Jill stared wistfully at the fluffy white clouds, drifting slowly across the azure sky. A light breeze tussled her long red hair, and playfully tickled her nose. She sighed happily, as she closed her eyes, and turned to face the warm, spring sun; the wash of golden light caressed her freckled face. She smiled, leaning on the old, faded fencepost, as she waited.
A large wicker basket sat beside her; a folded light green blanket, covered the food and drinks that lay nestled in the basket. She stared down the long, narrow, dirt road, and pushed the hair out of her face, only to have the wind blow it right back into place. Her green eyes squinted, as she spied a lone figure coming down the road; a small billow of dust dancing around his feet. She stood up straight, and picked up the basket.
“He's coming”, she whispered to herself. Jill quickly ran her free hand over her white dress, and unconsciously swatted the stray wisp of hair from her face. She smiled, then frowned, “Steady girl”, she reminded herself, “It's just a picnic”. She gushed, “With the cutest guy in the whole world!” Shaking her head, she quickly composed herself; practicing different looks and expressions. “Well, hello, Mr. Goodman.”, she growled huskily. Jill shook her head and tried again, “Well, hello.”, she started, “Fancy meeting you”. She stopped. “That sounds stupid!”, she remarked. Placing her hands on her hips, she tried again, this time waving her hand in a half curtsy, “Hello”, she purred, “So nice to...” She stopped again. “Stupid, stupid STUPID!”, she muttered as she hit her forehead in irritation. “Calm, sweet, demure”, she reminded herself. Jill purred again, “Hello, Mr. Goodman”, then sighed, “That's not right either”. She sighed, and glanced down the road.
He was getting closer.
Clearing her throat, and straightening her dress again, she stood with her hand on her hip, holding the basket of food. Her heart beat wildly. She smiled, frowned in nervous thought, and smiled again. Jill sighed, “Ugh! Just be yourself!”, she muttered, trying to calm the butterflies in her stomach. She looked back down the dirt road; he was getting close.
He waved excitedly.
Jill waved back, wildly at first, then composed herself, and feigned indifference. He walked within earshot, and she placed her hand on her hip, “Good morning Mr.”, she stammered, “I mean, Goodman, I mean...” She shook her head trying to collect her thoughts, and blurted, “Hello Jack!” She grinned like a fool.
“Hey, Jill!”, Jack called out cheerfully. He tipped his hat, “Sure is nice out this morning!”, he remarked pleasantly. Jack walked quickly, and stopped in front of Jill. He looked at her and grinned, “You DID pack a lunch! That's great!”
She blinked, and snapped out of her daydream; the blanket, spread out over sweet smelling grass, birds, and Jack, kissing her....... She stammered, “Umm...yes.” She felt suddenly warm, and uncomfortable, “Yes, I packed your favourite, like you said. Roast chicken, right?”, she blurted.
Jack chuckled, “That's right. I love roasted chicken!” He offered his hand, “Can I carry that basket for you?”, he asked.
Jill smiled graciously and handed the basket full of food to Jack, “Sure”, she smiled shyly, “If you want to”, she added. She turned to look down the narrow dirt road, “Where are we going?”, she queried.
Jack grinned. “I know a great place, Jill!”, he announced, extending his free hand and taking hers. He tugged on her hand, in excitement, “Come on”, he prodded, “Follow me”.
They laid on the soft, green blanket, staring up at the clouds. “That was really great, Jill”, Jack admonished. He took a long drink of water, and added, “You can see the whole town from the top of this hill!”
Jill smiled, as she laid on her back, dreamily watching the white patchy cloud drift slowly by. “You sure can”, she quietly whispered.
Jack chuckled as he nibbled on the remnants of the picnic lunch, “Hay, Jill”, he mused, waving a tiny fragment of chicken in the air, “We forgot to break the wishbone”. He quickly gnawed away the remaining chunk of chicken from the breast bone, “Want to share this with me? You have to make a wish:, he explained.
“I know”, she said, sitting up quickly. “Whoever gets the biggest part, gets to have their wish come true, right?”, she asked rhetorically. She smiled sweetly at Jack. “Sure”, she said, reaching for the extended chicken bone, “My wish is going to come true”, she exclaimed, smiling from ear to ear.
Jack chuckled and handed the other side of the wish bone to Jill. He looked deep into her eyes and softly explained, “Make a wish”. He cleared his throat, and warned, “Don't tell me, or it won't come true”. He waited until Jill had a firm grasp on the other half of the wish bone. “You ready?”, he whispered.
Jill smiled, closed here eyes, and nodded. “Yes, I'm ready”, she announced, opening her eyes.
They both counted out loud, “One, two THREE!!”.
They both stared dumbfounded as the bone snapped in three; the wish portion flew into the soft grass, and disappeared. Jack looked at the tiny broken piece in his hand, and back at Jill. “Ummm, what does THAT mean?”, he thought out loud. He looked back at his hand, and errantly flicked the broken bone away, “I guess no one gets their wish now”.
Jill smiled sadly at Jack, “Yea”, she agreed halfheartedly, “Neither of us gets our wish”. She sighed, and laid down on the blanket, staring up into the sky.
Jack grinned at Jill, and flopped down on his stomach with a loud “Oomph”. He propped himself up on his elbows, and just watched her; the way her hair danced in the wind, the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed, the freckles that dotted her arms and face. He whispered, “You are amazing, Jill”.
She sat up quickly, brushing the hair out of her face, and just stared at the young man. Jill didn't know what to say, and just smiled shyly. Finally she whispered, “I think you are amazing too”. Her heart beat wildly when he reached out with his left hand, and gently took hers. He smiled, and gently stroked her hand with his index finger.
They stared into each others eyes, and the whole world stood still. It was several minutes before either of them spoke, almost as if afraid to break the magic of the moment. Jill quietly asked, “So, what did you wish for?”
Jack raised his eyebrow inquisitively, and remarked, “I thought you weren't supposed to tell anyone what you wish for”. He looked up, and watched as a puffy white cloud took a stroll over the small hill, to have a better look at the young couple. He added, “It won't come true, if you do”.
Jill laughed, “Neither of us get our wishes, Jack”. Her face became a pout, “The wishbone broke in three”. She turned to face the sun and closed her eyes. She held them shut as the sun's light washed over her face, as a single solitary tear slid down her freckled face.
Jack sat up and cupped Jill's chin, and gently pulled her to look at him. She opened her eyes, when he wiped the tear from her cheek. “I'm OK”, she smiled sadly. She pulled away, and repeated, “I'm OK, Jack”. She nodded her head, and brushed away the errant wisp of hair, and smiled at him. Her eyes danced with excitement, as she teased, “So, are you going to tell me or what?”
Jack glanced away, biting his lower lip, as he thought about it. Turning back to face Jill, he warned, “Promise not to laugh?” He waved his finger and feigned a scowl, but, burst out in a grin.
Jack cleared his throat, and sighed nervously. “I wished, that I could find true love”. He chewed on his lower lip again, waiting for Jill to laugh.
Jill sat back in shock. “Oh!”, she exclaimed, “That's a good wish Jack!”. She smiled happily, and reached out for Jack's hand, “I like that wish”.
Jack smiled, and took Jill's outstretched hand, running his thumb slowly over her fingers, feeling the soft, sun-kissed skin. He shook her hand to break the trance. “So?!”, he announced, with a flourish, “What was your wish?”.
“Pfftt! No I won't! I promise”.
Jill pulled her hand away and stared at the sun again. She crossed her arms, and sat silent, with her eyes closed.
“You gonna tell me?” Jack leaned back on his heels, folding his hands in his lap. He waited, just staring at Jill. Everything about her amazed him; her long, red hair blowing in the wind, the way her eyes danced when she was excited, and even how she was so cute when she was embarrassed. He whispered, “Jill?”
She sighed, and turned to look at Jack. Jill toyed with the hem of her white dress, and sighed. “You really want to know?”, she asked quietly.
Jack chuckled, and grinned, “Yea! I wanna know what you wished for”. He reached out and caressed her cheek. He whispered, “Come on, tell me”.
“My wish was, that your wish came true”.
- Jack and Jill went up the hill
- To fetch a pail of water.
- Jack fell down and broke his crown,
- And Jill came tumbling after