Patty turned the empty pot over and sat down upon it. Its wide rim sunk into the wet green grass with a hollowed thump. The entire hill glowed an emerald green, a tale tell sign of the passing rain. A rumble of thunder overhead warned of another brewing storm. The veiled blue sky was shrouded by gray clouds except for one spot. One ribbon of light burst through the gloom, illuminating the crest of the green hill.
Shimmering reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos and violets played across his freckled cheeks, but did not find any warmth there. A cold chill whipped up the green slope and played at Patty’s red curls that hung low round his ears. He pulled his green jacket tighter around his small frame and sighed, dropping his face into his empty hands.
His bonnie lass was not there. Aideen had not come. She was to meet him, here on the green hill, on this very day, just as she had done on this day for as many years as he could remember.
Is this even allowed? Can she simply not come? He thought. The curse was clear:
Thou shalt spend all the days of thy lives apart except for one, St. Patrick’ Day, until the day that ye find the meaning of true love and manifest it.
Make no mistake about it, he knew what day it was. When he was younger, he marked it with a green pen in his calendar and waited with great anticipation for the green clover to appear.
After many years, he didn’t have to save the date on paper. He could feel it coming in his bones as sure as clovers are green and the sky is blue.
He knew, or at least he thought he knew, that she felt the same way. Aideen had never not shown up.
Patty puckered his lips and started whistling a sad melody, There Were Clovers.
There were Clovers, Clovers
Green as Grass
And the tears of a people ran together
It was on a Sunday morning
Patty wiped an errant tear from his rosy cheek. The day wasn’t over yet. She could still come. He needed to think of something else to occupy the time.
The first time they met on the green hill, they had talked about the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.
It was the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death. He was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century and was taken into slavery at the age of 16. He spent six years working as a shepherd and during that time he “found God.”
Patrick escaped by boat and returned to green Ireland to convert his fellow pagan countrymen to Christianity. He used the three leaved green clover as a symbol for the Holy Trinity.
A cold wind blew and roused Patty from this thoughts. His watch read 12:00 a.m. It was the day after St. Patrick’s Day! Aideen had missed it. She hadn’t come. The chilly night closed in, wrapping him in loneness.
Patty placed his hands on his knees and pushed up to stand. He turned the pot right round and started to descend the green hill.
(To be continued…)