THE WIND CRIES MARY
Last week my wife died.
I can’t honestly say how many years we’d been together. Does that sound bad? It was over forty, I know that. This autumn evening is the first time I have returned to our home. The moonlight dodges in and out of the clouds, reflecting haphazardly onto the first glistening appearances of Jack Frost. The front gate creaks eerily, whilst the rustling leaves of the sycamores hang tenuously to their last remnants of life. In the fading light I twist the key into the lock and push the front door ajar. It resists vainly for a moment, as my weight forces the mound of mail on the floor to one side. A flick of the light switch reveals little of change. Everything is the same as it was. Except of course for one thing. I stifle the words of ‘I’m home,’ and retrieve the mail. The smell is the same as though we had just returned from holiday, although this time I’ll be the one to search out the air freshener. Or maybe I wont. The smell doesn’t really bother me. It did her.
The front room is tidy except for a few of last week’s newspapers on the coffee table. They can stay there, dating the scene in their own little way. The telephone has the intermittent red light flashing. Looks like a multitude of messages. I pass by and go to the kitchen. She would have sorted the messages.
The patio windows are allowing a low whistling to reach a crescendo as the winds roll menacingly from the moors beyond the back garden. I remember her asking me to fix the errant locking system, that’s where the noise is coming from. Maybe next week. Didn’t I say that to her a month ago? I wish I could now.
Next doors cat is visible outside through the dusk, scurrying to find shelter. She would have let it in for an hour or so. It glances at me and decides on searching out some other refuge. My unfriendly voice never offered encouragement.
The wind begins to drum out a tattoo of fearful melancholy, intent on welcoming me home to this cold retreat. The flowers in the hanging basket outside rock to and fro. I can’t recall when I last bought her flowers. Except of course at the funeral. That doesn’t count. I sit at the small pine table, gaze through the window and wish I could walk in from the back garden and give her a handful of roses. I should have done that so many times, but you don’t do you?
I walk upstairs, feeling the banister rail, subconsciously trying to entice some kind of warmth out of it. I turn on the bedroom light, it misses a beat. The wind laughs outrageously across the eaves. The bed is huge as I lay down fully clothed, arms outstretched feeling for succour. I restlessly rise and go and open her wardrobe door. The sensation is overwhelming and compels me to sit inside, slowly caressing her clothes. My senses peak in expectation of a last solitary smell of her body. ‘I love you Mary,’ I murmur to myself. I can’t remember the last time I told her that, apart from in the hospital when she was in a coma. Again, that doesn’t count. The noise of the mocking wind subsides and I move into the foetus position. Tears take precedence in this now silent world. Why do we take things for granted?
Last week my life died.
Rossi (600 words)