Sense and Senility
The woman sat, half hidden by shadow, as the late summer sun streamed through the partially opened bow window. Through it you could see the garden in full bloom. Roses ran riot over an arbor and the little stream danced and sparkled in the light.
Tears ran down her face as she looked at the small miniature lying in her hand. She had sketched it on a day much like this one. The last care-free day of summer. They had gone picnicking in the woods. She remembered it well. It was then that they had discovered the origin of the stream. Her stream. A little crystal pool, icy and clear that lay like a jewel in the midst of the ferns and flowers. How she had enjoyed that day! HE had been so full of life and affection then. She could scarce remember a happier day. Little did she know then that it was to be her last.
It had happened so fast. Too fast. One day HE had been there, exuding fun and charm, the next, Oh the next, how she hated to recall it. The next day HE was gone.
She had called, but HE did not answer. She had even gone so far as to visit HIS house, but HE was not there. She could scarce believe it then and almost wept to think of it now. She gave a little laugh instead, albeit bitterly, when she remembered her own, young naivete. She had thought that they would be together forever!
She felt betrayed, though truth be told, HE had broken no promise. She had been older than HE, but they had never thought that that would make a difference between them, they would be different!
"Now look at her! An Old Maid!" Yes, even Nancy Steele could tell herself the truth at times, loathe as she was to admit it. Old and Alone. That was her. Not that it didn't have it's advantages, she got to sit on a couch and drink as much as she wanted to now, when she went to parties. People called it chaparoneing, but she knew better. They felt bad for her. Pitied her. Her! Nancy Steele. The one who could endure the pity of no one! Lucy was the worst. Lucy with her rich husband and fine house.
"Ha! she'd rather be single any day than have to put up with Robert at every turn!"
She, herself, had been a bit of a belle in her day, having had a vast many smart beaux while at Exeter. She fondly remembered Mr. Rose and Mr. Simpson, and then of course there was the dear Doctor. How she did despise pink. Just thinking on it made her shudder! Wearing it all that time just to be noticed, not finding out until too late that it was all a joke on Lucy's part. That the Doctor had never said that it was his favorite color, indeed it was the one he disliked above all! She knew then that he had cared for her, as he never mentioned it. It really was sweet of him.
If only that strumpet of a Moreland girl hadn't gotten in the way and messed things up. Wasn't her father a minister or some such thing? Any way, it did not signify, after HE had come along, she had known there was no one else in the world for her. And now HE was gone!
Very likely some young thing had caught HIS eye as well. HE was much too sensitive to ever be able to bear the reproach in her eyes had HE told her. Yes! That was it! It had to be.
All the while she thought on this, she knew she was being unfair. Of all the qualities she had loved most about HIM, those of faithfulness and loyalty were upper most on the list. HE would never lave left her. Something must have happened. But what? Why did HE not explain himself? Around and around her thoughts went, as the shadows grew longer.
After HE'd left, she'd tried to forget HIM. Tried opening her heart to others, but it was all in vain, and she knew it. In the end they could not take HIS place and she always went back to HIS memory feeling lonelier than before. Who can bear being compared to a phantom?
She would never stop loving HIM.
In the garden, her ear caught the sound of a well-known footstep. Scarce believing her own senses, she turned. Her breath caught in her throat. It was HE!
HE looked older, she saw. Slightly greyed, but to her eyes it only made HIM look more distinguished and mature. She opened her arms to HIM and in trice HE was there, kissing the tears from her cheeks.
She buried her face in HIS shoulder, running her fingers through HIS hair.
"Oh ", she whispered, "Oh Fido, you can't know how I have missed you!" the end