Here is a short piece of fiction for this weeks Sunday Scribblings. The prompt is Story.
It was like any other afternoon. The kids were at school, Tom was at work, and I was sitting at home wondering what to do next. I have a to-do list about a mile long, but just didn't have the motivation to tackle any of the jobs. I looked out the window. What a beautiful spring day! The sun was shining, and there was a slight breeze.
I stood there, undecided for about 30 seconds. Then, grabbing a light sweater and my keys, I went out the door. Walking briskly, I headed for the park about six blocks from my home. It was pretty empty this time of the day. There were a few young mom's with their toddlers or their dogs, and one or two senior citizens walking slowly along. I made my way to my favorite bench, overlooking the water. It was relaxing sitting there in the quiet, watching the ducks and geese.
A soft voice over my shoulder asked, "Do you mind if I sit for a bit?" "No, there's plenty of room here." I replied glancing back. The elderly man smiled as he came around and sat down. We both silently looked out over the water.
After a few moments, he spoke. "My wife and I used to walk down to this park every Sunday afternoon to watch the birds." "That must have been nice." I replied. "It was nice, now that I think about it. When we were coming, it was just part of our routine." I smiled, and he knew he had a friendly listener.
"Funny how you appreciate things so much more when they're gone." he paused, "My wife passed away a year ago in February, just before Valentine's Day. We were together for 52 years." His voice was quiet, unemotional. "I hadn't even bought her a card yet. I have a bad habit of doing those kind of things at the last minute." He reached up, scratching at his slightly whiskered chin. His eyes were lost in thought, so I turned my attention back to the ducks. I wondered what their story was. Were they very much in love, or was her passing a relief to him? Did they have children? What had their lives been like?
I glanced back over and noticed his eyes had misted up. "I'm sure you really miss your wife." I offered, wondering if he still wanted to talk. "Oh, I do. So much. It was always just her and me. We were never able to have children, and most of our family lived far away from here. It was just us." he said, with a slight smile. "But, we were enough for each other. I guess that's why it's so hard now. It gets a little lonely at times." "Oh, I'm sure it does!" I replied. He waited a moment, then added, "The one constant is my walks in this park. It's one of the few places that hasn't changed all that much. It's full of memories." The man and I, John was his name, continued to chat for about an hour. He then stiffly stood, reached out his hand and shook mine. "This was a pleasure. Thank you for listening to an old man's stories" and he headed off.
I sat for a little while longer, happy that I'd ignored the lists just this once. I felt refreshed by the spring air and the lovely memories shared with a stranger, who was now an acquaintance. I hoped our paths would cross again some afternoon.
© 07February11 ajj