M L Gammella’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Another When Part Three
There were hardly any differences on the street than it had a moment ago. Some of the buildings looked newer and the trees were smaller, but it appeared the city was timeless.
I walked along the street, awash in memories. What was I doing on this day? Where was she? As eagerly as I wanted to see her, I didn’t want to accidently run into her along the street. I would probably say the wrong thing and frighten her or she’d recognize me and be freaked out about my ‘sudden’ aging.
It was bittersweet. I saw old friends I hadn’t seen in years, parents of friends that were still alive. I tried to keep my head down, just in case someone recognized me. It would make for too many questions that I wouldn’t have an answer.
As I walked, I finally remembered that Margaret and I were both working that day and wouldn’t be home for several hours. That was perfect. It would’ve made things much harder if I had to work around myself and her, no matter how much I wanted to see her.
My head was shrouded in the past, which was now my present, as I continued walking, my feet remembering a path that I hadn't traveled for years. The buzz of the city fell away into the quiet peace of the suburbs.
The peace that was broken that night.
My feet stopped in front of a modest, split level house. Bright flowers lined the stone walkway to the front door. Margaret went to great pains every spring to plant the flowers, using different colors every year. She was partial to yellow, which was the color of the flowers this year. I hated yellow after that.
I still do.
I looked carefully from side to side, to see any of my old nosy neighbors were looking before I walked up the driveway. This was my house after all, I wasn't a criminal.
The back door was unlocked, as it usually was. I quickly slipped inside and took a deep breathe. I had forgotten how the house smelled a bit like Margaret ... elements of her perfume and her favorite scented candles wrapped around me. I closed my eyes and allowed the moment to run its course. It had been so long.
A clock chimed nearby, pulling me out of my memories.
I slipped up the stairs into the kitchen. There were breakfast dishes in the sink and a cup of coffee left in the pot. I tried to remember what we had for breakfast that day.
I continued into the living room. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but just felt I would know when I saw it. I stopped on a dime when my gaze crossed over a picture that was long lost for me.
Margaret and I were holding hands, our expressions full of love, the photo commemorating our wedding day. I remember pulling that veil over her head and kissing those lips for the first time as husband and wife.
I remember kissing those lips for the last time, as I said goodbye when she laid in that satin lined box.
My vision blurred and I walked away before I was completely overcome with emotion. I hadn't found quite what I was looking for yet so I continued to the upstairs.
My hands shook as I approached our bedroom. Would I really be able to do this? I reached out with a tentative hand toward the doorknob. The metal was cold, enough to shock me out of my nerves.
Our room was just as I remembered it. Pictures were along the wall. The bed clothes were rumpled. We never were one to make the bed every morning. The book that Margaret was reading that morning was left open. I sat down on the bed and picked up her book, running my hand along the cover.
My reflections were cut short when I heard a door slam downstairs.
M L Gammella lives in Ohio with her husband and their three pets. She is currently working on her first novel, a paranormal suspense based in Maine. Please follow her at @MLGammella and visit her website at Onward to the Written Word.