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About an old man who must learn to deal with his wife's death. A very sad but moving story, if I must say so myself.
I am a new writer, picked up a pen just a few years ago.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Choosing (Short Stories) Young man faced with choosing life or death [516 words] [Drama]
Shifting uncomfortably in my seat, I gaze out at the landscape. The sky is filled with grief.
The clouds, heavy with tears pull on the sky, forcing it downward. The unbearable weight of it presses on my once broad shoulders, forcing them inward. My head lowered, my body bent into submission. An ashen gray pallor, not unlike my own, covers my world. Once tall stately Oaks encircled the garden, protecting her. Their carelessness has transformed them into living corpses feeding on the dying, frozen ground. Limbs, matted and twisted by the harsh wind reach out for me. Captured hopelessly in its tendrils a long abandoned nest withers and dies. Barren and empty, it will know no new beginnings. It recognizes it uselessness. Leaves sucked dry and drained of life, hang twisted and bent like arthritic fingers. The October wind is cold, irritable and bitter. It howls and moans, thrashing and beating the leaves to the ground. In their fight for freedom, they race around my bench, encircling my feet and holding tight to hem of my overcoat. I am incapable of saving them. I deny them their escape and kick them away. Inwardly I cower, pulling my gaunt form closer to the heavy fabric. Without its' weight I would be propelled upward. Only black wool shrouds my frailness. A sunless mist of bleakness consumes my soul, only the blackness of my overcoat keeps me from being absorbed into the void. The rustling leaves disturb my ravings. Pulling up my collar against the biting wind, I remember where it began.
It was not Monday because Monday had color. The garden she loved so much aflame with autumn. Her bench, framed like a portrait in the gold flecked windowpane, shone with silver streaks. It was like me, gone Grey with age, but she did not seem to notice. She sits there still, if only in my mind. Her skin pink flushed from the morning sun.
The yellows were everywhere. Sparkling gold tipped leaves, pushed their way through the front door, playing hide and seek between the pages of my morning newspaper. The coffee a rich, amber color and eggs yolks as bright as the morning sun. My hand wrinkled and sun browned touches her cheek, her skin, curiously pale, was cool to the touch. I rub my morning stubble, rough and gray against her face and she shoos me away. The smile, always present in her blue eyes, softens the blow. I can still see the bright yellow and green stripes on her apron and the vibrant red liquid creeping around the shiny floor where she fell. Heaviness engulfs me. Dark and thick, like molasses, a fog descends around me. It covers the room consuming the sunlight, replacing it with a cold winter chill. My slippers stick in the mire making each step a torturous journey. I press against its grip and propel myself forward. Stumbling and shivering I reach her but not before the coldness has found her. Pulling her body to me, I feel her gentleness being replaced by frailness. Her breathing becomes ragged, the sparkle in her eyes dims. Her hand, pale and fragile, reaches out for me. A golden morning ray, filtering through the curtains, carried my prayers upward.
The front door, its' hinges protesting the arrival of morning, would yawn and screech with discomfort. It was an old door but it gave me a sense of comfort to hear its constant protest, assuring me that no harm would be admitted. Ignoring its warning the intruders, wearing masks to mute their words, crashed into my sanctuary. They came with a screeching siren, topped with a once red orb to silence my world. They ripped from me the sounds of comfort. Silenced was the gentle hum of her morning song. It was a tender melody, as gentle as her soul, now extinguished. The low hushed sounds of her dreaming beside me are replaced by starched stiff jackets rubbing back
and forth around the room, scraping the pitch from my ears, replacing it with waves crashing on some far away shore. Only seconds before, a woodpecker, pecking incessantly to relieve his ravenous hunger is suddenly full, and the drone of the radio announcer with so much more to tell muted mid sentence. They covered her face with their white cloth silencing her laugh forever. Frozen in place, my mind racing. Breathing was becoming almost impossible. My lungs allowed me only shallow gasps of air. The weight on my chest was unbearable. I was suffocating. "Get away" I screamed, but no sounds came; only a silent roar imbedded deep in my soul. I could not allow them to take her away from me. Panic freed my arms from their imprisonment and my hands torn at this evil to send it away. I lashed out at anything in my path. Cups and plates rained down on me and tinkled silently to the floor. Collapsing, my knees pressed to the cold tile floor I gathered up the pieces and raised them up, as if to the Gods, begging for their intervention. Reaching for me, with cold silver needles protruding from their plastic covered hands; they turned my colorless, silent world into blackness.
Black, hard dirt caused the pain. Blurry images of forgotten friends gather in a circle around a cold etched stone. Hands pressing hard on my shoulder prevent me from reaching my cure. Locked tight in my throat is my torment, unable to escape it pivots itself upward to my eyes and cascades down my face in liquid form. My legs now also infected with the malady resist my efforts to stand. The colors and sounds buried with her are only inches from my reach. Hands and knees imbedded into the mud, I whisper "I'll be with you soon."
Time has ceased to be. The clock, unable to conform to the rift in time hangs onto the minutes. Its gears secured, preventing the hours from passing. My body is weary but still I aimlessly wander the house, room by room, unsure of where I am. The hollow, dark corridors form a twisted web of pain and push against the sunlight forbidding it to enter. Dark and cold the walls inch closer with every memory. A curl from her hair touches my face as she brushes near me. Heart racing I reach out to caress her but she is gone. She is near me, I can sense her presence but fleeting images, hanging just outside the edge of my vision, is all I am allowed. I touch the things that were hers, but I am unable to feel them. Her brush waits patiently for her return, a small strand of her hair entwined with ivory. I press my face to a pillow and close my eyes against the memories, but the smell of her is everywhere. Crystal perfume bottles saturated with majestic aromas fill the room yet the scent of her makes me cry. A mirror that once reflected a
beautiful image now shows a haggard broken man. Letters from a soldier far away, tied tenderly with a faded ribbon, are safely tucked in a corner. A faded, worn picture of a young couple on their wedding day rips away my strength and propels me backward in time. We stood side by side, hands entwined, while a playful summer breeze tugged gently at her veil, freeing a curl. I touch its softness. My fingers trace the soft line of her face,
touching each tiny freckle. Tears of sadness chase the dream away. From the dog-eared photograph, a man who had vowed to protect her stares back at me. A promise broken. The anguish tears at me. My need to be near her pulls me outside to her bench. My body crippled, my spirit broken, I caress its worn
texture, attempting to warm and comfort its frigid remains. My bent fingers gliding lightly over the wood catch on the minute splinters of decay. From here, I breathe the air that she did. I talk to her, I tell her of my sorrow and she comforts me.
Our old rickety bench will not last much longer. It creaks and moans like an old and dying creature. It is blind to the world. Mute, it is unable to cry out with grief. I wonder if given a choice would it just drop to dust. It has seen many years. How many is enough? How long must it continue to be? It's back is nearly broken and its face amassed with wrinkles, it has taken on the maladies of it occupant. I stroke its frail structure, remembering when it, like myself was worth saving. My silent ally hears my cry of anguish with silence. Its compassion is in its persistence.
|READER'S REVIEWS (4)
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"Teriffic, a wonderfully detailed story, tugging at my heart strings. " -- Kim, Plymouth, MA, USA.
"Sometimes a story comes along and just pulls you in! Without your knowing you become a part of this tale of love lost...the Preverbal fly on wall. Excellent!!!!" -- kris, plymouth, ma., usa.
"Good story! It would be nice to see more of the story told with dialogue - it makes the characters come alive. " -- Bren, Victoria, BC, Canada.
"Dorothy, this was a simply beautiful, moving piece. Well Done." -- Jennifer Nobile Raymond.
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© 2000 Dorothy Getchell
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