Waiting.

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 This story is now part of my new short story anthology, PASSERBY.

You can purchase a copy HERE

If you like what I do, you can help me to keep on doing it by buying one of my books.

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Out There Waiting For You: Part Two.

Lena Ravencraft’s day started early.
As the years had rolled by she needed less and less sleep.
There are those who would stay awake all day and all night if they could but Lena was not one of those people. Sleep had always been a release for her, and now more than ever she needed that release.
She and Michael had been together all their adult lives and when he slipped away quietly one night she was alone for the first time.
Alone is good when you know it will end when that amazing person steps through the door, but alone without that person is a certain kind of hell.
The best part of Lena’s day was walking to the park and spending as much time as her ancient body would allow.
With only one person in the house, it took about half an hour to tidy up.
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A cup of coffee followed by a read of the paper and it was time to head to the park.
It was only a short walk, but it was part of the experience and she looked forward to it almost as much as the park itself.
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If she timed it just right she would pass by number eighteen as the young man was leaving for work. He always looked ‘nicely scrubbed’ and it reminded her of seeing Michael off every morning for all those years.
He always turned and kissed his wife before finally walking down the steps and along the road towards the train station. Lena loved to see the young wife watch her man until he was out of sight.
Every time,
until he was out of sight.
They had it all to come and Lena wondered what was in store for them; she hoped there would be more delight than sorrow.
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She had to turn right into Erin Street to reach the park and this was her favourite way to go because it took her past two houses with dogs in their front yards. The dogs seemed to know she was coming a long time before she got to them. Tails wagging and little yelps of delight, they competed for her affection. She didn’t play favourites, she took it in turns to visit with them each day and she always had something special in her pocket just for them. It wasn’t just the treats, they loved her. Dogs know good people when they see them.
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Ears were scratched, hands were licked and time went by.
It was hard to leave but the park beckoned.
A little dog saliva never killed anyone but she wiped it off anyway as she walked towards her objective. A little further and she could see leafy green mixed with white gravel paths and beautiful stone walls. Little red flowers dotted the garden beds. Lena didn’t know what they were called but a name would not have made them more beautiful.
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Her favourite bench was about a third of the way across the park.
It was a big old park with huge ancient trees and it had probably been there since the city was founded. She always said a silent thank you to the person who put this land aside so that multiple generations could enjoy it the way she was enjoying it.
Today was sunny but the weather did not deter Lena, she loved this place in all weathers. Actually, she preferred it in winter as she often had the park to herself.
The sun was warm but not overbearing. She unpacked her bag: a sandwich, a flask of coffee, a small cake and a napkin hand embroidered. No paper napkins for her. She loved the feeling of cotton, and besides, it was a bit of elegance, even if she was the only one who noticed.
thursday
Today was Thursday and she was hoping that her young couple would show up. They usually did on a Thursday. The bench she liked to sit on was just a little way along from their favourite bench but she thought that it would not matter how close she was to this young couple. They didn’t seem to be aware of anyone else.
She watched as the young woman arrived. She seemed a little earlier than usual.
Time passed but the young man did not appear.
At first, Lena did not think that anything was wrong, she was caught up in her own thoughts.
She was remembering the first time she saw Michael. They were both in this park and he was larking about with his school mates. The boys were aware that the girls were watching them so they did what all young blokes do under such circumstances, they were showing off.
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Michael was climbing a large oak tree and hanging by one arm to show the girls how strong he was.
He fell and hit the ground awkwardly.
His mates laughed but Lena held her breath and waited to see if he got up unharmed.
He did, he was fine. He limped a bit but tried not to show it.
He was some distance away but Lena thought she saw his cheeks turn red.
The memory drifted away and Lena looked and saw the young woman still sitting there alone. She had been there a long time and was looking anxious.
After what seemed like a very long time the young woman stood up, paused for a moment, looked in Lena’s direction, and slowly walked away towards the main entrance.
Lena thought she looked sad. But maybe that was just because of the mood Lena was in. In any case, she hoped that the young man was alright.
Why hadn’t he come?
Lena could not remember a time when she hadn’t seen them together on a Thursday.
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A feeling came over Lena; she had lived a long time and she knew how tenuous life could be. It was silly but she wanted this anonymous couple to be happy, it was important to her; they were a part of her life.
In a little while, she would have to pack up her stuff and head for home. Her bones were stiff from sitting for so long but she knew that she could sit in front of the fire when she got home.
It was a long time ‘til next Thursday.
She hoped that her imaginings were all wrong and she would turn up next week and see her second favourite young couple deep in conversation on their favourite bench, but she also knew that it was all in the lap of the gods.
Which particular gods, she wondered, look after young people on park benches?
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Photo Credit:
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If your heart desires it, you can read ‘Part One’ here:
Part Three: NOT ALONE is here.
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28 thoughts on “Waiting.

  1. Poor old lady. That darned god, Araneus, is tinkering about with her life and keeping her-and us-even more deeply in suspense. Thought he was going to put me out of my misery with this entry, but apparently not!

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    • Thank you for noticing.
      I put a lot of work into choosing them.
      Initially I was undecided about how to treat this piece. I like photos to go with a story but they must not show too much as it is more fun for the reader to imagine things for themselves. If I get it wrong it can spoil the effect. Hopefully i got the balance right.
      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.
      Terry

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    • Thank you very much, your comments are always appreciated.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the shift in view.
      I really did try to continue the story from the young couple’s point of view but this is what came to me.
      What a strange and magical business this writing lark is.
      A few weeks ago I was convinced that I could not write fiction.
      I’m having a ball and the fact that others are enjoying the ride is a real bonus.
      I will keep it going and I will use the pressure to perform as my motivation.
      Thank you for the encouragement.
      Terry

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  2. This was moving. The god of the park bench has seen a lot of life as we know. I love tales of couples who met as very young people. What an amazing blessing that is, even if recalled by after the separation of death

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    • Thank you for those comments.
      In real life…… we made contact with a young friend who we had lost contact with. She has just given birth to her first child and he needed emergency heart surgery as soon as he was born. It’s been touch and go for a couple of days. The little bloke ‘coded’ twice on Wednesday, but he is still with us. The mum used to be our son’s first girlfriend, ‘back in the day’ and the two families got along very well, then the kids split up and we lost touch. I told you all that because the young mum’s parents had been together since they were 15 years old and they were each other’s first loves. Unfortunately she died suddenly a couple of years ago and we only found out a few days ago.
      Together from the time they were 15 until nearly 60.
      Thats a long time.
      They would be the only people we have known who survived ‘growing up together’. Usually people grow away from each other; my son and their daughter did exactly that, they grew up and apart.
      Sorry for the ramble but your comment reminded of them.
      Terry

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    • That’s very true, is it not?
      So much of life are things we catch a glimpse of and rarely get to see the second act, let alone the third.
      As you can imagine, I have been very pleased that the original post/story evoked such a positive response. It made me and my ego smile broadly.
      I took up the challenge to write a final part but it did not come out that way so now, I HAVE TO find a third act or get lynched.
      All joking aside, I’ve had fun with this project and I have enjoyed people’s comments [your’s being particularly thoughtful and practical].
      I particularly dislike movies that let you down at the end so I have to find a way of coming up with an ending that is in keeping with the first two parts [which does not guarantee a happy conclusion, but my wife said I HAVE TO give my readers a happy ending].
      A bit of pressure but, as I said, I am enjoying the experience. A very short time ago I did not think that I could write fiction so at least I have proved to myself that I have the beginnings of an ability in that area.
      I’m at the beginning of this journey and so far it has been a lot of fun. Thank you for your part in that.
      Terry

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      • Everything I write has, if not a happy conclusion, a satisfactory one. My wife insists it should be so, but it mirrors my views as well.

        Life has enough tragedy, misery, and sad stories without my making up stuff to add to them.

        My Falls of Angels story started as a very short flash piece in response to a writing prompt. It was my wife who pushed me to expand on it, for she did not want me to leave the character as I had left it.

        As for writing; I’m no expert, but your writing captures my attention by making me care for the characters and story. I say “good job” and I mean it.

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  3. I would say stop worrying about your ability to write fiction…but that worrying allowed you to come up with parts one and two of this. Keep worrying! 🙂

    It’s the small pieces that caught my attention and smile reflex – ‘…took half an hour to tidy’, ‘Ears were scratched, hands were licked and time went by.’, ‘He limped a bit but tried not to show it.’ So much character in so few words.

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    • Wow, thank you for those excellent comments…… you really paid attention.
      I will stop going on about the ‘writing fiction thing’……. or maybe I shouldn’t.
      In ant case, I’m having fun and you seem to be enjoying so, so far so good.
      Terry

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  8. This is really lovely, Terry. I like how this story is unfolding. Even reading it out of sequence (I actually read Part 3 first) doesn’t harm the story at all. I can see my self as Lena. I can see sitting on a park bench, eating my lunch, and watching people as the highlight of my day, although I’m hoping I’ll have many more years with my husband before I have to do that alone 😉

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    • I hope you do to. I’m touched that you identified with one of the characters.
      Obviously the first part was originally meant to stand alone but it is interesting to me that the other two parts can be read on their own and the kind of make sense.
      That was an interesting time for me and I’m pleased with how the three parts came out.
      Thank you for your comments.
      Terry

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