Until next week

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Market day under the sun, today I have a purpose...

Submitted: April 26, 2017

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Submitted: April 26, 2017

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I love to walk ; to feel my muscles get sore, my feet start to hurt. I think of nothing but put a foot in front of the other, through the old market. I had spent so much time nowhere, doing nothing. I love the way old cities combine the ancient human cultures, and the promise of an extraordinary futur. The sun shining through the fountain delights the kids playing in it, the rumor of people doing their groceries is accompagnied by the african music of the sculpture seller. I approach the fruit stall that rivals with the cheese one on its left, the two fragrances combining to create crazy smells. While the two vendors discuss in the shadow of their own vans, I concentrate on finding the one plum I will buy today. Fruits are amazing to look at, with their infinite colors and odd shapes. Not one is the same, even the smell of each one is different from the other. I pick a small but ripe one, bright purple reflecting the sunrays smoothly. I leave the 80 cents it costs without disturbing the greengrocer, and go back on my way. Today I have a purpose. And I love the feeling of having one, after so many years of feeling empty.

My steps take me to the stone portal, guarded by two ancient oak trees that I greet ; They're older than the city. Beyond there, the most silent place around here ; The cemetery. Rows of stones framing a large white path. Each gravel grinds against the others, filling the silence with each step. The few trees dancing in the wind talk to each other about the weather. It takes so much effort to just be able to walk past that youg couple mourning over a shiny new grave. So much effort to only look like them. If they saw the real me, their tiny minds would be blown away.

I keep walking, leaving their sobbing in my back. On my right, an old lady on her knees rearanges the flowers on a twin tomb stone, cleans the dead leaves away, and dusts the two frames next to each other. She tries to get up, but her legs make it difficult for her. So I approach and help her. After she's secure on her feet, I hand her her cane, and she finally looks up at me.

“Oh, hello young man ! Thank you for the help.” She doesn't seem very stable, so I decide to take her arm and escort her out. She tells me that I look a lot like her husband, and that he would have been proud of me. She says that her boy would have fancied me, then goes on to talk about many other things, like the weather, her dog getting older by the day. Without interrupting her, I take a glance at the way her legs wobble. She's getting older by the day as well.

We slowly walk to the north entrance, where her nurse is waiting for us by the car. I listen to her old voice, still strong despite the cracks and pauses to catch her breath. She tells me that I look like her husband, and that he would have been proud me. She says that her boy would have fancied me... Soon, we see through the north gate Ludivine, a young, smiling woman, waving at us. Genevieve waves back with her free hand.

“Ooh !” She delights, “Look, I found this nice young man to help me !” Before we reach the car, I give the carefully selected plum to Genevieve, who seems delighted as always. Then Ludivine takes her arm from me while smiling.

“Nice to see you today.” She goes and help Genevieve to the car, helps her get in and fasten her seatbelt, and before she can close the door, Genevieve waves at me.

“It was nice meeting you, young man !” Ludivine comes back to me. Her smile has faded a little.

“How long does she have ?” I ask with a crack in my voice. The smile is gone now, and sorrow has replaced it.

“A few weeks maybe. Why don't you come to the hospital ?” I hesitate to answer. But she's aware something's different about me.

“Too many sad memories.” It was a very old hospital. For human standards. She ads nothing, and goes on her way.

“Until next week”, I say when they're gone.

 

Time goes by in the blink of an eye. Market day is here, and I have a purpose once more. I go through the colorfull stalls without really paying attention, the sun shines brighter than the day before. I pick the biggest plum I can find, round and a bit bruised, but still fleshy and fragrant.

Today, the greengrocer isn't chatting with the cheese seller ; She looks at me with a tender expression.

“Good luck out there, sweetie.”

I enter the cemetery without greeting the two guardians. I don't salute the graves either ; Too many names I know.

“Not today, my friends.”

When I reach the Peters' graves, people are gathered around, wearing black. The four nieces are here, as well as a few other people I recognise. I approach with sorrow in my heart. Next to James and William's stones, a brand new one, shining under the sun. There's her name on it, and her casket in the hole beneath. I don't hear what the priest has to say ; I'm trying to remember as much of her as possible. The only memory that comes to me makes me smile a little. I had stopped crying many, many milleniums ago.

When the priest is finished, a dozen people go to her, throw a handfull of dirt on the clear wood of her casket. Finally, when my turn comes, I simply place the plum near her chest, then retreat at the back under too much starring for my taste. Some of them are already starting to recognise me. Before they do, I leave them to finish the ceremony.

“Good bye, old friend”, I whisper with a look back.

 

Tonight I leave this city. Tonight I start a new life. Again.


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