~*~1380 One Summer Evening~*~
Frodo stood once again in the garden near the small path in
Buckland. It was the summer of his twelfth year. The place
should not be so familiar to one so young and yet it seemed the quiet
beauty and the rows of white markers had always been part of his life.
Indeed he had been coming here since he could remember. Even before he
knew what death was before he knew what or who a sister was. She
laid here in the garden his "twin" whom he had never met except in his
dreams. He wished that she were alive he always did but never
more than today. Today he was truly alone he fell to his knees as
the magnitude of the past few days events finally sank into his
heart. He felt for his parents for he now knew the depth of the
anguish they had born over the loss of his sibling. He knew because he
felt it a gnawing disbelief and denial tainted with the frankness of
reality. He was alone…His life would never be the same.
It was a fair July morning and Primula and Drogo Baggins had left early
for an outing. Frodo they had left in the care of Esmeralda this
was to be a day to themselves. They crossed the river near the
ferry using a small boat the kind used by all the Brandybucks and
though Drogo was not as adept he had grown accustomed to the
craft. Primula had always enjoyed a short trip up the river and
it had taken her years to get Drogo to even try. Now it was one
of their favorite things to do together. The trip up stream was
pleasant and the stand of trees and privacy were well worth the
struggle against the current.
They had pulled the boat ashore and picnicked in their favorite
spot. The tree under which they sat was the very tree where Drogo
had asked for her hand and high on the trunk their initials could be
seen carved into the bark of the tree. It was a permanent
testament to their love for each other. They always looked at the
tree lovingly when they came here it was an unspoken joy they
shared. The sun was warm and the food was plentiful and as they
finished the meal and drank a bottle of Old winyard together they
laughed and smiled and sat closely together.
"One day we shall have to bring our dear Frodo with us" said Drogo
unexpectedly. This trip had always just been their special
getaway it had never occurred to Primula to bring Frodo along.
They took him everywhere else with them indeed he rarely left
them. Only this trip and this little secret they withheld from
their beloved son. Primula looked at him in question why had he
thought of this now she wondered to herself. She took a deep breath and
knew Frodo would love it here, as did the two of them. He was
like neither of his parents but was an interesting combination of
both. Drogo had commented many times on how fortunate they were
to have a child that had the best qualities of both parents. She
smiled at the thought of him she always did her son was the smartest,
most handsome, sweetest most considerate hobbit she knew. And
then she laughed in spite of herself, and thought; "a completely
unbiased opinion", and she giggled again.
"Yes", she said aloud, "I think he is old enough to appreciate it
here". It seemed to her his childhood was fleeting. Frodo
always seemed much older and more independent than she remembered being
at his age. He was still only twelve and yet it may be time she
thought again. A sudden regret hit her that and she wished he was
with them today, that today should have been the day that young Frodo
had seen the place his parents had promised their love forever.
So much of his life had been of sharing the grief and remembering his
sister she wondered at herself that she had not thought to share this
subtle joy with the lad. He was so serious and somber at times he
needed to know that along with the great sorrows there was also great
joy. Primula shook the regret away of course he knew that all
ready she smiled. Everyday with Frodo was a great joy and she was
in no hurry to see her only son grow into a tween.
Frodo awoke suddenly from a sleep he had not intended. He looked
around desperately trying to remember where he was and why. His
eyes fell upon the grave of his sister and the memories flooded
back. The grief that stuck him was overwhelming and he bowed his
head to the ground his body wracked with great sobs. He was alone…
The afternoon had passed quickly and Drogo and Primula Baggins had
wandered far through the wooded area just north of Farmer Maggots
property. They were late, very late and they walked quickly
trying to get to the river before nightfall. "Drogo love lets
leave the boat and take the ferry back across the river." As
comfortable as she was in boats the river was swift and could be
dangerous in the dark. Drogo did not wish to travel so far out of
the way and so they were in a race against the sun. It was nearly
8 in the evening and the sun was riding low on the horizon when they
pushed forth from the bank. Primula was laughing at Drogo who was
quite winded after their dash to the river the mood was light it had
been a lovely day.
There was not a breath of wind all was calm and the sound of summer
insects was music in their ears. Drogo gently steered the craft with
the oars there was no need to row the current did all the work.
Dusk had fallen and fireflies lit the banks the lights were coming on
in the distant homes of Buckland and sounds of soft laughter floated
out to them.
Perhaps the calm of the night or their relaxed state had caused it.
There was no indication of a problem nor should there have been it was
a trip they had made hundreds of times. The oar slipped from
Drogo's hand and he reached to grab it. Primula saw it fall and gently
leaned to retrieve it. And then they were gone; into the waters
in the center of the river they fell. A small exclamation of
surprise and a soft splash were they only sounds as the couple went
under. Neither could swim of course most Hobbits could not, even
the few who could would have been no match for the swift undercurrents
of the river. The boat floated on half filled with water and came
to rest just short of the landing. No one had seen a thing.
Primula knew as she went under that she would never see him again she
struggled to reach the boat but it was far from her reach and there was
Drogo she could see him dimly just with in reach. She grasped his
struggling hands with her own and they passed out of this world
together. Their last thoughts were of their son, their beloved,
special son. It would be a sorrow to him they knew and then they
He sat staring straight ahead he could not look to his right. The
markers were there but his parents were not. They were missing
not dead it could not be. Yet Bilbo had come and told him it was
so. Esme and Saradoc had been there also they had all been
crying. He held to Esme but he had refused to believe; it could
not be…if it was he was alone. Why? He cried aloud why them, why
me? He whispered to the air they were so good and kind why? Why?
He broke down into sobs yet again.
A soft voice spoke behind him. He had known that eventually Bilbo
would come to find him. He knew it would be Bilbo not Esme or
Saradoc. For though he loved them they did not understand him not
the way old Bilbo did. Bilbo spoke again softly soothingly,
wisely. "There is no reason son", the voice said. Frodo did
not respond or lift his head. Things happen and there is no one
to blame and nothing to fix, nothing to do but to go on.
The small bitter voice that responded was not the voice of a
twelve-year-old child. "I should have died with them," he
said. Bilbo reeled at the thought could he live in a world with
out Frodo in it. As heartbroken as he was over the death of his
cousin Drogo and his lovely wife it was nothing compared to the pain
that had shot through him at the thought of losing Frodo. "No
Lad, no", and Bilbo wept.
Bilbo could think of nothing to say. He could find no words he
had been staying with him since he had broken the news to him and never
had he seen Frodo in such a state. He wondered when the last time
he had eaten or bathed had been. No one had the heart to be firm
with him and he had refused the gentle advances of Esmeralda. The
day the news was broken to him he had retreated to his room and had
remained there. No one had any idea that Frodo was so
strong-minded. Bilbo was sure to make food available and he was a
fine cook he made all of Frodo's favorite dishes but he only picked
when he even came to the table.
Now this, for the last two days he had found him at the grave of his
sister little Primrose. The markers for his parents stood there
also but they were not there. They were lost and chances were
they would never be found. It made the reality more difficult for
Frodo. Just the night before Frodo had told him they would be
back but the tears that poured from his face gave away his
uncertainties. "But Bilbo they said you were dead and you came
back". Bilbo didn't quite know how to answer. It was after all, all too
true all of Hobbiton had thought him dead they were auctioning off his
things when he returned for heavens sake. How to explain? He
shook his head. It was rare that Bilbo was a t a loss for words.
He walked over to Frodo who remained crumpled in a heap and picked him
up. He did not respond he just lay in his arms neither resisting
nor submitting. His eyes had begun to take on afar off glaze and
Bilbo was worried. Just when he thought Frodo was improving he
slid down another slope into a deeper despair. It was so
unnatural to see him like this and Bilbo wept as he carried him down
the hill and back to Brandyhall.