Years ago, I watched a boy as he took his first tentative steps before learning to walk. Then run. I saw his eyes fill with wonder, as the world opened up before him. All those possibilities – a lifetime ahead.
Today, I watched an old lady take her last tentative steps. Slowly shuffling, breathing labored, and heart weakening, she took my hand and we walked together. I imagined her thinking her thoughts, now turned inward, of the times she ran, and danced, and rode her bicycle, and hiked in the mountains. Her world has shrunk now, but she doesn’t complain.
After a while, she and I sat and rested and talked, and I saw those memories come alive, the twinkle in her eye ignited and flaming. Her breathing was less labored, and the memories of the past sparkling clearly in her renewed vision. She was calm and at peace. Time slowed to a crawl. I moved to hold her hand, happy to be with her.
Later, she and I watched a Kingfisher. It was perched on a branch overlooking a slough just starting to break free from winter’s frozen grip. He was among the first wave of spring migrants, in his own way showing a complete faith and total belief that food would be found, and eventually a mate, and his cycle of life will continue. He looked confident as he suddenly dove into the icy water, hunting, and, for that moment, I felt the joy of being reminded that somehow, no matter what, life will continue to go on.
She turned to me and asked, “Can we stay a while?”
“Sure,” I said, grinning at her. “For as long as you want.”
“Good.” She smiled and patted my hand. “That’s real good.”
DECEMBER 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis, Minnesota. His stories have appeared online in CafeLit, The Writers' Cafe Magazine, Cabinet of Heed, Paragraph Planet, Nailpolish Stories, Ariel Chart, Potato Soup Journal, Literary Yard, Spillwords, The Drabble and World of Myth Magazine, and in print publications: A Million Ways, Mused Literary Journal, Gleam Flash Fiction Anthology #2, The Best of CafeLit8, Nativity Anthology by Bridge House Publishing and Gold Dust Magazine. You can also check out his blog to see more: THE VIEW FROM LONG LAKE.