Over Heaven’s Hill

Ana’s Pick
Geraldine Walsh

I waited for you by the row of aspen trees that nestle along the curve of the road that leads into town, that shadow the mice scrambling to the woodland in the fiercest heat of summer and the deadening rain in fall. I waited for you to cross over the brow of Heaven’s Hill, the high road that is a bystander to annual soapbox races and yearly toboggan rides—weather permitted.

I remember the year we raced our toboggans down the dry cold snow, cheered on by the neighbours’ Australian shepherd that jumped in and around us, between the flashes of red and blue paint, screeching children, and flailing mitten strings. I remember how, like an inept canoeist, we would struggle to maintain our potency and presence as we hit the curve of the knoll and slid the concurrent fifty feet to the finish line, praised for our outstanding courage and grazed legs, greeted with homemade lemonade and makeshift veteran’s medals wedged onto a burnt wooden stand.

I waited by the hook of road under the one great oak tree that stood amidst the aspen kings, thinking I would glimpse your tousled hair and freckled skin edging over the top of the shimmering heat of Heaven’s Hill. The summer’s day warmth pierced my skin and dried my eyes, burning in the fervour of my youth as I stared into the sun over the knotted bank and listened to the crickets sing.

I waited by the groove of the knoll belonging to the road we would follow on a Sunday drive in your father’s pick-up, on an endless route as we took left turn after left turn to end up in the same place, exactly where we wanted to be. And as I waited for you, as you promised you would come, I remembered it was here you first held my hand, twisted daisies through my hair, and told me how you would marry me—some day.

I watched the black crow that played on the telephone cables above my head, feathers tinged with pink from the hard-hitting sun, mellow beak silently opening, closing, in flirtatious motions, almost whispering, telling me to cover my fair skin and shelter my voice as it cawed and circled my shadow below.

I waited for you, until the heat subsided and the cool air spun around my ankles as the night air fell on Heaven’s Hill. I waited under the sallow-scented trees, inhaling their peppercorn fragrance as the breezy moonlit air wrapped a plume of soft coolness on my bare shoulders. I waited for you because you said you would come.

Geraldine works and lives in Dublin, Ireland, which she loves and never wants to leave. She has a BA in Engish and Greek and Roman Civilisation and is a qualified Librarian! She writes poetry, short stories and revels in flash fiction. Her work has appeared in Poetry Cemetery and is upcoming in Agenda Broadsheet No. 11. E-mail: ger.monks.walsh[at]gmail.com

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