Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Flash Fiction Carnival.
F.F.C. 2nd March Prompt – Easter.
Date Due: 21st March, 08.
Word Count: 950.
Tears streamed down her face as she looked at the wrinkled black and white photograph of them together on her twenty fifth birthday. Her eyes were drawn tenderly to the two elements of the picture that always moved her heart. His beloved face and the watch he had given her, the favorite of all the birthday presents she had received from him during their time together.
She stuffed the photo into her pocket as her strides ate up the footpath, almost at a run. Desperate to get inside and close the world out she fumbled with the key. Tears barely held back, blurred her vision and threatened to spill over onto her cheeks. She threw the door open and stepped inside, closed it and leaned her forehead against the cold surface. The first sob broke free, followed by another and another until she was broken and crumpled on the floor.
Long minutes passed before she had control of her emotions, enough to stagger into her bedroom, turning the lights on as she went. The light kept the irrational fear of the dark that plagued her at bay. Did he still remember how the dark frightened her, tormented her? Did he ever think about her after all the years of separation? Did he still care? Did he wonder where she was and what had happened to her? It seemed illogical that he would still care after the horrible arguments and nasty, final parting. Her disappearance surely must have snuffed out any love that may have lingered in his heart. Ridiculously, that thought broke her heart anew.
Why, after all these years, did the memory of that last monumental argument still leave her anguished? She loved him, had never stopped loving him, that’s why. To protect herself, she had hidden that truth masterfully under layers of anger, mistrust and disillusionment. Even after his cold- hearted decision to never have children, her desire for him had not waned. Fiery passion and lust drew her thoughts constantly to the sexuality they had reveled in. Sadly, they would never experience each other like that again. There had never been anyone else who interested her in that way and she realized there never would be.
Pride had been her downfall. Perhaps if she had been able to sort through her emotions and recognize them for what they were, they would still be a couple. Stubbornness had forbidden her to acknowledge that she still loved him, missed him and hungered for him. She was the ‘fool’ he had accused her of being, but not for the reason he had cited. Why? She needed to get that clear in her mind. Because enough was enough, she wanted, needed life. Staying as she was, would not give her the life she was looking for. It would bring death, sure slow death. Even though she would be walking and talking, she would be an emotional corpse.
Years of loneliness, fear and bitterness had been the substitute she had chosen instead of love and happiness. She had taken his horrible cruelty and made it her shroud, hidden away in a mental tomb, allowed despair to rule her. As usual, every year on her birthday, she was the saddest and the harshest critic of the life she had chosen. But her dark and damaged soul was undergoing a change, at last. Her heart was looking for warmth and love again. Timidly, but truthfully, now that she was seeing so much about herself that she wanted to change.
At first, thoughts of accidentally seeing him again had driven her crazy, sending her into tighter seclusion. Now it was possible to drag his picture from its hiding place and actually look at him. She had sworn in the beginning, that she would never want to look upon his face again. The desire to look at it continually and put it in its rightful place on top of her chest of drawers, had become overwhelming.
Today, on this birthday she would tear off the shroud and begin the process of living. In fact, she would start the process now. She was done with the dark, colorless world she inhabited. Spring was full of vibrant color, fresh smells, budding leaves and flowers. No better time than now!
The house keys hung loosely in her hand, as she gathered her resolve and closed the front door. She didn’t need to drive; a ten minute walk would see her at his place. What would he think when he knew she had been so close all these years? She shivered at the thought of him still being angry with her, or of renewed anger because of her deceit. But today was Good Friday, surely forgiveness would be granted today.
The yard was the same, pretty in its budded state. The footpath was cracked and wobbly, but otherwise everything looked just as well-cared for as the last time she was here – too many years ago. She hoped it could be their house again.
The front door was within reach, all she had to do was reach out her hand and grab the knocker, rapping until he answered. What if he wasn’t at home? What if he wouldn’t talk to her? Her body ached with the adrenalin pumping through it, all logic and rationale gone.
His footsteps! The door opening! His surprised face! His arms open wide! The shock and relief of seeing her unashamedly reflected in his eyes. Her eyes swept his tear streaked face and she knew what had to be done.
“Forgive me.” Echoed into the night.