It’s that time again to share a short story I wrote a few years back. It’s been tweaked a little since I last put it out in the universe. I was going through a hard time when I wrote this. My mother had passed away. She had Cancer. I knew the only way I could put a resolution to my pain was to write a fictional story about it. I wanted to see her again. To hear her voice. It’s hard not having your parents with you. Both of mine died young–within years of each other.
The context of this short is probably not explainable to an extend, because I mention a fight. It is something I am still coming to terms with and it really wasn’t a fight–more of a denial that the truth was sitting on the edge of the bed between us.
But strength and moving forward were the last few things she said to me that night we got the news she would not be around much longer. My mother has pushed me ever since and even before then, with my writing. She saw my future and I haven’t stopped.
This is open, like my heart, to share with you. Don’t let my words block your criticisms of this short. You are entitled to your own feelings. My goal is for you to relate to something in the story. To be present with what is happening around you. To know that even when you desire to be around the ones you love, and loneliness has filled the spaces in-between, they are there. You have to look for them. Much love and please share and even comment.
It was a warm bright day outside. A few joggers ran by and a man with his two dogs moved past my right. The park was active with all sorts of people that day. The bench I sat on looked out at the river, where I could see a few boats move around. The water in the river was a beautiful blue color as the sun reflected off its surface making the water sparkle as if there were diamonds floating around in its current. I was close enough to hear the water splash up against the stone walkway that separated me from the river. A small breeze moved off the river, brushing across me and cooled things. It was as if it was all a dream.
I took out my journal to write a few things down so I could remember the details a little better. I wanted the experience to stay with me forever, I suppose. I pulled my phone out to check the time, as I stopped writing. It was still early and soon I would be hungry for lunch. I wanted to wait a little longer for her to get here. I hadn’t seen her for a very long time and the thought of her coming all this way to see me made me anxious.
I searched my memory for the last time we actually talked and it had been a few years ago. It was sad how things ended between us, but it was good that we still communicated and she wanted to see me. Those were difficult times though and she understood. I memory came to me—our fight. I was angry. It was terrible what two people would say to each other in order to avoid the truth. But you learn to accept what happened. I understood why she had to leave, but I was glad she came back and wanted to see me.
I took another glance at my phone for the time and then looked back out over the river, as a tourist boat sailed by with people looking out over at the monuments that were behind me. A hand reached out to me and touched my shoulder. I glanced at it and saw its red painted fingernails, her signature color. Instantly I smiled with excitement that she had arrived. I looked up at her with a huge smile on my face, as she was smiling back at me. Her hair was still curled and she wore a light purple flowered dress, with a long necklace that only had a couple of beads at the end. She looked beautiful in the sunlight. Her face was glowing. I stood up, walking around the bench to give her a hug.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” she said. We walked around the bench and took a seat. She leaned back and rocked her legs back and forth, like you would do if you were on a swing. She gazed out toward the river, watching it move in ripples. Her eyes moved around looking at everything, as if she hadn’t seen any of it before. She then settled into the bench and saw that I had my journal with me. “Are you still writing?”
“Yes,” I said. “I think I write in my journal more than anything.”
“There is nothing wrong with that,” she said. “You will make something of it eventually. Just stick with it, you’ll see.” She picked up the journal from my lap. She opened it and thumbed through it. I could see her eyes moving across the pages as she absorbed my words into her mind. She would make an expression here or there when she read something interesting. “I can tell you’ve come a long way.”
“Thank you,” I said. Her opinion was important to me. She encouraged me from day one to be myself. To work hard and do what I love. I sat there in silence watching her. I wanted to remember how she looked. The sound of her voice was soft spoken and happy. I could remember she smiled a lot and it was a relief that she still did. Nothing had damaged her from my memory and that was great. It was nice to see that time had been good to her.
I felt guilty as a memory of her flashed through my head. It was the fight we had years ago. It was the last time I actually saw her before she left me. I pushed back the memory, because I didn’t want to drag it out. I didn’t want to remember that time. Today was a better memory than then. I took a deep breath as she sat my journal down between us. She turned to me searching my face and then she realized what I had been thinking.
“It’s okay, you know,” she said.
“It’s okay for you to talk about it,” she said. It was strange how she knew but I felt compelled to let it all out.
“I’m sorry for that day,” I apologized. She smirked waving at me as if it was nothing.
“I’m not worried about it,” she said. “You were scared for me and didn’t want to hear what I had to say.”
“That’s true, but I should have listened,” I said. “In some ways I feel like I let you down.”
“Nonsense,” she said. “You didn’t let me down at all. We both knew that day was coming and when it did; neither of us was prepared for it.”
“I guess you’re right,” I said, looking out over the river. “I still feel bad, because I know you felt alone and what I said didn’t help you.”
“We were both alone that night.” She reached over taking my hand bringing my attention back to her. “I was happy that you were there and that you decided to help. You sacrificed a lot for me. You gave back when no one else would,” she said.
“You’re just saying that to me to make me feel better,” I said. My eyes watered from what she was saying. I wiped my eyes. Now wasn’t a good time for crying. I wanted to have fun and enjoy myself. I didn’t want to feel sad or regretful.
“I’m not just saying that.” She smiled, touching her hand to my face. “You can forget that other nonsense and let’s focus on this visit.” I agreed with her and hugged her again. She felt warm in my embrace. She picked up my journal handing it to me. “There are some good stories in here and some good poems too. It’s nice to know you haven’t stopped writing,” she said.
“Thank you,” I said. I looked into her hazel brown eyes; a little bit of green gleamed from them as the sun caught them just right. We had the same eye color. “So tell me what you’ve been up to lately?”
“Nothing much,” she said. “I’ve mostly been relaxing.”
“Relaxing? I figured you would be dancing a lot.” She laughed. “Why is that funny?”
“Because you’re the only person I ever told that to,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. I was very good at it. I had talent. I was better than any of the other girls that I knew.” She smiled, feeling proud.
“I believe that,” I said. “I guess I got the talent from you.” We both laughed. She squeezed my hand in hers.
“I want to walk around,” she said. “Can we walk for a little?”
“Of course,” I said. We both got up from the bench hand in hand. We walked up on the grass and made our way through the park to where the trees made shady spots so we could sit.
“I have missed this.”
“Me too,” I said. “Although you shouldn’t tire yourself out.” I pointed to a tree that sat on a hill. The grass was very green. It was a good spot to stop and rest.
“Nah, that’s not possible anymore,” she said. We took a seat under the tree. She took off her shoes so she could place her feet on the soft grass. She leaned back letting her hands glide across the grass blades, until she was on her back. I lay down beside her and we stared up at the sky. “This all feels so good.”
“It’s been a long time for you, hasn’t it?” She nodded her head in acknowledgment.
“I think I’m over dressed for today,” she said.
“Nah, you look great.”
“You always say that.”
“Well it’s true.”
“Well I guess I should be use to over dressing by now,” she said smiling. “I don’t want this day to end.”
“I don’t want it to end either.” I took her hand. We both looked up at the sky as a plane flew over us. We both were always amazed at how we as human beings could accomplish such feats. We defy human limits every day, yet we limit ourselves with trivial things. Then again, there are things that take us away, things we have no control over. We looked at each other.
“I have to go,” she said. I knew it was coming. I didn’t want it to come. I held her hand tighter. I wanted to keep her with me. I didn’t know how I would continue without her in my life. I didn’t want us never being able to see other again. “I’m glad I got to spend this time with you.”
“I’m glad too. I missed you a lot, mom.”
“I missed you too.”
She got up from the ground and I followed. I quickly hugged her. It had been too long. I stared into her eyes and wished I could go with her.
“I don’t want you to go.”
“I know you don’t and believe me, I don’t want to go either,” she said. “I will see you again.”
“Will you? It’s just that our time seems to be so limited.”
“I know, but that’s just how it is right now.”
“What can I do for you while you’re away?”
“Tell everyone I love them.”
“I will do that.”
“And most of all, don’t forget me,” she said.
“I will never forget you,” I said hugging her tight. “I love you.”
“I love you too.”
We continued to hug and then she was gone. Everything around me continued as usual, as if she were never there. I made my way back to the bench and sat back down looking out at the river. It’s water flowed unevenly across the breakers. I opened my journal and began to write down her visit. Today would never leave me. It was something I would share one day with others. I took a deep breath and sighed. For all those years, I felt lost and alone, yet she was still with me. I kept my promises to her and I knew she was with me, even at that moment I sat on the bench.
“This place is beautiful,” I said, as the wind blew past me. She agreed.