Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A Story

Someone at a site I frequent came up with a suggestion: write a little story based on this photograph. Mine is below.

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The taxi driver let Marianne off at the curb. It took some time but eventually she persuaded the driver she’d be okay and he left. She could see the driver shaking his head as he drove away. With a small smile she turned and faced the cemetery.

As far as Marianne could tell she was alone. All she saw were a few crows fluttering about from tree to headstone. Something fluttered in the tree next to her and she turned to see what it was. A little sparrow was perched on an even smaller branch watching her. They stared at each other for a few moments before the sparrow fluffed his feathers and flew away. The crows called to each other and the wind moaned softly as it traveled through the tall pine trees. No other sound could be heard in this quiet place.

Marianne took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and set across the snow towards the centre of the cemetery. Pete’s headstone was about a quarter mile from the entrance and she was thankful there wasn’t much snow. Marianne stumbled once, rose and brushed the snow off her new red wool coat with her black gloves. She made sure that the contents of the paper bag she was carrying were intact and walked on.

Ah, there it was, Pete’s headstone. Trembling, she reached out and brushed the snow off the headstone with a gloved hand. Crouching down she removed the bottle of Wiser’s from the brown paper bag. Marianne carefully placed the bottle against the base of the headstone. She reached again into the bag and pulled something small from it. As she stood she folded the empty bag and placed it in her pocket. Her right hand clenched around the other item and Marianne brought her hand to her heart.

Marianne took a step back from the headstone, eyeing the composition. With a sigh she abruptly sat down in the snow, still facing Pete’s headstone. “Why, Pete, why?” came softly from her lips. “Why did you leave me? And in this place of all places.” There was no one to hear her quiet questions except the lone sparrow.

The sparrow twittered at Marianne from a tree a few feet away. She didn’t hear it through her tears. Using her left hand to wipe her face, Marianne reached out and placed the item in her right hand on the top of the headstone. It was a small pewter plane.

As it began to snow Marianne settled down onto the ground. She curved her body around the bottle of Wiser’s as if to protect it. The sparrow flew down to Pete’s headstone and pecked at the plane. Finding it wasn’t food, the sparrow turned to Marianne. It didn’t take long until the sparrow couldn’t see her; the snow gently covered every bit of Marianne’s new red coat. The sparrow fluffed his feathers once again and went to find sustenance elsewhere.

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