This past Thursday’s WRITEPHOTO by Sue Vincent, click the above Image to link to the challenge. My fictional piece:
It took her a considerable longer time to cross the field and hike up the rocky cliff. The staff assisted her walks now. Such slow progress. Perhaps each step was weighted down with a bit of anxiety and sadness. How would she feel when she’d reach the summit? It’s been a year since she and Frank had gazed out at the horizon, both knowing it would be the last time they’d do it together. A few short months prior, he had received the terminal diagnosis.
Half way up, she paused as memories of their youth flooded her. When they were children, they would race each other and scramble up the rocks. 9-year-old Frankie delighted in scaring her as to what could be hiding in cracks and crevices, “watch out for the snake.” And he would laugh in delight at her screams. At 13, she made fun of his cracking, deepening voice and he would point at her changing body and asking her point-blank embarrassing questions. It was still a race to the top to see who could get there first. At 16, he grabbed her hand and assisted her climb and it was no longer a competition. They shared their first kiss. They talked about all the confusing things their bodies and minds were going through. During college, he professed his love and after graduation, they were engaged. She announced her pregnancy. They brought their toddler up there and witnessed him marvel at the smallest of things. So many moments of their lives, all the important mile stones, were at the summit gazing out at the horizon.
She had made the promise to continue her walks to their favorite place after he was gone. But she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. Without him. She’s never been there by herself, ever. They had always been together. Her son had convinced her to make the journey. He had offered to walk with her, but she had insisted she go alone. This was a private moment, so he waited in the car.
Reaching the top, she said a prayer, and took a big breath and let it out slowly. The skyline seemed duller than she recalled. Was that smog? She expected to be flooded with grief. Waited for it. As she scanned the downward slope before the cliff, she was surprised by poster signs staked into sandy parts of the ground. There were 3 in total. All in Frank’s handwriting:
I’m always with U, Katie.
Watching from Heaven. Waiting 4 U
Live life with Joy – I love U
Frank knew she’d struggle. Out of his love for her, he had their son assemble the signs and put them in place after his death. But the printing was his. At that moment, she knew she wasn’t alone. Before he passed, they had a conversation about her anger with God for his fate. And how important it was to go on, living life, with joy in the heart. That was his last act of Kindness and love, and it gave her hope. She felt the heaviness lifting from her chest. At that moment, rays of sunshine broke through the clouds. It wasn’t smog after all, and the horizon brightened with the light and was breath-taking. She smiled and raised her head to the sky and was grateful. After saying thanks, she turned and began her descent with a much lighter step.