Felicity and Ivan strolled hand in hand through the meadow. They loved the peace, and the beauty of all the wild things. When they reached a nice, open, warm spot they sat down in the grass. For a long time, neither of them spoke. Felicity let a tiny spider run across her fingers and up her arm, before gently scooping her up and placing her back on the grass, smiling sadly. “Oh Ivan,” she sighed finally, “I’ll miss you so much.” Ivan reached over to pull her in, hugging her tightly.
Ivan and Felicity had been friends since they were 10 months old. They were born in the same month, in the same town, and had met at playgroup. Upon discovering that they lived so close to one another, their mothers had become firm friends, paving the way for Ivan and Felicity to grow up side-by-side for the next 14 years. They did everything together: They took their first steps on the same day, started their first school together, learned to ride a bike with each others’ encouragement, shared birthday parties and friends. All-in-all, they had been inseparable. No one knew them better than the other. And now Ivan’s father had been asked to move away with his job, and the whole family were going with him.
“Are you quite sure I won’t fit into your bag?” Felicity asked sincerely. “I’ll be ever so quiet, I promise. No one will even know I’m there until it’s far too late, and by then I’m sure they’ll all agree it’s just best for me to stay and…” Ivan chuckled. “Oh F’liss.” He smiled. “You know I’ll miss you too, but if you came with me, who would write and tell me all about the animals and flowers in the meadow? And who would I have to call me and tell me how they’ve made friends with yet another mini-crawly, and are planning to start a crawly-people army and take over the world?” He grinned at Felicity cheekily. She laughed. “I will you know! And when my butterfly squadron bombards your house with over-ripe strawberries, don’t come crying to me about how your best jeans are all squidgy and red!” And she pulled away from him, throwing a handful of grass and laughing.
For the rest of the afternoon the two friends laughed and wandered aimlessly through the meadow, trying to forget about Ivan’s flight in the morning. That evening they wandered to the Meadow Watcher’s cottage, and sat drinking pink lemonade and talking about all the many meadow visits of the years gone by. By the time they could bear to make their separate ways home, the moon was already risen, bright and beautiful, and the meadow gleamed shades of green and blue.
Hand-in-hand they strolled through the dewy grass, no longer laughing. From the hedgerows came the sound of night time crawlies chirping and clicking and buzzing. At the bottom of the meadow they turned to one another and embraced.
“Bye F’liss.” Whispered Ivan into her hair. “Bye Ivan.” Felicity sobbed into his chest. And they turned and headed in opposite directions, towards home. Just as each reached the far sides of the meadow, they stopped and turned. Seeing one another for the last time in this way they were both saddened and comforted. “I’ll come back for you, don’t worry F’liss!” Ivan called. “I’ll wait right here!” Felicity called back, tears rolling down her rosy cheeks. And suddenly they sprinted across the meadow towards one another, arms outstretched, for one final embrace.
Off in the distance, sitting on a log, a tiny pink bear had looked up from her sketching in the pale moonlight, having heard voices. Framed against the night sky she saw two figures running toward one another, before embracing for a long time. “How lovely,” she thought, “what a wonderful painting that would make.” And went back to her sketching.