The sun gently laid eyes upon the old man slowly rocking in his wooden chair. A softly spoken creak would creep up from the footing of the old chair but he stared deep into the fields before him unfazed.
The fall breeze touched his face as a whisper would enter his ears. The trees, tall and innumerable, transitioned to a yellow glow. The leaves fell from their branches only to be swept up by the playful wind. They would float down in between gusts but then find new heights when the wind came back around. The death of nature brought memories of years prior.
Images of his beautiful wife danced before his eyes. She burst through the front door, full of youthful vigor, on her way to conquering a new adventure.
“Aren’t you coming?” She said with a playful smile.
“Of course, dear.” He couldn’t help but chuckle.
He remembered the days when they would dance in the fields; the tall summer grass wrapping itself around their ankles. Fireflies would light up the night and the galaxies would fill in the rest. He could still feel her hand in his. Each finger intertwined, never losing hope. Never losing faith. Life wasn’t always easy but with her it was good. With her, it was worthwhile.
He remembered the day they got married. Short, sweet, and to the point. That’s how he liked it. He was never one for elaborate ordeals but boy was she pretty. A tear rolled down his face just like the moment he saw her walking down the aisle. 65 years of marriage never changed the way he would look at her. She was as beautiful now as she was then. If only he could see her smile one more time.
A short year after their wedding he was shipped off to fight in the war. She wished for him to stay but knew how important it was to him. He knew how difficult it must have been to watch her husband leave with no guarantee of ever coming home. He could feel the anxiety with every letter. No matter the level of the challenge, she always remained steadfast. She was a strong woman. It wasn’t long until he decided to come back home stateside and stay there, though. Something deep inside said he had made the right choice.
Their only child was a boy. He grew to be strong, soft spoken, and kind. He got his strength from his daddy but his mom was always the one to soften the hardened edges of his personality. The old man adored that about her. It never mattered how tempered a situation was, she could calm either of them down in a second. He was sure that his wife had the power to talk an angry lion down if she had to.
Sitting on the porch in the fall was one of their favorite things to do. They never felt the need to make conversations happen. They could sit there in silence, stare at the beauty of the earth hand-in-hand, and smile. This would often be their pastime when things became difficult. Something about staring at the natural beauty reminded them that, as long as they had each other, everything would turn out just fine.
It had been a week since he laid his beautiful wife to rest. 65 years of memories flooded his aged brain. Tears rolled down his face as he smiled. The earth had never seen a more beautiful soul. She was lovely, inside and out. He had never met a more forgiving woman. Mercy was her heartbeat. Laughter was her medicine. Adventure was her soul. Life wasn’t always easy but with her it was good. With her, it was worthwhile.
Without her, it was as if a void had been created. He expected to look over and see her grinning; probably thinking of another joke to tell. She wasn’t there anymore, though. He missed her. He missed her touch. He missed the way she could soothe his deepest fears. A piece of his heart had moved on without him. A part of his soul was somewhere else. He longed to be with her.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, it cast a fiery, orange tint over the northern sky. The wind blew a little harder and the old man closed his eyes. He imagined he and his wife dancing once more to the sound of Elvis Presley’s “I can’t help falling in love with you”. Little by little his heart slowed to a stutter.
The night sky illuminated the porch and the dying old man smiled.
“I’m coming home, darlin’.”