The sun peaked over the horizon, shining bright rays over Fiddlewood to grace all of the creatures with a glorious morning. The sun searched for Camille, intent on being the light to warm her heart before anything or anyone else; however, she was already awake, and her heart was already warm. The sun came over the hill and illuminated the two new lovers. Golden specks glimmered from Camille’s eyes as she looked down on a sleeping 5-Year-Old Con, her hand entwined in his. The sun, like any true friend, was happy for her, and proved it by blasting its golden trumpets as loud and brightly as it could. Light shined throughout every crevasse of the forest whispering that a new love had bloomed.
5-Year-Old Con blinked his eyes awake and the blurred image of Camille lying next to him came into focus, and as natural as a morning glory flowering into a new day, he smiled, “Good morning, pretty lady.”
They kept their hands entwined a while longer and simply stared at the morphing clouds calling out figures hidden in the folds. They rubbed their thumbs together like a dance between two coy fish. Reality soon shattered their peace, however, and the music that had thus far been mute began to whisper back to Camille. “Did you hear that, Con?” she said.
“The music . . .”
5-Year-Old Con sat up but he did not hear the music. Instead, he saw the gift that Love had left them the night before. It was a yellow pastry with caramelized cream on top wrapped in a blue ribbon with a perfectly tied bow around it. There was a small piece of blue and white paper with a paisley design on the face that opened to reveal the instructions “Eat Me.”
“Seems like someone left us a present,” said 5-Year-Old Con, as he held up the pastry for Camille to see.
“Do you think it was the sun?” asked Camille.
“Maybe… The sun is a specialist at baking after all,” replied 5-Year-Old Con.
Camille picked up the pastry from 5-Year-Old Con’s hand to inspect it herself. She opened the flap and repeated the directions aloud then set it back on the grass in front of them.
“Well what do you think?” she asked, with a curious tilt in her neck.
5-Year-Old Con looked at Camille, and she at him, then they both looked up to the sun as if looking for some form of approval, but did not receive any, then looked back to each other with bewilderment blushing their cheeks. They both felt a common attraction to the treat sitting before them and instinctively reached out once more at the same time, and grabbed hold of the pastry together. “You can have the first bite, pretty lady,” said 5-Year-Old Con, taking his hand off. There was no argument there. Camille’s taste buds rejoiced and she immediately handed the pastry to 5-Year-Old Con, so he could join her in savory heaven. They munched the treat one by one until they met in the middle and it was gone. Elated satisfaction milked their faces as they swallowed the last bite and licked their lips.
“That was delicious,” said 5-Year-Old Con.
“Scrump-diddly-umptious,” agreed Camille.
Suddenly, while the two lovers where still basking with delight, their realities began to shift and morph and take on a whole new color. Camille’s reality changed, as did 5-Year-Old Con’s, until she was seeing the world through his eyes and he through hers. Camille was overcome by uncontrollable giggles that reddened her cheeks with laughter induced blushing. 5-Year-Old Con’s jaw dropped and his eyes widened; he looked at the world with awe taking in a new, fantastically beautiful painting of Fiddlewood.
“Everything has googly eyes,” blurted Camille, through a gap in laughter, “The trees are hippity hoppiting.”
Seeing through Camille’s reality was the most precious experience 5-Year-Old Con had ever had and the overwhelming appreciation that swelled in his heart sent tears streaming down his cheeks. Colors were sharper and warmer, and the forest seemed to sing and dance in a most peculiar fashion, a style so unique and unrestrained that it was most certainly one of a kind.
5-Year-Old Con’s goofy reality locked Camille in state of constant giggling. The clouds were giant marshmallows floating in the sky, the trees and their googly eyes widened, shortened, elongated, and shrunk like a reflection in a circus mirror. She dug her fingers in the grass and breathed in the air, which smelt of vanilla. A sparkle in Camille’s eye drew her lips closer to 5-Year-Old Con and planted a kiss on his cheek, “You’ve got a goofy world, Con.”
“I like ya eyeballs, Cami,” replied 5-Year-Old Con, after pausing to take in more of her reality.
Their lover’s eyes pulled them onward to explore Fiddlewood under a unifying embrace. They danced about tapping leaves of various trees and bushes, like cymbals on a drum set, orchestrating a bizarre tune as they moved to their next shenanigan. They came upon a large old tortoise with a giant spurred shell covering his body. His smooth, pristine shell demanded authority from all creatures in Fiddlewood; though, when he attracted the lover’s eyes they ran towards him in a very different respect. Camille saw the magnificently sturdy creature like a steed that was tantalizing its future rider to saddle up for adventures to come; while 5-Year-Old Con was asking the question, “Where did he find that shell, and how did he crawl in?” Luckily for the two lovers, tortoises are a docile bunch and simply ignore those who harass them rather than try and fight back, so when Camille ran up and mounted the giant tortoise, and 5-Year-Old Con began to tug at his shell to see if it came off, he did not pay them any mind and continued his business as if they were not even there. He carried his rider and evictor all the way to an orange field, without even saying a word to dispute their actions, because that is where he planned on having his lunch that afternoon. Tangerine trees and metallic blue skies rolled over endlessly, calling Camille and 5-Year-Old Con on to their next adventure. Camille walked up to an orange tree that was brandishing all its fruit, and began to snicker as she yanked on the oranges soft enough to keep them on their stems, yet hard enough to provide a lovely bob. “Everything wants to play,” exclaimed Camille, jubilantly.
“You’ll find that a lot of things in Fiddlewood are five years old,” said 5-Year-Old Con, yanking an orange of its stem and tossing it to Camille.
The orange cheered with excitement as it raced towards Camille’s open palms. “What do you want me to do?” said Camille, as she stared at the fruit with bewilderment.
“Is he asking you to toss him?” asked 5-Year-Old Con.
“Yes, how did you know?” replied Camille.
“They ask me all the time. It’s in an orange’s nature to want to be chucked into the sky. Don’t ask me why,” said 5-Year-Old Con.
“Toss me! Toss me!” repeated the orange, to Camille. “Toss me!” Camille closed her eyes, and bobbed her knees so she could lower the orange to the ground with both hands, and then shot her body up and chucked the orange sky high. A delighted cheer belted in the sky growing more feint as it ascended, and then coming back into focus as it descended.
“I got it! I got it,” said 5-Year-Old Con, as he waved Camille away and looked up to the sky. A flock of ducks flew past the orange and swooped under the tree line just ahead, and, unfortunately for the orange, caught 5-Year-Old Con’s attention. He followed their descent rather than the orange’s and the cheering fruit splattered on the grass with a final hoorah. “Oops,” said 5-Year-Old Con, as he looked down at the squished orange.
“Oh my,” agreed Camille. She looked around to the other oranges on the trees to see if they would riot in protest, but all they did was continue to bounce on their stems and say, “Toss me!” With no hesitation Camille picked another orange and prepared to toss it sky high, as per its request. And just as she let him fly 5-Year-Old Con grabbed her hand and said “This way!” as he ran towards the ducks with a cheering orange somewhere in the sky.
They came upon a clearing that opened up to a pond, completely surrounded by trees of autumn that billowed in the light breeze and danced their recleftions upon the pond’s surface. Trails of rippling water followed the paths of ducks, providing swells for the leaves to ride. The sun shined a warm orange glow on the pond that painted the edges of the metallic blue clouds pink. Camille and 5-Year-Old Con leaned on each other with their hands entwined in the others, and rocked back and forth, silently taking in the spectrum of beauty. The pastry treat was at its peak and the lover’s eyes would soon begin to blend, forming a new, unique reality that was made up of both Camille and 5-Year-Old Con’s worlds.
“Who is your new friend, 5-Year-Old Con?” interrupted a large white swan.
Snapping out of his trance, 5-Year-Old Con looked to the swan and with a delighted outburst said, “Bartholomew, what’s cracka-lackin?”
“Same old, same old, “said Bartholomew, “Your beautiful friend though . . .”
“Hi, I’m Camille.”
Arching his neck majestically, Bartholomew said, “The pleasures all mine, Camille,” with a thick Spanish accent on his tongue. Bartholomew did not actually have a Spanish accent, but 5-Year-Old Con had always perceived him to have one, so now Camille was hearing him as such. In fact, this was the first time 5-Year-Old Con had talked to Bartholomew and not been distracted by his imagined accent, because it any reality other than 5-Year-Old Con’s, Bartholomew sounded like a pompous Frenchman, which was how 5-Year-Old Con was hearing him now.
“Why are you talking funny?” asked 5-Year-Old Con.
“Perhaps it is you who is hearing funny?” said Bartholomew.
“You sound like the snails by the creek,” said 5-Year-Old Con.
“No he doesn’t,” interrupted Camille.
“Thank you,” nodded Bartholomew.
“He sounds like a burrito,” said Camille, much to Bartholomew’s bafflement.
Swimming up to the edge of the shore, Bartholomew said, “Wait a minute, you two” then waddled up to them, “Let me see your eyes.” He stretched his neck to Camille’s face and examined her eyes. He saw that she was wearing 5-Year-Old Con’s hazel eyes and her pupils were in the shape of a heart. Then he studied 5-Year-Old Con’s eyes, which were not his either. He was wearing Camille’s big brown eyes with halos of blue around the irises and pupils in the shape of hearts. “Just as I suspected,” said Bartholomew.
“What is it?” asked Camille.
“You two . . . are . . . in love,” said Bartholomew, before waddling back into the pond.
“Have you been in love before, Bartholomew?” asked Camille.
“I have not – not yet at least. But I am still in my prime and confident love will find me,” said Bartholomew.
“How can you tell we’re in love?” asked 5-Year-Old Con.
“The eyes never lie, my immature friend. You have fallen head over heels for this beauty. Is your world not more beautiful with her in it?” said Bartholomew.
“It’s gorgeous,” shouted 5-Year-Old Con, “It even smells better, and is so much better on the feet!”
“And Camille, is your world not more goofy and bizarre with 5-Year-Old Con in it,” said Bartholomew.
“Without a doubt! Everything wants to play with us and enjoy our company. It’s so delightful having such a magnificent playground,” said Camille.
“Then my diagnosis is correct – you two are in love,” concluded Bartholomew.
“So what do we do now, Bartholomew?” asked 5-Year-Old Con, eager to learn more about this foreign thing called love.
“Just follow your hearts,” said Bartholomew.
Camille and 5-Year-Old Con could see the passion in one another’s eyes, and, as if gravity were pulling them together, they leaned in and shared their first kiss. They held each other and felt one another’s electricity coarse through their bodies, elating their hearts with a light airiness. Their stomachs fluttered and their hairs stood up. The forest rejoiced for the two new lovers, releasing hundreds of yellow, red, orange, and green leaves from their branches, sending them spiraling onto the surface of the pond. When Camille and 5-Year-Old Con parted lips and opened their eyes the world was changed again; becoming a mixture of both their realities. They both looked through hazel eyes with streaks of blue halos around the edges, sharing the same view of the word. They breathed in a whole new reality with true love blessing their hearts.
They stayed by the edge of the pond for some time, holding hands and kissing; reveling in the solidification of their new bond, while Bartholomew swam in the big circles singing, “Connie and Cami sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”