Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Friendship Affair

The Friendship Affair by Linzé Brandon, blog serial
Not all long lasting marriages are happy. But what do you do if divorce is not an option?
University friends, Stephanie and Nick, meet again after twenty years. But life has not been easy or simple for either of them. Will this friendship affair stand a chance against reality? 
With her chores and shopping done for the week, Stephanie felt that the walls of the apartment were about ready to crush her. She missed the space and the garden of the house, but she couldn't afford to stay there with all the bills.
Medical insurance covered Frederick's care in the centre, but while he was still being treated at the initial stages of the illness, there were a lot of expenses.
At least, she had gotten a good enough price on the house, to get rid of all those debts.
She grabbed her keys. She had to get out.
It had finally started raining, relieving some of the oppressive heat of the past few days. It was still drizzling, but she didn't mind as the car almost drove itself to the fairy garden.
Since the locals didn't want the place advertised, there was no parking in the direct vicinity. She drove to the coffee shop and left the car there.
Flipping open her umbrella, she adjusted the small backpack she bought in the week. It was a pleasant walk, and she was hopeful of a quiet stroll because of the weather.
She wasn't disappointed at all.
The garden smelled fresher and even looked greener with the rain. At the fifth bench, she turned off the main path and changed direction towards the cottage.
It was still there.
He had told her the building wasn't safe to enter, so she stayed outside looking into the windows wondering who had lived there.
“How on earth can you keep a secret like this?” she mused when reaching the back of the cottage. From here the rot was more visible, and she understood his warning. There was another path leading away from the cottage.
Activating the recording function on the navigation app on her mobile phone, just in case she got lost, Stephanie stepped into the unknown.

In this part of the park, the trees and plants were so dense that the umbrella was a hindrance more than an aid. She stopped and shook out the water as best she could, before putting it in a side pocket of the backpack designed for the umbrella.
It was still drizzling, but she decided it wasn't worth fussing about as she started walking again.
Unlike the footpaths in the public spaces of the park, here it was paved with stones and more uneven.
“Good thing, my hiking boots still fit,” she muttered as she pushed yet another branch out of the way.
Was that a river?
She knew the city had a river or two still flowing, but she had never heard of one in this part. Maybe it was a water channel left over from the days when this was still farmland.
Intrigued she kept going. The louder the noise, the more careful she stepped.
Quickly checking that her mobile phone was still operational, she continued.
Stepping into a small clearing, she stopped and gasped aloud.

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