She walked into the store, and if I could have waved my arms in the air I would have. I watched as she wandered around, touching some things, just glancing at others. She strolled in my direction, and I held my breath as her eyes lit upon me. She smiled softly, and then ran her fingers down my sleeve. Within minutes she had purchased me, and I was on my way home. I wondered who he was, her husband, her boyfriend, just a friend… all I knew for certain was that I now belonged to him. When we arrived home, she tucked me under something else, hiding me from his eyes until she was ready. She handed me to him, and he smiled, then tried me right on. I was a perfect fit. I knew I was where I belonged.
As time passed, I watched as their girls grew up, the boy they took in and made their son wasn’t around as much but I saw the changes in him as well. My lady, and my gentleman had many changes in their lives, and I was so grateful to still be around. My edges frayed, but instead of tearing me into rags, or throwing me out, I spent most of my time in the closet. At least when the youngest daughter wasn’t stealing me to wear… I admit I liked getting out into the light again.
She stopped stealing me from her Dad, and after my seam tore he stopped wearing me as well. No more working in the yard, or the garage. But still they kept me. I watched as he grew older, then got sick. I watched as she worried, and cried. I watched as things got to the point where he wasn’t coming into the room at all anymore, though I could hear his voice if I listened. They no longer slept in the room I could see, though she would come in and get him clothes regularly. If I could have offered my warmth to him I would have, though I was no longer as warm as I once was.
It happened one morning. I heard the sounds of others in the house, and knew he was off to the healing place again. She didn’t come home, not all day, not all night. Others came into the house. They didn’t speak much though, and then they left again. She came home the next morning, with the son, the youngest daughter, and the ex-husband. She was crying. I heard her explaining on the phone. He wouldn’t be coming home again.
It was time. She’d been looking at us all off and on, and it hurt her to see us. I no longer caused her sweet smile, now I was a reason for tears. She and the youngest began pulling us all out of the closet. I was added to a pile to throw into the bin. The youngest run her fingers down my arm, then pulled me, and another one out of the pile putting us to the side. I watched as the eldest, and her youngest, joined my lady as well going through the clothes in the closet, picking what they wanted to keep. The youngest pulled the blue away from me, and handed it to her sister. I saw tears, and a look wanting confirmation that she was getting to keep blue. The youngest held me up, and said “I’ve got the red”, and suddenly I knew. I wasn’t being thrown out, I wasn’t being torn into rags, the youngest was keeping a memory. I was going to a new home.
My left arm has a tear down the lower seam, my wrists are frayed, there’s paint on me in several places, and I’m not nearly as warm as I once was. My lady, and my gentleman have no need of me any longer, but the youngest finds comfort in my arms. So I am home, again.
He glides silently through the trees, not a sound to be heard. No footprints left behind to mar the path. He comes up to the house,opens a door that no longer remains, and goes inside.
It’s dark, and she’s late.
She said she’d be here, made him promise he would wait. And so he would. He’d never let her down before,he would not start now.
He stands in the room waiting. She said she’d be there at duskShe couldn’t handle being apart anymore. She needed him.
He’s nervous. He doesn’t know how it will go. Her father hates him, but he loves her, and he will wait.
Photo by Jason Sinner
As he sits in the dark, he reminisces. Remembering the day he met her. They met at church. She came out from services. He was mowing the lawn
He’d never seen anyone so beautiful. And he almost ran over one of the large rocks that lined the flower bed because he couldn’t stop staring at her
She was an angel without wings and she stole his heart before her eyes met his. Within 6 hours he was courting her. Within six weeks he had bought a ring
He was so nervous it took him three tries before he could even get the words out. And when she said yes, her love shining like diamonds in her eyes he knew he’d never be happier.
And then came morning. As he stood on her father’s doorstep, his love screaming and crying in the background. Her father gave him back the ring
“My daughter will not marry beneath her station” he said, slamming the door in his face
It was nearly a month before he saw her again, exiting the church, her hand grasped firmly by her father as he dragged her to the car, her eyes silently pleading for him to rescue her, to save her
He waited until 3 am, and quietly tapped one knuckle lightly on her window. He saw her shadow as she slipped out of bed, the moonlight causing her white cotton nightgown to softly glow. She tiptoed to the window, parted the sheer curtains, pressing her hand against the glass and mouthed
“I’m locked in”
He breathed heavily on the glass, and trailing his fingertip through the fog. Wrote PACK and she smiled and nodded, and mouthed “when.” He breathed again, and wrote 3 AM TOMORROW and melted away, blowing a kiss as he became yet another shadow
The day lasted forever, the minutes ticked like hours. And he waited
Photo by Jason Sinner
When he arrived, expectant and excited. She wasn’t there. But her father was, sitting in a chair from the dining room
His shotgun across his lap
He was devastated when her father told him she was gone, he’d never see her again. The next few months passed in a daze, unknown, unremembered, lost in the memories of her eyes and her smile
Reality came with an unexpected boon. A letter from HER and his heart began to beat again and he could breath.. She begged him to meet her at the old rundown shack on the back quarter of her grandmother’s land.
He drove his dusty pickup along the overgrown trail, turning off his headlights so as not to arouse suspicion. He cringed, his heart pounding as nails dragged across the roof, only to become a branch in the rear-view mirror.
He parked behind the old place, out of view of the house and the road, in his eagerness he was early, and so he grabbed his guitar. Like a talisman against the dark and went inside.
As the sun dips beneath the horizon, the sky ablaze with colour, his anticipation grew. He strained his ear for any sound, his eyes peering out into the shadows. But it is silent, no movement to be seen, not even the songs of the nightbirds to keep him company.
And still he waited.
Photo by Jason Sinner
He awoke with a start, the sound of footsteps just outside the entry. Dashing to the doorway, a smile on his lips, his heart bursting with joy as he stepped out into the darkness.
It wasn’t her.
Her father stood in the trees, her cousins and uncles at his side and not a one was unarmed. He stopped short, his heels slipping slightly in the dewy leaves. Against his throat, the double barrels of the shotgun rested “I told you she was too good for you, but you just don’t listen.”
He opened his mouth, and it was suddenly filled with the taste of metal and guessed it wasn’t his turn to speak. “I don’t think I can buy you off or convince you to leave. but she’ll think you did.” He tried to step back and collided with a wall of bodies.
He was surrounded. The barrels were removed from his mouth and he abruptly flew as the butt of the weapon smashed against his cheek. He heard a wolf’s cry in the distance, and trembled, fear overtaking him at last. He knew this would not end well.
He glanced up, seeing a shadow cross his vision. The moonlight blocked as the men begin to pummel him. Unable to do more than whisper her name.The lone wolf’s voice the only accompaniment to the grunts of the men surrounding him.
At dawn’s light, the farmhands came upon his body, the last of his life’s blood dying the leaves and ground beneath him, and the last few struggling breaths in his lungs escaping through his lips; Barely a sigh, and her face his final thought. They buried him in the old cellar
A few nights later, inside the rundown shack, a gentle strumming was heard, nearby wolf song providing the melody.
If you looked closely enough you could almost see him walking through the trees to the shack. A shadow darts through the trees, a flash of white, a glimpse of a bare foot, her breath coming in short gasps,as though she’s been running and crying for hours.
She glides to the doorway, her hand resting on the splintered wood. She sees his guitar laying forgotten in the corner and rushes to pick it up, holding it close as though it were him, and weeps. From inside, a rattle, and she turns it over, feeling her ring tumble into her hand
Smiling, she places the ring upon her finger, and wipes the tears from her cheeks. She steps outside into the darkness, walks like a ghost to the drivers side of his pickup and finds the key still in the ignition. She can almost imagine it retains the heat from his hand. She places the guitar beside her on the seat, and turns the key. The engine roaring as the truck drives towards where her family awaits their destiny
The paper the next day told tale of a horrible accident. One of the more prominent families in town nearly wiped out. The only surviving member, a three week old girl.