The day the wind lay down – Chapter 1 – Enjoying the silence

Posted on August 8, 2011

Peter and Annie were still snoozing in bed when they were gently awoken by the soft sunlight and the clear blue sky entering their bedroom… As Peter was in one of his more romantic moods, he thought it would be a nice day for an old fashioned romantic picnic.
Looking lovingly at Annie, still sound asleep like a rose with one of her legs dangling out of their narrow bed, he silently sneaked out of bed to prepare a full English breakfast …

Meanwhile, Annie tossed and turned, feeling the caressing warmth of the rays of sunshine entering the room and reaching for her pale skin.
In the morning, Annie just loved procrastinating and being waited upon. In this respect, she resembled a cat, stretching and yawning and being creative at finding excuses for not getting out of bed as long as she could get away with it.

There was a good reason for her to fake lazy behaviour. In fact, she was not proud of it, but it gave her the opportunity to conceal her underlying problem from the outside world. Annie happened to be a very heavy agoraphobic but up until now had always been able to hide her condition from the world. She only had trusted her partner to be notified of her condition. To her friends and acquaintances she seemed sometimes somewhat eccentric … But that was to be expected, with Annie being a writer and nearly always cooped up in front of her computer… writing and communicating with people of all sorts from all over the world. In fact nobody really knew about her life altering predicament. Like so many others she had managed to camouflage her condition exceptionally well usually by making up excuses like being too busy with work in order to avoid attending outside events or extracurricular activities. However, on some days temptation managed to get the better of her and she suddenly found herself being lured out of the house. A little bird chirping outside her bedroom told her this was going to be one of those days.

Suddenly, she sniffed savoury scents coming out of the kitchen. This was yet the first part of her wake up call. The prospect of soon having a very tasty breakfast not only sharpened her taste buttons, but also distorted by loud Manu Chao music coming out of the kitchen: “Politik Kills, Politik Kills.” In hindsight, the singer must have had a premonition of the political state the country was in. Over 200 days day had gone by after election and the politicians still had not managed to form a new government. Obviously, Annie was getting side tracked as usual …

At least, by now, she was wide awake and ready for breakfast. She too noticed the exceptional weather: clear blue sky, lovely sunshine, no wind at all! Combined with the exquisite breakfast, the prospect of having a romantic picnic with her all time favourite person seemed more than tempting.

Annie loved the woods and their rich wildlife which was sort of unusual for the part of the country they lived in. After all who had the pleasure of having deer, ducks and squirrels wandering about the garden? Still, even Annie could be convinced to broaden her horizon…
At times, she could be reluctant to leave home when it was not strictly necessary. Why leave the premises when everything you need is at home, either in the house or in the garden?
Luckily Peter could be positively persuasive at times of need and fairy tale conditions.
What ever could go wrong on a day like this?

After having enjoyed their breakfast, Peter and Annie thoroughly prepared for the perfect picnic in the country: the food already being packed, Annie resorted to the basement where picnic blankets, air beds and other useful paraphernalia still were packed in boxes, since it had not been that long since they had moved into the country from the city… Considering the way they had moved into the house, she had little trouble finding everything back.
Peter and Annie loaded the picnic basket, blankets and some other things Annie decided to take just to be on the safe side, into the trunk of Annie’s car and set off for what looked to become a very promising day.

The drive was pleasant but not very long. Since they lived on the edge of the governmentally protected woods they did not need to drive very far into the woods in order to find a lovely spot for an unforgettable day. They unloaded the food and the blankets and set up the picnic.

Now nothing would be able to spoil the rest of their day. They had found just the perfect place to enjoy each other’s exclusive company. Not many of the local hikers knew of these woods because they used to belong to former army grounds forbidden to enter by civilians. Since the signs saying: “Do not trespass, army grounds”, had not been taken down yet, not many people knew which grounds were civilian and which were army territory.

This gave our young couple the opportunity to enjoy the immaculate scenery. Since they both had grown up in cities, there was much for them to discover! Sure, they had seen deer and duck in their garden, but the variety of birds they were able to spot, surpassed their wildest dreams … Jays were pretty rare and normally pretty shy. Here in the woods they did not seem rare nor shy for that matter. In the city they had not seen a common sparrow in ten years, yet here they seemed to feel completely at ease …

Oh well, what a perfect time to unpack! Peter spread the blanket on an emerald green spot of grass that just seemed to shine between the trees. Annie placed the basket right in the middle. They both gathered that nature could be just perfect at times. Just as they were about to start their open air brunch a gentle breeze conveniently cooled off the temperature which had been somewhat hot for this time of year.

Annie just loved steak tartare sandwiches and was taking the first bite as the gentle wind caught her hair. Peter stroked Annie’s hair as she turned her head, looking for her eyes to meet his. They both felt so lucky to have found each other 8 years before and had enjoyed each other’s company ever since. A perfect day in a perfect setting just seemingly increased their never ending happiness.

Peter stuck into the peanut butter sandwiches. This put a smile on Belgian Annie’s face: peanut butter sandwiches at times seemed to be like something as a Dutch national dish, just as French fries, steak and lettuce was the Belgian national dish… they used to tease each other about each other’s favourite cravings. Since Annie had been living in Belgium’s second city for over 40 years and knowing that this city bordered the Netherlands, it seemed strange that Peter, who had been living in a city about ten miles north of the Belgian – Dutch border, sometimes had difficulty adjusting to specific dishes. As a matter of fact, their difference in culinary preferences sometimes lead to the most hilarious situations. This day however, the proverbial storm seemed to have laid down and our couple was only enjoying the silence of nature. Of course there were those much appreciated interludiums of natural music made by virtuoso blackbirds, redbreasts, finches and various varieties of tits.

Hmm, tits … Peter somehow got sidetracked and since their surroundings seemed to be secluded why not leave Annie’s hair alone for a while and proceed further down? Annie giggled feeling Peter’s warm hands sliding between her open blouse …

Suddenly the prospect of making out in the middle of the woods seemed less tempting as it should have been: the gentle breeze suddenly had become somewhat chilly for the time of year. So far, there had not been a reason to worry though: Peter had been prescient enough to pack a tent too, which came in very handy at this precise moment.

Setting up a tent had never been a picnic for Peter, much to Annie’s amusement. This time his tireless efforts seemed to be even more laborious than they had been on previous occasions.

Observing Peter struggling with the miniature tent, made Annie laugh inside. To her the little spectacle resembled a scene of a silent slapstick movie … Clearly she was enjoying herself and Peter did not seem to mind at all. He knew Annie loved him for his witty mind and good looks and not for having two left hands.

Though he was aware of his natural clumsiness, Peter sensed there was a secondary reason for him struggling with the recalcitrant tent. He observed Annie searching for a sweater in the boot of her car. The wind had not only become chillier but also somewhat stronger. It was a good thing that Annie had brought some sweaters, light anoraks and even umbrellas.

Earlier in the day, Peter had made fun of Annie’s fears and consciousness of anything going wrong. At times, Annie could be quite phobic of things going wrong even if there was no reason to fret at all. Then again, who would have thought the weather would have turned the way it seemed to be doing now.

Even the animals instinctively took to their shelters. Yet our human friends could not figure out one reason why all of their furry and feathered friends suddenly decided to leave the party.

Well, there was no reason to panic, not yet … Even Peter had to admit that his beloved Annie’s pet peeves came in very handy. After eventually having set up the tent, he put on a sweater and put the umbrella in front of the entrance. Yes, he was proud of himself: at least they would be able to enjoy the outdoors picnic indoors. The air beds were easy to set up thanks to the pump Annie had managed to sneak into the back of the car … Had he known what she had been up to in the cellar earlier, he surely would have thought her to be a bit more than over cautious.

Now, he could only be grateful for his love’s foreseeing mind. Could she have had some of her premonitions? Nah, he did not hope for a premonition, because Annie’s premonitions usually had a tendency of someone dying in the near future or on the very moment. In the past, Annie’s premonitions had proved to be true on a few occasions too many.

For the moment, all they could think of was the cosiness of their provisory shelter. All of a sudden, the change of weather did not seem to matter any more. What could be more appealing than to be cuddled up to the love of your life in a small but well secured tent?
Peter felt like a teddy bear with Annie’s arms lovingly clenched around his tummy. She slid her fingers under his clothes in order to tickle his belly button which always in a ticklish sort of spasm … She could help but giggling, but for Peter this was the start of a very eerie feeling, yet he knew she liked to tease, so he decided to play along and search for a series of Annie’s more sensitive hotspots.

Being so tangled up with each other, the least you can say is that our couple was a little bit too preoccupied to be aware of what was going on outside at that very moment. Maybe this was for the best. After all, they were enjoying themselves… and had not noticed the wind was now thumping on their improvised front door. For all they heard at that moment was their hearts thumping passionately.

Last edited by alternativebe on August 8, 2011, 11:04 am

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2 responses to “The day the wind lay down – Chapter 1 – Enjoying the silence”

  1. All good, clean fun.  But you were just getting to the good bit! (shucks)
    Good story telling style.

    A couple of small language gremlins. No big deal.

    entering THEIR bedroom
    lovingly looking…. better is:  Looking lovingly
    being to busy…..being TOO busy
    was not only sharpened her taste buttons…. (something wrong there).
    positive persuasive    positively persuasive
    to THE most hilarious situations
    since THEIR surroundings…
    struggling WITH the miniature tent
    in the booth of her car……. BOOT…
    would have turn the way………TURNED
    search of a series…… I think you mean search FOR

    Here’s an interesting thing:   "the gentle wind caught her hair"
    Nothing wrong with that at all. The only caution is the dreaded "cliche". My mind, sick as it is, instantly started thinking of an alternative to "gentle". Yes, we know the wind is "gentle". But, what else could it be?


    Whenever I feel I’m tripping across a cliche in my writing, I stop. I try and see it as opportunity to give the sentence and meaning an extra dimension. An extra "twist".

    I moet zelf maar eens een keer proberen weer Nederlands te schrijven. Dat heb ik al twintig jaren niet meer gedaan…

  2. Quoteentering THEIR bedroom
    lovingly looking…. better is:  Looking lovingly
    being to busy…..being TOO busy
    was not only sharpened her taste buttons…. (something wrong there).
    positive persuasive    positively persuasive
    to THE most hilarious situations
    since THEIR surroundings…
    struggling WITH the miniature tent
    in the booth of her car……. BOOT…
    would have turn the way………TURNED
    search of a series…… I think you mean search FOR

    Those are such obvious mistakes to make! Thank you for pointing them out to me.
    Whenever I read someone’s work, I tend to tell them off when I find some of the mistakes listed above …
    I know, sometimes it is easier to spot someone else’s mistakes. I should read my writings as if they were written by another writer…

    I have corrected the spelling mistakes.

    By the way, this is the first chapter of what was going to be my entry of the Vicious Writers’ ViNoWriMo 2011. I stopped writing because I thought my story was full of clichés and real life was taking over.

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