A Lemon Bar Sunset

Marney had been prattling on for what seemed like hours, and I was only half listening, until she said something that caused me to rise up on one elbow and stare at her. One of my eyes was closed—squinting into the sun—causing her to appear as though she were surrounded by a hazy halo; behind her, the trees of Elkin’s woods framed the moment.

We’d been coming to this spot since we were ten, the year I moved to Elkin and found her waiting in the yard in front of our new house. She’d been sitting beside her Schwinn bicycle—it had the little bell and wire basket on the handle bar, and she still rides it. As soon as I got out of our car, she jumped up, rang the little bell, performed a little rah-rah cheer welcoming us to the neighborhood, then ran to me and looked up at me with the biggest brown eyes I’d ever seen. “I hope you like lemon bars!” she said. lemon bar sunset

Dumbfounded, thoroughly embarrassed by her greeting, and speaking long before my brain was engaged, I said something any ten-year old boy might say after watching such a performance; “Who let you out of your cage?”

That was six years ago, and we’d been best friends ever since. I loved Marney, but would never admit it. She on the other hand, professed—on a daily basis—to loving me with every fiber of her being. She said I was her destiny. I told her that was a darn shame.

“What did you say?” I asked, raising my hand to shield the sun.

“Which part?” she asked. “You haven’t heard a thing I’ve said for the last fifteen minutes. I thought you were asleep.” With my hand shielding my eyes, her halo was gone, and her face shadowed. I couldn’t see the tears trickling down her cheeks.

“The part about being homesick.”

She swiped at her cheeks with both hands. “I said I can’t do this anymore. I can’t go on loving you when you won’t love me back. It’s like feeling homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist.”

I frowned, then lowered my head to the blanket we’d placed on the forest floor, and closed my eyes. I sawalien-homesick-outsider-quote-road-sad-favim-com-66010 pink bicycles, wire baskets, a little girl dancing on a lawn, and heard the ching-a-ling of a tiny bell. The thought came floating toward me like sunlight over the trees at the Johnson creek bridge; I love lemon bars. But, I’d never told her. Instead, I’d made a smart remark—something a ten-year-old boy would say—and I’d kept making them for six years. I smiled, opened my eyes, sat up, and said, “I love you, Marney Wilson.”

The forest was empty and the sun was going down. sunset boy


Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn








Sharing this on Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.



  1. I felt the ending was a little sad. That’s why I always thought it was important to tell someone you love them – sometimes words need to be voiced out to show others our heart.

    • I agree. It’s important to say what we feel, but when you’re young, insecurities often cause you to keep things inside.
      Thanks for the visit and comment!

      • Guiltily no longer (that) young, I still forget to verbalise my feelings and thoughts directly at times. It’s like we thought(or assume) that our feelings are easily transparent to friends/family around us, strange though.

        Do you tell your family and friends often that you love and care for them?

      • I do tell them often! And you are so right; we often assume others know our feelings and thoughts.

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Heather said

      Sometimes things are very wonderful even though they’re sad, that’s what makes them beautiful.

  2. Sherry Mashburn said

    Aww . . . sweet!

  3. Heather said

    This is beautiful, imaginative, and memorable. I love your stories.

  4. Oh Charles … I am Marney … dang it all you are in my head as well. Loved this piece…your storytelling is amazing. I want to know more!

  5. Oh, my goodness!! Such believable prose, Charles, I’d swear this was part of your life story! Your details are exquisite and thoughtful…you drew me right in…engaged from beginning to end. Thank you for this!

  6. heidibarnes11 said

    You are one of the first people I head to on FWF because I am anxious to see what you have created and you never disappoint. I try to tell those who matter most how I feel about them as often as I can, but there are times it does slip through the cracks. Lovely story and like Annie said I would like to read more! 🙂

  7. neenslewy said

    A beautifully told tale.

  8. Awwww now I feel all warm and fuzzy, great way to start my day!

  9. Beautiful storytelling Charles, I really enjoyed this one and it’s so important to say I love you and not be afraid. Wonderful read! 🙂

  10. Mark said

    Charles, you nailed it here, the regret of missed opportunities. So true to speak love and life to those around us. Great reminder!

  11. This left me saying
    awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww out loud and my son asking me what was wrong lol!

    Love this!!!

  12. Reblogged this on Marbles In My Pocket ~ The Official Blog of Charles L. Mashburn ~ Poems, Short Stories, and random thoughts from the author of "Be Still… and know that I am God" and commented:

    It’s amazing thing to come across a story I wrote, and not remembering writing it. I kind of like this one!

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Please leave a comment! We love hearing from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: