“I love all your books.”

“That’s very nice of you.”

Another compliment… another signature.

Three hours later, the winding queue had disappeared, her pen laid to rest and the few remaining copies of her latest bestseller returned to the shelves.

She’d got through it.  She’d feared she’d never be able to face another book signing.  Not after her last, the day she’d met Robert…

***

Head and shoulders above the line of chattering women, he was easy to spot long before he reached her.

Obviously ill at ease, he hastily instructed her to inscribe his copy of ‘Cherry Tree Lane’ to Margaret, before she had the chance to ask.

He was certainly easy on the eye.  Handing him the book, their fingers briefly touched and they held each other’s gaze just a little longer than necessary.  It pleased her that he felt he needed to clarify his purchase.

“For my mother,” he explained, as he left.

Six weeks later, she received an email inviting her to dinner.

***

Her immediate thought was how relaxed he seemed since they’d last met and she was thrilled to learn he’d actually read her book.  He appeared fascinated by the cherry trees that had inspired it.  She listened, in silence, as he spoke animatedly about the symbolic cherry blossom, renewal, and the fleeting nature of life.  Never had she known anyone so captivated with her writing.

“Your book helped me accept my fate.”

In just a few words, an evening that had held such promise slowly began to evaporate.  How calm he was, equating his own life expectancy to that of the cherry blossom.

A multitude of emotions coursed through her, each one leaving her speechless.  It was only on hearing his assumption that any relationship between them would be unfair on her, was she was able to find her voice and with it the determination to share whatever time they had.

Those bittersweet months were the happiest she had ever known.

***

“Would you sign mine?” a staff member broke into her thoughts.

Her eyes fell to the front cover.  ‘Robert, my love.’

“With pleasure.”

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Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse (@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Linda, your story was so well told. It was easy to follow the sequence of events and the short ‘sections’ added to the tension that was building up. I am glad that the protagonist and Robert got to spend his last days together and that it was a happy time for them. This was such a beautiful, heartfelt story.

Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills (@greene-m-wills)
1 year ago

It doesn’t matter if it’s for a lifetime or a few days or months: true love can happen anytime to anybody: Robert and his half of the coin found happiness and time was irrelevant. I loved it!

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
1 year ago

This is such an easy read Linda, in that, I felt I was there at the book signing, such a lovely, but alas sad story.

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Susan Giles
Susan Giles (@susan-giles)
1 year ago

Quite a poignant ending. I enjoyed reading this story.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza (@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

A book about a cherry tree making readers think of their lives; amazing how Nature can show the true meaning of our fate,through love and hope, Linda.

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Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

I’m stirred deeply by the poignancy of your story. It’s a nice, hopeful sort of story to read.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti (@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

You’re welcome, Linda.

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

Such a bittersweet story Linda. So much emotion in there and the love really shone through.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

I enjoyed reading it, Linda. It was beautifully written and very easy to understand.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda Rock

You’re welcome.

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