Too Dark

A light over the stove was on. Cats slept in the dark. Blinds closed. They were always closed. Sunlight never shined through. She wanted it dark.

On the cream colored walls were old black and whites. Photographs of her man standing beside a ’57 Chevy, throwing a Frisbee on the beach, giving her a kiss in a diner booth; two straws in one Coke. There were other pictures too. Pictures of a young man in an Air Force uniform, pine trees and dogwoods, mountains and streams, the Mississippi River.

She sat in the front room at night. Always had trouble sleeping. Said old memories kept her awake. Dreams of her lover would wake her. Why didn’t I marry him? she’d ask herself. Why didn’t I do a lot of things? she sipped camomile tea.

In her younger days she had a chance to see the whole country. Her lover had this crazy idea to drive from Maine to California then California to Florida. He’d just gotten out of the service and had a little dough. So, he bought that ’57 and took off. Left her behind. Broken hearts.

She’d get postcards from him. Kept them in a shoe box at the bottom of a cedar chest. Sometimes she’d look at them. Greetings From Pboenix, one said. Hello From Albuquerque; how exotic, she thought.

He’d send letters from the road as well. All of them starting with, My dearest. He always called her his dearest. This tickled her heart. One day I’ll settle down, he wrote. One day we’ll have a family, she’d smile.

And one week the letters and postcards stopped coming. The only mail she got was bills and catalogs. She never heard from him again. She had hope he’d return. The young woman got older and hope began to die. That’s when things got dark. She kept the photos of him on the walls. The only man she’d ever made love to. And she would look at them from time to time. However, most of the time it was too dark to see.

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