It was near the ocean when Little John found Big Alice. The waves were singing their usual sound; the one that has been the inspiration of so many lovers and poets in the past. The sunset painted every corner of the beach with that orange color that turns every cold visiting smile into a warm one. Big Alice was there too, talking to the wind, when suddenly little John called her:
–Hey! Big Alice, what are you doing?
–Hey Little John. I´m here as usual, waiting for the answer.
– What answer? He asked.
–The one I told you yesterday. She replied.
Little John had forgotten that that question should never be asked to her, because people in the village had always said that when she began to talk, it will never let you go until she was done.
All of a sudden he found himself sitting right next to her. While a couple of clouds began to circle over their heads.
Big Alice was lonely a light-skinned, thin, pretty and always happy but mysterious woman. No one knew her story. Some even said that despite all her years that she has been around, she has always looked young. But others were happy with her presence and did not say anything against her, because she was always helping people in need. Although, there was one thing in which everyone agreed, no one knew where she lived or where she came from.
Little John knew all this, but still was intrigued about this woman, that is the reason why he did not really mind to stay there as long as she wanted. Deep inside his mind he wanted to solve the mystery. He wanted to know where she lived.
After two hour talking she finally said: It is done. Do you wanna go to where I live?
Little John could not believe what she was saying, and immediately answer back: Sure, let´s go.
Big Alice took his hand and they began to walk to the west. There was a river that connected to the ocean, so they began to walk along the river side. While there were walking Little John was thinking about how he would tell all his friends what he was about to find and how famous he would be in the village once he revealed where Big Alice lived.
They had been walking for 4 hours now; the sunset remained quiet behind them, as it was a picture, while dark clouds gathered above and in front of them and temperature went down. Little John got worried and asked: how far do you live?
– Quiet!, she said.
And then she got into the river and the river seemed to get up in a giant column that reached the clouds. Little John was in panic. He tried to run but he could not move. Then a loud voice from the river said:
– Thank you for the sacrifice Alice, now you are free. Here is your answer.
Little John did not understand anything but he heard a voice inside his mind tell him.
–I´m sorry. This was the only way I could really go home. I have been trapped inside this woman´s body for 300 years and the only way I could leave this body was bringing someone who really wanted to solve the mystery of my presence in the village. I was punished by nature when i was a drop from a cloud that refused to get back to the water cycle when I fell in love with the sand. Ever since, the father river and my mother cloud condemned me to be in the village for 300 years and not tell anybody my story, otherwise I would be turned into a stone. They asked me to be nice to everyone as well, as a way to show that my love was that big that I could wait for my beloved sand to become a tree, in 300 years, in which I could finally rest for all eternity. Now it is all done and you will take my spot.
– What?! Am I dreaming?! Little John said. I wanna go, I wanna go now!
– No my dear. You have to stay. Otherwise, the whole village will be destroyed by an earthquake. She said.
Then the river began to roar. It was impossible to hear anything. The river had heard that he did not want to remain 300 years trapped in Alice´s body, so the earth began to tremble. John was talking up by a cloud and watched how the village was destroyed; how people were running and how a giant tsunami swallowed the village. Only a tree remained, it was Alice´s loved one.
He was in tears. He did not what to do. Then he heard a voice inside his head. It was Alice´s. She told him: Don´t worry, it all be o.k. Tell the river you wanna be a shade and the three of us will live together.
And so he did. He did not have any other option. The river forgave him and became a shade under the tree in which Alice and her loved one lived for ever.
It is now said that when people stopped by the tree on autumn, they can feel the love beneath it branches but when you someone sits in its shade, they get depressed and all end up committing suicide. This is now known has the curse of the autumn shade.
Por Pablo Mirlo