September 15, 2009

Mums in Season

Taking a deep breath, there was the sound of denim on leather as he slid out of the bucket seat of his 1976 Chevy pickup. The door slammed hard, maybe just a little too hard.

Booted shoes laced up to the ankle plodded softly on the cemented walkway.
A single petal from the bouquet of Mums (her favorite flower) dropped to the ground unnoticed.
Somewhere several hundred yards to his left a frozen pine cone dropped with an echo that resonated over the frozen creek bed.

Almost there.
Heavy breathing.

He started to slow, realizing that it was cold outside.
His fingers tugged at the zipper that always seemed to catch halfway up his worn leather jacket.

Everyone he knew thought it was unhealthy for him to go and see her again, but he didn’t care. He had to. He’d promised her.
She was his everything. He lived for that smile, the laugh, the look in her eye that she kept special for him alone.
And every time he visited her, he got to see those again.

“Hello sweetheart. I missed you so much this week. So much happened that I haven’t gotten to tell you about.
Before I go any further though, here. I got these for you, I know they’re a little gone by, but they’re Mums. I had to."

“I was late to work again on Friday. Luckily Aaron didn’t say anything, but I know he noticed. He just gave me one of those smiles that said, 'lets not have this conversation.' I really like him, and I know you do too. You were so happy when I got that job, I remember you lit up like a Christmas tree and practically squeezed my lungs flat. Then you called all your family and everything…you’re amazing. You never fail to make me feel like the most important man in the world.”

“All the other men at work talk about how their wives gossip about them or nag all day. I got to come home every day to the most beautiful woman in the world with eyes that said I love you. You got excited with me, you made me laughed and laughed at my jokes, and your favorite thing was to just be with me.”

“I got a phone call from Christine the other day. She said she’s doing well, she likes college, and she’s taking a ton of hours but that there’s this guy that makes her take a break and go for a walk or to the movies every once in a while. I’ll have to get your opinion on him.”

“You are without a doubt the smartest, loveliest woman I know. If something big in my life happened, I couldn’t wait to come home and tell you about it because I wanted so badly to know what you thought about it.”

“I’m thinking about selling the truck. I know it was your favorite, but its getting old like us, and I’m going to need something more reliable soon. Especially since its winter time. Should I go with another truck or a car? Truck? Of course. Heh heh, the first truck I ever bought was because you told me it was attractive to see a man driving around in a truck. I’ll never know why you decided I should be your attractive man. Its not like I was in your league. I guess the truck was though.”

The sun had gone down and it had gotten eight degrees colder while he’d been talking to her, but he’d gotten much warmer.

On and on he spoke. And still she listened with her soft smile and eyes that held something special for him alone.

Eventually the flowers froze in his gloved hands, the scarf wrapped around his neck preserving him against the snow that had begun to fall.

The distant streetlights at the entrance glistened on her grave, reflecting on the iced-over tombstone that had her name, age, and favorite quote chiseled on its face.

Saying goodbye, he kissed the floral arrangement tenderly, then dropped them beside her.
Getting up off his knees, he trudged slowly through the wind that had just picked up, and head down, arms wrapped around his chest, headed back towards his truck that would go for sale in the morning.

As always, even though he knew instinctively what she’d say it was so important that he asked and heard her opinion.

He respected it more than anyone else’s in the world.

A solitary tear fell to the frozen ground.

The truck coughed once, then turned over and came to life with a roar.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Where do you find the inspiration to write things like this?
It makes me feel like a two year-old with a chubby yellow crayon that can only write her name backwards...