BooksCorrespondenceCreative WritingNewspapers & MagazinesPoetryQuotationsWriting

The Carriage Driver³ - Clover

Updated on May 15, 2017

It was God’s day. The couple walked their bikes along a low rock wall that disappeared over the rolling hills. They talked and laughed as young couples do. The sun was their friend. They were lost to the world and lost in each other. Time slowed down for them.

When they reached the top of a hill they saw an old tree up ahead with long sweeping branches. It seemed to call to them. Their pace was slow and deliberate. The breeze licked about the hem of her summer dress and turned over leaves to bake the other side.

The world belonged to these two and only them. They reached the tree. She took out the blanket and basket of food from the bike basket and let the bike fall to the ground. He took the blanket and spread it in the shade of the tree. She sat down the basket of food and slipped off her shoes. She walked around letting earth green, cool her feet. She reached back and took the rubber band off her hair that held her pony tail. She shook her hair as he watched.

In moments of breathless passion their clothes lay around the blanket where they landed. She lay in Robert’s arms, at the center of the world. He enjoyed the length of her, pressed near him as he pulled grapes, one by one, from a bunch and fed them to her.

“Do you have to go?” She asked.

“It’s war.” He looked at her. He wanted to remember every curve of her. She was his faith. She was his hope. She was his love.

“Can’t we just run away from war?” Her lips pouted.

“Where could we run?” He sighed as she pulled the length of her, away from him. He did not move as he watched her dress. Then he stood and dressed himself. God’s day was drawing to an end as they climbed on their bikes and followed that long short wall back the way they came.

Days later she saw Robert off at the train station. She could remember his smile, the waving good-bye, the sound of the train pulling away. She remembered how handsome he looked in his new uniform and most of all her heart set aside a place for the loneliness that followed. That place never healed.

She put her bike away after he left. There was a time where a flow of letters came and went. There were words of love and thoughts of passions. There were words of hopeful promises. Then the flow of words came to a stop. Their time had slowed, and then their time had stopped. The hands of the clocks kept ticking, but she never seemed, even after sixty years to get back on track.

“You must move on.”

“Time heals all wounds.”

People were so well meaning.

She married and had two children. She raised the children, and it seemed she raised the husband also. One by one they left. They grew up and moved on, even the husband. The reservior of loneliness knew no bounds.

The hospital bed was cranked up at the back and pillows propped her up. The TV played an old Sherlock Holmes movie that seemed to entail lots of time at an old London train station. The clouding steam and the hissing sounds and the gloom of night flooded in on her.

Captain Griffin Chaffey prepared the carriage. He took special care to polish the brass lamps; he waxed the leather and shined the spokes. When the carriage passed his inspection, he began to groom Nuelle. Her coat was brushed and mane combed out. He hitched her to the carriage. As he had seen the name in the book, he decided he may need a rack, and attached one to the back of the carriage. He felt pride in his work. He took an apple from his pocket and cut it into four pieces. Nuelle and Griffin had developed a ritual between them.

They felt good in the sun, as they waited on the Commons near the gazebo. The breeze swayed the leaves, reminding all, of unseen powers in the universe. Watching shadows dancing proved a delight.

Griffin saw her approach. He appreciated the sight of the young woman approaching, guiding two bikes. Her lips had a modest smile and her summer dress bounced about her.

“Hello,” she called as she got closer.

“Hello,” Griffin said as he stepped down.

Before he could help, she lifted one, then the next bike onto the rack. “So good of you to think of this.”

“We try to make you as comfortable as possible.” Griffin stood with his hand out to assist her step into the carriage. He did not offer the blanket that was always at the ready under the seat. “Are you comfortable?”

“It is a beautiful day.” She bent her arms and extended her legs back and forth, enjoying the new flexibility without twinges of pain. She sat and wondered what was different. She thought about her children and her husband. She knew they would be strong enough to survive. She could not put her finger on it. Awareness swept through her. She put her hands to her chest. It was gone. The reserve of loneliness was missing. She sat back, deep into the seat of the carriage and smiled.

Griffin gave Nuelle her rein. She walked along and the cobblestone path rang against her hoof and the wheels. Their passenger looked out along the path, as adults and children moved about in apparent directionless fashion. Some moved quickly in their pursuits and some moved slowly knowing the uselessness of hurry.

In no time at all Griffin reached the edge of town. “There are many paths available to you,” he told her. “If you have not thought about what you want to do next, there is a castle where we can deliver you. Many find it a pleasant wait. If that is what you wish.”

“Can you stop here?” When Griffin stopped, she climbed out of the carriage.

She climbed down. “Can you give me a hand with the bikes?”

Griffin climbed down and reached the back of the carriage in time to lift the second bike from the rack.

With the two bikes leaning against the carriage she hugged Griffin. “Do you have an apple?”

Griffin cocked his head and smiled. He reached into his jacket pocket and presented her with an apple. She opened the picnic basket on her bike and retrieved a small paring knife. The apple was soon cut into four pieces. She walked to Nuelle and fed two pieces to her. She handed one of the remaining pieces to Griffin and took a bite of the last piece. With apple still in her mouth, she leaned in and kissed Griffin on the cheek.

“Thank you!” She climbed on her bike and easily balanced the other one as she rode along a highway next to a low rock wall. Up ahead, she saw a tree with long sweeping branches.

As she approached, she saw Robert. There was a blanket on the ground and he stood wearing a brand new uniform. He waved when she got closer and moved toward her. She stopped and climbed off her bike, letting both bikes fall to the ground.

He reached her and lifted her off the ground in a bear hug. “My dear,” he smiled.

“My dear,” she replied.

They talked and laughed as young couples do.

“My dear, Clover, my faith, my hope, my love, and my luck.”

The Wedding Song ( There Is Love ) - Peter, Paul & Mary

Crimson and Clover - Tommy James & The Shondells


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 weeks ago from Jeffersonville PA

      While the Philadelphia area is surrounded by steady rains /probable flooding today, I am flooded with sunlight at this story of Clover's reunion with her beloved Robert.

      Your selections of P, P and M and The Shondells are beautiful accompaniments.

      I will never grow tired of Griffin and Nuelle's journeys - thanks for this weekend treat.

      Happy Mother's Day to the mothers in your life. Hugs, mar

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Word association: you say "clover," I say "Crimson and Clover," and then I start singing. You say "Mike" and I say "ultra talented," game to play. :)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello mar - I would like to say that everyone gets a carriage ride, but that does not seem to be the general belief. These carriage driver 3 stories seem to have drifted a long way from their beginnings. Thanks for staying with these stories, if the HP dates are correct, it has been a month since I published a TCD story.

      Happy Mother's Day to you also. Zoey and Andy are anxious to give you a surprise. (Maybe a walk in the rain.)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill - Thank you. Crimson and Clover was a natural for this piece of writing. Muse in her playful way left me with the word Clover, which sat at the top of a blank page and forgotten. I went to find something else and saw the file and could not remember what it was, so ... here it is.

      Have a good weekend.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 weeks ago from Hereford, AZ

      Beautiful story, Clover's story rings bells. I know about the lonely spot, I have one now. I know how she feels. We are having delightful weather here. Warm, with a light breeze. I will be outside weeding the rose garden soon. Then planting some herbs for the rest of the day.

    • profile image

      Mmy 6 weeks ago


    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      This was a particularly touching and beautiful story, Mike. The too familiar scenario of lovers being separated by war. A pleasing ending as you always provide. I enjoyed this.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky - Thank you for stopping by. These Carriage Driver stories try to describe the human condition. I can only imagine the empty place you feel. You both fought so hard and so long.

      Hope you enjoyed your garden.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Mmy - Thanks for the comment. I hope you enjoy your time here at Hubpages.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello John - Thank you. The carriage Driver stories do, as a rule have the happy ending. Hmm, that might be the whole point of these. The ideas are few and far between these days. I appreciate the visit.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 6 weeks ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Crimson and Clover. "Ah...what a beautiful feeling...over and over..." are the echoes we sense and feel with this stunning story. Just beautiful, Mike!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna - Thank you. These stories are so far on the spectrum from the F&F series. I appreciate your kind comment.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 6 weeks ago from South Africa

      Wars have ended so many beautiful relationships, and forced so many people to live on with a hole filled with sadness and longing in their hearts. If only we could know for sure that we will meet our beloveds again.

      Touching story and beautiful music! Thank you, Mike :)

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 6 weeks ago from Riga, Latvia

      A most heartfelt and touching story. Being together once more this time forever more can be said they were all in clover

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Martie - You are right. War has interrupted lives and changed many family histories. Sad really, that war is still a part of culture. The only reason it still exists is small men. They want to steal resources rather than buy resources.

      Thank you for such a nice comment.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Gypsy - Thank you. My muse dropped the word clover in the in box and then left. Glad you liked the story of love and loneliness.

      Now 'clover' for everyone!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 6 weeks ago from Texas

      Mike, this is a beautiful, tender story of true love, and how sweet the reunion must be for the young lovers.

      Like Maria said I never tire of reading your beautiful stories of Griffin and Nuelle.

      Blessings always and always

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 6 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      From the beginning to the end of the story I was captivated by the richness of detail and the beauty of the moment captured in time. I knew what was coming but I read on, hopeful that it wouldn't be so. Even after such a long time the important things remained in her heart. Truly a wonderful story Mike. The Wedding Song was the perfect choice for the music.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Shy - Thank you. It may be that people are looking for something soft, and a tender lover story fills the bill. I guess it cannot all be politics, politics, politics. That first love always makes the deepest impression.

      Thanks for the compliment and as always the blessings.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 6 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - As ideas for these stories run thin I have to take more risks with concepts. 'Clover' was the launch point to this story, and this is what developed. Thanks for the visit and kind comment.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 weeks ago from North America

      I wonder just how many people find a lost love in Heaven? Many more than we suspect, perhaps, and a find idea for a movie. I like the image of two bicycles.

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Patty – The original concept of The Carriage Driver stories is what is heaven and who gets to go. As the series has gone on (and on) the question is still an important driver. There has been some different excursions. To me, what point is there if you do not get to be, if you choose, with your loved ones in the hereafter. I appreciate your continued support. And I have used the bicycle twice now. That is because how nice it would be to potentially take a bike ride through heaven as your journey continues.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 11 days ago from Central Florida

      Mike, I love this story. I'm so happy Robert and Clover found each other at the end of her Earthly journey. Never again will loneliness leave a gap in their hearts.

      Great song choices, too!

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 11 days ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha - I try to make these stories address what so many of us share, known as the human condition. So, I am glad you liked it. Clover and Robert had the life they wanted to live snatched from them. It is only fair, they get a chance at that life. And what a way to start, a bike ride through the back roads of heaven. Thanks for the visit.

    Click to Rate This Article