Anne of Green Gables
The First Walk
(Standard Disclaimers Apply)
Gilbert stood on the centre of the bridge, and for once Avonlea’s beauty faded into the background. He only had eyes for Anne, now more than ever, she was his whole world. She had just made his every dream come true; Anne Shirley had agreed to be his bride. She was so beautiful, both in face and most especially in spirit. She was smiling up at him, her eyes sparkling. They were holding hands still, and now he realised she was trembling.
“Anne?” he realised his voice was trembling to. “Are you alright?” he asked.
“Oh Gil, I now know what it’s like to finally be perfectly happy! I love you!” she gasped.
Gilbert swallowed. He had waited so long to hear Anne say those words; every since Diana had introduced them at the three-legged race all those years ago. Through all their spats, silly rivalry and their eventual friendship, his love for her had never once wavered. Even when she had tried to dye her red hair black and it had turned green, he had loved her. (Anne didn’t know this yet, but Gil had given his best friend Moody a black eye for teasing her about that!) He knew for certain it was the hope her visit to his sickbed that had given him the will to improve, the very will to live. He searched for the words to say all of that and so much more, but they would not come; instead the best he could manage was her name. “Anne.”
There was silence for a moment and then he tried again. “Anne, could I, could I ask you something?”
“Yes of course Gil, anything.” Anne’s voice made it crystal clear she meant it.
Gilbert blushed deep scarlet: “Well, this is going to sound silly, and I’m sure Mrs. Lynde would say it’s not proper, but could I please hold you, just this once, just so that I know this is really real?”
Speechless (for once), with love and happiness Anne threw
herself into Gilbert’s arms and clung to him as though her soul depended on
never letting him go again (which of course it did).
He looked down to answer and was horrified to see that she had been crying. “Anne, Sweetheart, what is it? Have I hurt you?” he said afraid that he had held her too tightly.
Anne tried to smile through her tears: “No, no; your touch could never hurt me my Darling. It is I who have hurt you; all those times I turned my back on you, snubbed you, said horrid, spiteful, wretched things to you! How can you love me after all that? I’m sorry Gil. I’ll understand if…”
“Anne Shirley stop. Stop right there. Don’t think that, don’t say that, and swear to me you’ll never, ever think it. I love you, now I know you love me to. That is all that will ever matter now.”
She tried to apologize again, but he realised that the
only way to stop her was to kiss her thoroughly, which he did.
“I know this is going to be a difficult thing to do, but can we not tell anyone for now?” She saw Gilbert’s face fall: “Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to tell anyone; I want the world to know how perfectly happy I am. It’s just that tonight is Alice Penhallow’s bonfire; it should be her night and Katherine is still so fragile in her friendship with me, I wouldn’t her to feel that I was showing off and start hating me again. You understand that, don’t you?”
Gilbert smiled. That was Anne, always putting others before herself. “Alright Anne, for the price of a kiss I shall promise to try. But not to tell anyone? ‘On your head be it’ if I burst!”
They both laughed and Anne paid her dues.
Gilbert was about to protest, but Anne stopped him with a finger to his lips: “Besides, your father, Marilla and Rachel will all ‘raise Cain’ at me if you catch a chill and I would never forgive myself..”
This last won him over: “Alright Anne, for you anything. Go if you must, but tell me you love me and then do it quickly before I hold you to me and never let you go.”
Anne shivered; the look on Gilbert’s face and the tone of his voice where so intense she knew he meant every word. “I love you Gilbert Blythe.” She said standing on tip-toe to kiss him on the cheek. Then she turned, picked up the bushel of apples and walked quickly back to her side of the bridge. Just as she stepped onto the grass, she turned back: “Gil?!” she called.
Even though he had already turned and started back toward the Blythe farm at a faster pace than he had managed in a long time he turned: “Yes?”
“Meet me at the crossroads at 8:30 tomorrow morning. I
know someone we can trust to keep our secret! Now go!”
“I love you!”
With that Anne turned and headed briskly for Green Gables; trying her would-be married name for size on her tongue: “Mrs Anne Blythe,” she aloud to a squirrel who crossed her path. Yes, it fit her heart perfectly.