River of Regret
She sat by the open back door staring out at the glistening white but seeing only black. She had been sitting there in her night dress since dawn and now it was late afternoon. Unable to feel the cold biting at her finger tips and toes or the shivers rippling across her skin, it mattered little to her, she was already numb.
It had been weeks since anybody had come to see her, and she wondered if perhaps they’d never come again and it would simply always be this way. Isolated, but crowded. Quiet, but deafening. She had nobody, at least nobody that mattered anymore. She was free as a bird and yet she felt utterly caged in.
A white bird circled the fragile skeletons of fallen leaves which swirled in the icy breeze, and for a moment they broke her gaze calling her out with the promising glow of winter sun. As she moved to stand her legs were suddenly weak and stiff, leaving her feeling older and more tired than ever before. The door creaked as she opened it wider and edged forward to tilt her face to the sunlight. She closed her eyes and tried to feel for the warmth of it.
It was time. Without thought she reached for her woollen hat and a pair of fingerless gloves, slipping them on carefully before stepping out onto the snow dusted ground with bare feet. She didn’t run from the cold sensation, but took slow and deliberate steps that connected her fully with the frosted earth from heel to ball and toes. Gravity could have been pulling her toward the river that bordered the sloping garden, but more likely she thought it was her overwhelming need to rest and let go.
As she reached the grassy bank she thought back to the day she had first set eyes on this plot, on a scorched afternoon in June. She’d had a husband then, and plans for a family. Lots of children and lots of hopes and dreams for them all, and even for herself back then.
Those children never came, just buckets of blood soaked linens and the sharp stab of failure delivered with each loss. Her husband disappeared with the wisps of those dreams, leaving her with the house and her loneliness. If she strained hard enough she could still hear his voice, and the way he laughed with cigarette notes as he tugged at the strings of his guitar with rough yellowed fingers. She missed that rough but once tender touch. She wished she could feel it at her back right now, just one last time.
Held in memories of that first day, she threw her hat to the floor and wrapped her arms around herself before wading into the iced water and saying goodbye to her sorrow. The last sight in her eyes was the white bird, and she realised now that it was a dove. Peace had finally come.
Written in response to the prompt for this weeks New World Creative Union Wednesday Wake Up Call which was a video featuring a song ‘White Bird – It’s a Beautiful Day’ and artwork (1st August 2012).