|This week's prompt at The Mag|
“Wow, everybody's in a hurry.” He observes while basking on a bench in the middle of a park; or is it a meadow? Doesn't matter. The air is light and breezy, and the sky so bright that it bleaches the colors of the day.
They must be on their lunch breaks. He muses as people whisk by and then fade into the shadows of their office buildings; or are they trees? The mystery of his surroundings holds little interest for him at the moment. He's more intrigued by the way the shadows seem to engulf the passersby as they reach the edge of the grassy plot. The glare of sunlight befogs the perception of everything that enters the shadows.
It is out of this sun bathed fog, a gray-haired woman approaches with a weathered smile and tired eyes that reveal a spark of passion as she sits down on the bench beside him. Though she looks much older than him, her strangely familiar warmth makes his pulse race, and awkwardness interrupts the peaceful afternoon, as he struggles to start a conversation with her.
“Hi...” He pauses when he realizes she's trying to tell him something. Her eyes start to water as she softly moves her lips, but makes no sound. Wearily, she glances over her shoulder, and he notices that the shadows appear to be stretching toward her, hushing the glare of day.
“Where has the time gone?” He mumbles.
Turning back toward him, she unfolds a piece of paper and hands it to him. It reads:
I’m so sorry I flinched
When you would get upset
Cowered, though you were never harsh
To your innocent heart…
Though you understood why
Your heart still choked
I’m so sorry you became
My ingrained psychotropic replacement addiction
An impossible role
That you patiently endured
While I convulsed and transformed
A screaming withdrawal
That left you feeling you could do nothing right
I’m so sorry you’re not here to see
Your seventeen years of faithfulness created
Accepting and supporting me
Forming and growing with me…
Your reward is despoiled prematurely
My evolution is empty without you
All my love,
Your remorseful wife
The paper turns to ash and is carried away by the breeze before he can read the last two lines. Staring at the now vacant spot on the bench beside him, an emptiness deep inside festers, but only momentarily until the peacefulness of the day rolls back in. The shadows recede once more to the edge of the lea, and the sky brightens.
“I wonder if I should be heading home now?” He examines the hand less watch face strapped to his wrist. Guess not. Resting his elbows on the back of the bench and one foot across the other knee, he settles back into life on the other side of a dream.