It was almost nightfall when he found the door leading to his grandpa’s garden. The grounds guarded by lush foliage in the morning never looked this direful as the fiery orange lights of the dusk illuminated the trees. The air was cool, fresher and healthier than what he could breathe in from the Hampshire downtown. It caressed his face like invisible nippy fingers, but this sensation was not noticed a lot. Lendl couldn’t take a step forward—or backward—as though his shoes were glued on the earth. The tables hanging in the midair by the vines dangling from the tree…this place was certainly eerie.
It was the start of spring break when Lendl Howell, aged seventeen, received a call from his mom. The morning sun was sneaking in his room through the gap in his slightly drawn curtain, shining directly on his face. The drool was still on his cheeks; his hair mussed. His bed was on a more devastated state compared to his overall being, of course. Rolling to the other side of the bed, kicking a pillow out along the process, Lendl tried to ignore the noise.
All boys of his age might say the same thing; it was hard to get up in the morning. It was already half-past eight that time though, and his phone was ringing ceaselessly. It was his mom for sure; she would always call at the same hour of the day. He reached out groggily to grab his phone from the nightstand, and there he heard the most unexciting news he could hear for the first day of spring break: Lendl would be spending his short vacation in Ireland.
That was how his vacation started. His arduous flight to Ireland was filled with thoughts about the London that he was supposed to see with his friends today, had his grandpa’s health been good. But no, his mom asked him to give his grandparents a company until she got back in Hampshire from America. Still, he might enjoy this vacation in one way or another.
Soon enough Lendl found himself staring at an old house standing amid the almost-nothingness. It was still wintry cold in Dublin, obvious from the grey sky. Still there were heaps of snow everywhere, but they seemed to melt slowly. Lendl looked back at the manor his grandfather owned, and with a deep breath, he stepped in. He tried to ignore the chills he felt when he walked pass the ivory growing over the walled garden. The tall trees were like glistening jades despite of the depressing sky just like in the book he read once, The Secret Garden.
It turned out that neither of his grandparents was severely sick. Their housemaid left to spend spring in her hometown, so the two were left all by themselves. They were weak, yes, and Lendl’s youthful built would help them in doing the house chores. Half-heartedly he began to clean up the gloomy house. It was the sort of place with lots of dark corners and hidden staircase, but he knew all of these for he used to spend summer breaks in this house with his cousins. Today, it seemed to be a sad place though, unlike the good old days of his childhood in here.
By the time he was finished helping his grandma preparing for dinner and putting his grandpa on the mat, the sky was dyed with orange and the sun was halfway setting on the horizon. Lendl walked to the nearest window and glanced down, only to notice how the insides of the walled garden looked like. There were tables set under the tree, topped with white sheets. It was a huge garden, somewhat a mini-forest. As though his feet moved on their own accord, Lendl came running down the flight of stairs, yelling, “Grandma, I’ll visit the garden!”
It was almost nightfall when he found the door leading to his grandpa’s garden. The grounds guarded by lush foliage in the morning never looked this direful as the fiery orange lights of the dusk illuminated the trees. The air was cool, fresher and healthier than what he could breathe in from the Tokyo downtown. It caressed his face like invisible nippy fingers, but this sensation was not noticed a lot. Lendl couldn’t take a step forward—or backward—as though his shoes were glued on the earth. The tables hanging in the midair by the vines dangling from the tree…this place was certainly eerie. Everything appeared normal when he viewed it from the window. Right? Whatever happened, he didn’t know too. The wooden tables and chairs were hanging from the tree; silverwares placed atop the surface were never falling. His breath hitched, quite unsure how to feel with what he saw. The sun continued to set, and slowly—slowly—the shadows gobbled up the garden.
Lendl wanted to go back, not wanting to spend another moment in such creepy garden. He was about to turn around when he heard a loud rustling from the trees. He instinctively ducked and covered his head. Something seemed to fall, so he looked up when the rustling stopped and saw giant seahorses hanging from the trees. It was darker now, but the dim light of sunset was still illuminating a part of the garden. Huge seashells were scattered on the ground, placed quietly near the bulging roots of the trees. And if a while ago he was alone, now he wasn’t. There were people seated on the hanging seats, gracefully eating their dinner. They had diving goggles on and they were dressed in black – except for the white collars for the guys.
Like a tree rooted on its place, Lendl couldn’t move. Either he was scared or amazed, only he could tell. The door leading back to his grandparents’ house was now gone behind him. The clinking wine glasses and the murmurs of the people eating on the hanging tables and chairs echoed in the garden. The lesser the sunlight illuminating the garden, the more realistic everything seemed to be. Soon, only the grassy ground was touched by the orange sun. Music played somewhere and the people hopped down from their seats. Waltzing along the serenade, laughing like graceful muses, everyone seemed to enjoy the feast. Everyone enjoyed…everyone but Lendl who was naively standing a distance from the crowd. He was noticed, though, by a girl with narrowed eyes who was surrounded by glittering dust.
“Ooh, Ireland and its fairytales.”
“How are you doing?” she asked.
Reluctantly he answered, “I’m quite not fine.”