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April 21, 2018

The Snow in Spring

photo by lb
Fiction: The Snow in Spring

She waited for him every day but every day, he did not appear. Still, she waited. He made her a promise. She was certain he will keep it. But as the days and weeks went by, she began to doubt him and then herself. It was spring when they met and the days that followed were filled with sunshine and bits of rain. Then they had to part. Before he left, he said they would meet again when spring comes. But the constant snow just drifted and drifted with no thoughts of what would happen if spring never show. Still, she waited in the frigid cold. She waited for the change of season. She had grown to dress for spring but every day that it snowed, she was a little hesitant. Whether to wear the scarf or that pair of snow boots, whether to carry an umbrella or wear her winter coat. She just couldn't think clearly. One bright morning, she went out to the park where they were to meet. She had on a light dress under a thin coat with long boots over long socks. She was sure it was the day he would come. The snow came instead. But she didn't leave. She had no thought of leaving.

He came. To say he was late, would not have been sufficient. He was far into the future and there was no way back. He knew she would wait for him and yet, when he arrived at the park, she was not there. But then he noticed the trees were in different shapes, the bench was at a slightly different angle and there was a sign that wasn't there before. It had stopped snowing and a bit of spring peaked out here and there. As he looked around him, he felt a strange dread. He turned and raced toward the other side of the park. An ambulance was driving away. He stopped and watched as it went farther and farther away. Was she in it? No, he shook his head. She would not. It wasn't her that they had taken away. But as the crowd dispersed and as the voices spread, he heard a woman said, "It's a pity. So young too. What was she doing on that bench wearing so little?" He turned back to where the ambulance had been but it was gone. She was gone.  

The man sat and watched the unconscious woman. She was so thin, so much like his sister Paula. He had seen this before. Jilted lovers who, instead of trying to get over it, had just decided not to live, just like Paula. The man was used to the muffled siren but he never got used to hearing the heartbeats of the patients. Most of them don't make it. Paula didn't. This woman seemed fated to follow the same path. He sighed and turned to the windows and watched the snow-covered sidewalks passing by. There were signs of sprint here and there hidden beneath winter. Snow began to drift down. The loud, long pitch caught his attention. He pressed an ear against the woman's chest. Nothing. He braced his hand one over the other and pressed at her chest and counted off. He stopped and listened again but heard no heartbeat. Again, he performed the compression while shouting for his partner to go faster but the long pitch never skipped a beat.

a to z challenge 2018
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