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November

by Steven Craig



The rain had washed the leaves from the trees, and had made
an ocean of puddles among the cracks the years had grown in
the pavement. The leaves floated about in miniature flotillas
along the walk, blown relentlessly by the wind to be cast upon
the reefs of the curbside. Among them, a trail was seen to lead
down the walk and around the corner mailbox to the old iron
street lamp.

She was standing there again, listening to the leaves fall, and
feeling their tremor. Somewhere far off, a radio played their
song. She hummed it for a while, mostly to herself, but stopped
as she looked at the clouds blowing by through the lamp glare.
Not seeing a thing. Remembering everything.

Did he still remember this night 10 years ago, when they first
strolled among the leaves? The hours of their lives that they
had spent beneath the trees, did he still recall her smile,
her hand in his, the fire in her he had created? She felt for
the warmth on the wet, chipped paint of the lamp where he had
etched their names, and ran laughing from the car lights.
It was rusted now, wet and cold, and so warm so many years ago.

There had been a small stray dog, gray wire hair and melting
blue eyes, that would come and meet them there. She always
had a smuggled bone from the table to feed it. Sir Issac, they
had decided to call him. Sir Issac would run about and leap in
the air, fetch sticks and twigs that blew down from the trees,
and even brought his rabbit friends to play.

Sir Issac was there when he gave her his ring, and had talked
about the years that they would spend together, the "somedays"
when they got married and the other touching hopes young men
and women share between them. Sir Issac had approved with his
usual zeal, licking his whiskers and chasing the blowing leaves.
Sir Issac chased a leaf beneath a car one day when they were gone.

He died there in the gutter, beneath this very lamp nearly
eight years ago.

It has been six years now since he went away with another woman,
to a land beyond the river to the west, beyond her reach, and
never a card sent back. The letters she had poured in the corner
mailbox were never answered, probably never read, probably
never wanted.

She faced to the west, from whence the storm now blew, and leaned
heavily against the lamp post. How she had wanted him, cried for
him, pined for him. In the storm and the rain, she still came to
the street lamp, looking for a tall young man and a little
gray dog. She still held onto a hope, a frayed thread round the
final button of the memories that she was wrapped in. They kept
out the rain, the cold, and the wind. And they held her in
loneliness.

Here, by this streetlamp, she had lost her future. Here, she
had last seen him, looked into his dark brown eyes, and felt
for a loving touch. Here, she was told that she asked for too
much.

"I Love You" she whispered. There was still no answer among the
gusts of wind. A roll of thunder echoed among the houses and the
rain pelted down her collar. She watched the rain gather in the
puddle about her feet, and felt the moisture drip from upon her
cheek as she tried to dry the flood that surged from within her.
Perhaps she should stay just a moment more.

She looked down the street to a darkened house and turned away
to follow the trail through the leaves, back around the corner
mailbox to her room. Someone had called her by her name.

Still, he had not come again this night, as he hadn't on every
night, these six years passing.

06/23/2006

Posted on 06/24/2006
Copyright © 2020 Steven Craig

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