A tearful visitation

I was a quiet child, and like many quiet children my days were spent alone. Perhaps, it was this loneliness that saw me turn to books for company, that in the lives of others I would find the companionship I silently yearned for. And so,  days were spent brooding over the contents of my parents shelves, seeking out adventures to partake in, characters to enjoy, and then, alone in my room, with a lamp by my bedside, I found the friends that I sought.

It was a November night when I first saw her. My door was slightly ajar and the I could hear the muffled sounds of a show my parents were watching on the television, and although I had long adapted to such distractions, this night found me unable to concentrate on the text before me. I closed the book, placing it to the floor, and it was as I looked up that I saw her. She sat in the dark of the stairwell, kneeling, her hands covering her face, her body shuddering slightly in the gloom. Perhaps, you would think me to be scared, a young boy seeing such a thing outside his door in the night, but her presence moved something in me; she seemed to radiate a great sadness and I felt only pity for the strange apparition. I watched her in silence, listening to her weeping and wondered what had occurred to visit such a sadness upon her, then a door opened downstairs, a light sprang into life and her figure was gone. It was only as I raised my hand to my face that I realised it was slickened with tears of my own.

I continued to see her throughout my youth and came to think that she was a manifestation of an imagination that had no outlet. So engrossed was I in others stories that I had created my own, if somewhat disturbing creation. And so in the interim of my teenage years, I put away my books and ventured into a world previously unknown to me. And there I met people who shared my interests and these people became the friends who shared the remainder of my life. In time one of these became my wife and our days spent were happy and long. We danced and laughed and many a night we would tell each other stories, for my wife too had a childhood very much like mine and found comfort in such things. For some reason I never I mentioned the visitations of the weeping woman, though she appeared to me still. Each time in the dark, each time shedding tears, dampening the folds of her red dress, head in her hands, lost to her grief.

One time I tried to ask her why she was so unhappy. It was an early March morning and moving downstairs to make a cup of tea, I saw her sat at the kitchen table. Her back was to me, the dawn light making dust mots dance in the air; they passed though her like they would a reflection, and I noticed as I neared, the room began to feel much colder, as though a door had opened into an all together different time and season.
”Why do you cry’ I asked. It was all I could think of to say.
She stopped then. Her convulsions slowed and she removed her hands from her face. It was as she turned to face me that the sun broke cover and lit the room. ‘I’m sorry’ she said. And then she was gone, lost upon a morning that broke in sympathy for her aching heart.

Years past and though I looked for her, she appeared to me no more. Perhaps, my communication had crossed some boundary and broken whatever linked our fates, perhaps she had moved on much like the spirits of films and shows do. Whatever the reason, she no longer showed herself. And although I no longer woke to the sounds of her weeping, her lack of presence over the passing years haunted me more than ever before.
I have now grown old. My wife died having lived a long, and I’d like to think, fulfilling life and I miss her as only one who has loved can miss another person. On Sundays I sit at her grave and I tell her of all the things I should have when she was there to listen. Sometimes I feel she is near me and I feel, if not a peace, something of the contentment I once knew, most times I cry until the cold eats into my bones and I am forced to venture home.

Today is such a day. I sit longer than usual at my wife’s side and it is only as the first drops of rain hit my face that I notice the day has given over to night. I make my way home, balancing on my cane as I do so, for my body is not as strong as it once was, and my balance is precarious at the best of times. The traffic on the main road is busier than usual. Lorries and cars thunder past, their headlights blurring into trails of light, tyres splashing water as they pass. I have to rely more on my hearing now to cross such places. My eyesight has dimmed and the glasses I wear do little to correct my failing vision. The hum of the vehicles ceases somewhat, I look this way and that and step into the road.

I don’t  see the car that hits my side. I only hear the hard sound of metal against flesh, the snap of bone and the feel of the pavement as it tears the flesh from my face. I must have landed on my back, for I can see the sky, grey and overcast, and feel the rain on what is left of my skin. Even with the pain that is growing within me, there is something soothing about the water falling from the sky, making it’s way from the heavens to touch upon me. I can’t  move, but even if I was able, I don’t think I  want too.  Such a fool, I think to myself, to take such things for granted. I hear a car door open and slam to my left; the sound of footsteps running to my side. A figure kneels down besides me and I feel a hand upon my chest.
‘I’m sorry” the woman says. ‘I’m so sorry.”
The red of her dress shines brightly in the lights of her vehicle.
”Don’t be” I mutter. Things are becoming darker. The pain, a moment ago, so intolerable is now subsiding, and I envision what looks to be my wife making her way towards me, though she appears young to me now, she smiles, it is smile I thought never to see again and I feel my slowing heart quicken momentarily. Her arms are open.  I missed you, I think I hear her say.
The woman in the red dress is weeping now and summoning the last of my strength I reach out to touch her face. ”Do not cry, my dear’ I tell her. ‘You saved me’

And with that I am alone no more. And this my love, is the story I never told you.

.OceMa weeping woman

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