Oranges

Oranges belong to your town.

What’s meant by that is that they are a special breed of oranges that only grow in your hometown here. The peaches and pears and even the coconuts have all been imported at one time or another, but the oranges were ‘born’ into this town. They’ve grown here for as long as you can remember.

You hurry over to the house that once was owned by your Nan, before she left town a few days ago. You can remember that she always proudly tended a couple of orange trees in her front-garden, showing her support for the livelihood of town here.

Sure enough, there are the two trees, standing gloriously when you arrive. As you begin to look for the most sumptuous of the oranges, swirling round the trees and picking off the loveliest you can see, a lady wanders up to you. In your rush you don’t notice much more than her dark lipstick and the black-rimmed lines of her blue eyes.

“Hello? My name is Aurora. What are you doing in my garden?”

“You garden?” you gasp, slightly out of breath. “This is- was my Nan’s garden, and I just need a couple of her oranges.”

“Are you off on a trip, then? Presents are customary, aren’t they?” You hear the slight snide notes in her voice.

Biting your tongue, you nod, and make your way with your two oranges back to the town gate, not thinking about who she was or what she had said. The guard raises his eyebrows, wordlessly asking if you’re finally ready to go. In response, you sheepishly grin, and step through the gate as he opens it.

Then you’re out into the big wide world.

***

After a dusty trek for however-long it takes you to walk to Katy’s town, also hidden in a valley, you see a brightly decorated gate in distance. At the open gate, you see, as you come nearer, a slender girl, with shoulder-length black hair and eyes slanted to match her Chinese-tanned skin, waving. A band are just inside the town, and they’re playing a jolly tune of welcome.

“Katy!” you cry, running to meet her.

Your pen-pal and friend greets you with a grin and a hug, and then she notices the objects in your hands.

“Oranges?”

“Yeah,” you nod, “they’re a rare breed, unique to my town. I didn’t know what to bring, but I thought something personal would do,” you add, blushing slightly.

Katy looks at you dumbly for a second, and then her expression breaks into a big smile. She takes one of the oranges, and pulls you along into her town.

“Of course!” she giggles. “Come on, I’ll show you my expanded house and then I’ll show you around the town I call home. This is such a great place, don’t you agree?”

You gaze around at the summer-blue sky with a ball of subtle orange casting rays of warmth down onto your arms. You pull off your jumper and push it into your rucksack; something thick like that seems unnecessary in this beautiful place. A squirrel gallops past your feet as Katy leads you across the small stone bridge over a river of blue crystal. The bridge is dry, even as the fish splash past it, and there is no way to fall off, as tiny as it seems.

When you reach Katy’s house, which, she tells you, she shares with her brother, cousin and another girl from the town of Forrest, you are awestruck by its size. Truly, Katy has found herself a place somewhere, when you are not even able to pay a bill to your landlord.

The End

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