Remembering an Autumn Day

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Alice is remembering the past, and she no longer wants to live in a world without friendly contact.

Submitted: May 31, 2008

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Submitted: May 31, 2008

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Alice remembered one unusually warm autumn day, she was seated in front of the piano looking out at the carpet of amber and crimson on the pavement outside. A short gust of wind brushed the leaves away, and they were swirling on the breeze in a flurry of color. Her hands, whithered with age, were resting on the ivory keys of the piano, and the slightest touch made a symphony of sound echo throughout the empty room. She was recollecting from years past as she always did, memories coming alive in vivid hallucinations that brought mixed feelings of dulled anguish and false joy to the surface. She saw the two of them walking arm in arm down the path again, and she was gazing at him with love even for the flaws that she could not consider flaws. She traced the contours of his face, the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes when he smiled, his skin smooth as marble, lips soft and full of expression. Then, even as she encircled him in her arms, he vanished, and his very image slipped through her fingers like dust in the wind, and she was once again sitting in front of the piano in an empty room. She remained facing the empty path, and then turned slowly to the piano and brushed her fingertips lightly across the keys, wiping away the traces of dust that had accumulated over the years in which the instrument had remained unused. A note drawled into the silence, and she withdrew her hand hesitantly. Then she took a deep breath, pressed a few select keys and began to play a song that she had drawn from the recesses of her mind, and with each passing note, she saw a picture, and it was like watching a silent movie with an accompanying melody. The song was drifting through the air, bringing a sad kind of life into that lifeless place where she and her husband used to spend their days together.

The song ebbed to an end, and her vision became distorted, the room quivering before her. She touched her cheek to find streaks of moisture; she stared at them in surprise and then clenched her hands together on her lap. She didn't want to be here anymore; she saw no point in living when everyone in the world she had known had been rubbed out of existence like unwanted traces of filth on a window. Now she wished that she too had been wiped off the surface of the world a long time ago and migrated into a higher level of life where joy was the principal emotion of each individual.

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Sunset found her standing on the shore of the glassy surface of the lake, watching as a flock of white-feathered geese sailed lazily overhead, their reflection black on the water. A gentle breeze blew, ruffling her snow white hair about her serene face. If anyone had looked at her, they would have shaken their heads sympathetically at the defeated posture that she adopted. She had no grandchildren that visited, no friends who dropped by to greet her, no husband standing on the shore with her, just as old and wrinkled as she was. She remained standing on the shore as the tangerine sun dipped below the distant hills, casting them in a golden hue before they slipped into complete darkness altogether. At this point, a nurse guided her inside and into her bedroom, gave Alice her daily pills and said goodnight as soon as Alice was in bed.

Alice drifted in and out of sleep, visions of the room coming in blurry spurts in between hazy dreams. Then, at one point when she opened her eyes, she found a man standing there like a sentinel, hands crossed over his chest, his face shrouded in darkness. He wore a pair of slacks and a white open-neck shirt that revealed a muscled chest without breath.

"Who...are you?" Alice mumbled, her words slightly slurred with sleep. The stranger slowly uncrossed his arms and bent over her, his face coming into clarity before her. Large blue eyes half-closed, mouth turned up in a soft smile, blonde hair a bit messy as usual... Alice let out a quiet, surprised noise and grasped his face in disbelief.

"Nathan! Nathan...is that you? Is it really?" she cried. And when she heard her voice, it wasn't musky with age, but young and clear; the hands that grasped Nathan's face were smooth and slender.

"Yes...Yes, Alice. I'm here," He whispered, leaning forward so that their foreheads touched, mouths inches apart. Alice smiled through her tears and let out a sob, throwing her arms around him in a tight embrace, then she leaned back and surveyed him hungrily a moment before kissing him fiercely on the lips, tears still leaking from beneath her lids. Nathan returned the kiss, wrapping his arms around her waist, leaning closer, running his hand through her russet hair. Eventually, they broke away, and Alice glared at him venomously.

"Why? Why didn't you come earlier? Did you have any idea how lonely I was?! How much I've been thinking about you while I grew older and older alone?" Alice demanded, lip trembling, fists clenched. She continued to glower at him, but his quiet gaze melted her, and her shoulders sagged as she begin to cry all over again. "You don't know how much I missed you..."

"It's alright now," Nathan murmured, pressing her head against his chest, his heart beating in her ear. "I'm here now. We can go together."

Alice broke free of his grip and stared at him in bewilderment, and then understanding. "I'm ready when you are..."

Nathan smiled, and then he stepped over the railing at the end of the bed and laid down next to her, holding her close, breathing in the scent of her. "For now...I will just lay with you, and then we'll go. Do you mind?"

"Not at all." Alice clutched his shirt and buried her face in his neck, and she laid like that, content, grateful.

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"Yes, sir. Mr. Johnson is right down the hallway to the left. He may be sleeping right now, but I'm sure he'll be awake soon," Dr. Conelly told a woman who carried a small box beneath her arms. As the woman walked away, a nurse came rushing into his midst.

"Dr. Conelly...it's...will you please come to Alice's room with me?" She requested, her expression sagging. The doctor nodded, and he paced down the hall with her, already anticipating what this walk would lead him to. A ray of sunlight came through the window, specks of dust floating in and out of the stream. The light fell on Alice's bed, and she was pale and still, no breath falling from her lips that were smiling in death. The way her arms were positioned, it appeared as though she could be holding someone, and perhaps that was why she smiled as she died.


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