

“Why didn’t you tell us you were coming?” She scolded happliy. “Denise its been too long!”

“I know, how is everyone!”

“Oh their fine love! Dads in the back room go on in; I’ll get some tea.”

Following Patrick to the back, a path I could walk blind I greeted Patrick Senoir with a famaliar hug.

“My, my girl haven’t you blossomed.” He complimented. ” I see you brought my toe rag home.”

“Leave off dad.” Patrick whined.

After a hearty hug and few manly jabs the sound of cutlery clanged and heavy footsteps annouced Maries arrival. Laying a full spread on the table she opened her arms and smiled.

“Help yourself to biscuits Denise. Your tea is on the left.”

“Thanks Marie.”

“So whats wrong. You haven’t dropped out have you. “Patrick Senoir asked.

Marie gasped her face paling considerably.

“No mum..I’ve ..” grabbing my hand he said. “Ive asked Denise to marry me and she has said yes.”

The room had chilled considerably as if the sun itself had hidden from the wrath that would soon be unleashed upon us. Maries eyes flickered from between us as if she was unsure who to adress first. Patrick Seniors neck sunk further into his collar as his jaw stiffened.

I only had one fear I could not name and now I knew it was this.

I felt naked as they examined every exposed inch of me, shifting uncomfortably Patrick grabbed my hand reassuringly.

“Its not that we don’t approve, you know..” his mother uttered every word exposing the shame in her cheeks. “It just would not be entirely proper.”

Patrick Senoir had been quiet up until this time as he slapped the newspaper in his lap and glared at me with beady eyes.

“If this is want you want your no son of mine.”

I felt Adams grip get tighter as his father continued.

“This..this is an amboniation.” He roared, spittle flying from his lips landing before us like tiny rain drops.

“Patrick.” Marie said sternly. ” You and Denise are not compatiable son.”

It was as if eighteen years of memeories had dissappeared, our history erased by our love. I rose from my seat in silence unable to control the tears running so freely from my eyes.

“Its not you love its just not right.” Marie called out as I opened the door.

It took everything I had to walk the four steps to my own mothers gate. There she stood tall and dark with a natural shine, her arms open and waiting. I inhaled her scent with urgency as she pulled me through the door.

“Not every one will understand your love Denise but If you understand it that is all that matters.” Her words trailed behind her footsteps as she ascended the stairs leaving me alone with tge echoing of the Obreins words.

The door bell shattered the thoughtful silence, the shape of a broken man leaning on the glass.

All these years he had been my superman with the ability to protect me from everything. I had gotten lost in the fairytale with the handsome prince and the big white horse but that wasn’t my story.

I was Denise the little black girl from next door the one you could play with but you couldnt marry. It took an age for his shadow to dissappear but the scars would never fade.

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Word Berry

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