Storm Clouds – Remembering Helen
The storm clouds rolled in with a threatening appearance. Dark. Angry. Ahead of the storm there was blue sky and puffy clouds. Those are the ones we found pictures in…perhaps a dog or a heart or an alligator. But the dark ones held her look.
They held the darkness of the days ahead. They held the coldness of starting over. Of being without her much as the storm is without sunshine. It’s covered up. Above the clouds one may not see the same thing. But from this angle there was only one message. She’s gone.
What defines a life? How do we know if we’re successful? When do we know we’re “there” – at that point in life where it’s enough? These were questions they pondered many times on hot summer days. When it’s too hot to do any more than talk it was easy to kick back with a beer at the end of a too long day and ponder such things.
It’s not fair. She thought bitterly 50 is too young to die. It seemed just last year that was ancient. She remembered dad turning 50 and teasing him about being a half century old. He laughed and said “thanks kid – you just wait you’ll get there soon enough!”
Where does the time go? A ray of sun peeked through the dark edge of the clouds. She remembered a warm summer night sitting out talking with her. Had it been 12 years? It was a lifetime ago but then seemed like yesterday.
The memories flowed like snapshots in a slideshow. A beer behind the counter. Laughing at the ghostly footsteps in the back of the store long after closing. The many days that started together early in the morning and ended after dark. They shared more than just a job it was a life.
A life that now seemed off. The rain started to fall but she didn’t want to leave that spot, as if it would somehow change the finality. It wasn’t suppose to end this way. They were supposed to race wheelchairs down the hallways. They were supposed to have sunny days on the farm overlooking their own spots. Not this.
“It’s not fair.” The voice behind her broke and she closed her eyes, fighting tears that had been brimming for months. She wiped her eyes and turned.
“No it’s not.” He held his hand out to bring her back to the present. They walked in silence to the car as the cold wind blew through the graveyard. The raindrops made her smile. She always said someday when she died she’d make sure it rained at the funeral. The darkness was comfortable.
She looked back one last time…a silent goodbye much like the times words weren’t needed when she was here. She’d remember. But it didn’t make the storms easier to face.
This was for a fiction prompt, and is mostly true part fiction. Today would have been Helen’s birthday. She’s missed.