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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
a blurb about my short story is bound to be longer than the story itself. enjoy without expectations and who knows what you'll find!

Submitted: January 31, 2017

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Submitted: January 31, 2017

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It didn't matter how often he walked along the small footpaths, he always stopped. He stopped for her and for him and for the strange reasons one holds on to the dead. Two paths led from town out to wear he lived. One ran along the river, under the cover of the fully bloomed trees. The other ran in a different path. Along the rocks, dust and dirt. This path ran along fields, roads and meadows. All of the flat and sunny areas including the cemetery. It took 40 minutes to walk from town to the cemetery. It was about twenty minutes out of the way home, but he didn't mind much. He enjoyed the sun, the sweat and the thoughts and memories.

Today the heat was particularly unforgiving. It made him question his decision, even as the flowers wilted in his hand from sweat. But he wouldn't be by again for another two weeks and the thought kept him steady. 

To be married for a little time, when you had thought to be promised quite a bit is to go insane. The mind never lets go of what should of, could of or would have been. Not even when you are half way in the bottle. Especially not then.

 

The sun was setting by the time he climbing up the hill to the farmhouse. Nadine waited for him on the porch, hand on her hip. He regretted the bottle instantly. He took a couple swallows in the hope he could cover the scent.

"Ward Nisken, you better have one great big explanation for missing that dinner of mine," she fumed when he was finally close enough to hear her. He hadn't even made it to the end of the drive. It then dawned on him what he had missed.

"Oh, Nadine," he mumbled, his stomach knotted up. When he had finally gotten to the porch, he slid his hat off slowly. "I'm sorry, Nadine, I just lost track of time and what day it was and..."

"If you gave me flowers half as much as you gave your dead wife, you'd have a better time getting away with things," she snapped. He flinched at the blow, but he knew it was the truth. Not matter how it was delivered.

"I'm sorry," he said again, stronger this time. She crossed her arms and turned back into the house. He looked in the yard for any type of bloom, but it was both too empty and too late.

 

 

Part Two

Nadine sat on the mound of grass behind the barn. Her white apron was already stained, but she didn't care. She would rather stain her white apron then spend another minute in the suffocating kitchen with Ward's mother. His mother had come to visit and commandeer her kitchen and home. She took over everything, treating Nadine more as a house servant than the true lady of the house. The sun washed over her, making her smile for the first time in a long time.

When she opened her eyes, the little blue and white spots floated above her. They looked like birds that were too far away to really see. She wanted to be a bird. To fly.

Mainly away. To fly away.

Nadine met Ward the August after his first wife had died. A full three months in fact to the day. Sympathetic to his situation already, she took her father's advice and began her long road to marriage one warm dinner at a time. He was sad, but handsome. He talked to her about a range of subjects, including schooling. He gave her books from his library and he had made her feel loved and wanted with small notes in them, even if it all had been tainted with grief. Had she known what she knew now, her actions and decisions would have been very different. But so is life.

She heard the dinner bell echo across the pastures and winced. She had about twenty minutes before Ward pushed through the back door, peeling off his work boots. She would be given hell for abandoning the dinner effort. Ward wouldn't blink twice before sighing and telling his mother to hush. It was in the morning that Nadine would pay for it. In some ways he looked out for his wife, in other ways he let her flounder alone. Rarely did she keep afloat. She turned into the nasty, demanding wife her mother had been. For better or worse, it made her feel safe.

She pushed herself off the ground, noticing the small green stain on the end of her apron. She touched it with a smirk. The small things.

 


Ward sat at the head of the table when she finally pushed through the door. He was early. Ann had already laid out three places, the food and drinks complete with the cloth napkins and fresh flowers on the table. Just the sight of the flowers made Nadine want to cry out in frustration.

"So nice of you to join us, Nadine," Ann scoffed as she plopped mashed potatoes on her son's place.

"Mother," he sighed.

"As if leaving me, alone, to finish dinner is perfectly alright."

"I'm sure Nadine had a reason," he said, pouring gravy.

"Her own laziness is the only reason there is," Ann snorted and plopped herself down. Nadine resisted the urge to roll her eyes and stab Ann in the eye with a fork. She lowered herself down into her chair and began to serve herself. She could feel Ward watching her as Ann prattled on about her day. She reminded Nadine of a 16 year old girl, loud with gossip and nasty with judgments.

"I'm going to town tomorrow," Ward announced. Nadine felt her stomach drop, her food fought to come back up. A whole day and a half without Ward, however little he helped, would be years with just Ann. "Nadine, why don't you come with me. Mother can watch the house and help with the chickens."

Ann looked like she had swallowed something sour.

"If that's what you'd like," Nadine said, hiding her smile and relief with a bite of potatoes.

 

 

 



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