Bittersweet Park

I walked this morning at a place called Bittersweet Park. I can’t really explain all of the reasons why this story formulated in my mind, but it did.  It also prompted me in a very powerful way.  I’m headed to the store to buy some flowers and I’m going to deliver them to someone I don’t know yet.  Meet the woman in my story.  Her name is Edna.  If she could articulate her morning into words.  This is what she’s say:

It’s so nice to be in this place. I try to come every chance I can.  I love to wander around these manicured lawns, to pause and view the placid little lake ahead.  The pathway winds its way all the way around the lake and I’d like to walk the whole way today, if I can.  Birds are flying and chirping, telling very detailed stories, I’m sure. The trees are heavy and branches bowed with lush leaves, indicating many months of drinking in the spring showers and now the summer sun.  The little crisp in the air tells me change is coming. At my age, I should be used to it. I’m not. I stop and drink in the fresh smell…newly cut grass, a blossoming flower, maybe even the change that’s coming has lent its aroma today.  I hear my name being whispered and realize I’m imagining the park bench calling me over to itself, like a long lost friend.  I humor myself and sit for awhile.  I know this routine well.  I sit here and remember. It’s only here that I see memories as clear as if they are happening right now.  I remember my sweet husband, the way he looked the day we first met in 1929.  How handsome he was, and how shy I felt when I saw him glance at me. I want to think I’ll glance over right now and see him sitting right here on the bench with me.  I’d say, “Remember honey, the day we had our son?”  He’d laugh and tell the story of his heroic act of getting the doctor to our home on time.” He’d say, “not even snow and ice can stop a man on a mission.” I believe him.  I love his stories. I wished he could have stayed with me a little longer.  I let the memories flow over me like a smooth rock sitting so boldly among the rushing river.  I seem to gain a little strength from it, from this place I love.  If only I could stay. A smell of reality hit me. A stench and antiseptic take me against my will. I’m back in my room.  I’m cold again but there is no one to help me get my sweater.  I probably shouldn’t try to get up on my own.  I struggle for a few minutes to way the options of getting up or not. I decide not to take the chance. I think I hear footsteps in the hall. Maybe they will not walk past my door. Maybe they will. I can’t remember how long I’v been here, only that there are no flowers. It’s late summer.  There should be flowers, right? That’s why I love walking around Bittersweet Park.  I hope I can walk there again tomorrow.

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