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Lady Widow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     She looks out into the rain at the distorted image of trees and cars and empty sidewalks. Everything is gray and weeping with some deep remorse unknown to her or anything else human. The trees sink in their somberness, each leaf bending toward the ground, overburdened with dew. She sits by her window, her hand lightly pressed against it, her head cocked to the right, her eyes puffy. She watches the mailbox.

Any minute now, it will come.

She watches the men walk by in their dark clothes. Each step matches the tune of the bagpipes behind them. She cannot bear to watch any longer. She cannot stand their pain and expect it for herself in the near future. She turns her attention back to the mailbox with its fresh coat of paint and newly repaired stand.

Any minute now, it will come.

She busies herself, doing the things she knows she should. She dusts the tops of her cabinets and scrubs the floors with a small brush, reaching into each crack with the tiny bristles. She whistles a song in her head and keeps her hopes high, glancing occasionally at the mailbox. She shakes her head and lights a vanilla candle, filling her head with the constant reminder:

Any minute now, it will come.

She changes into her nightgown, buttoning it with her soft and youthful hands, then returns to the window. The gentle rain is still trickling down, blurring her vision. She pulls on her new blue raincoat and walks out to the mailbox, opening it and peeking inside. Still nothing, but she has no worry.

Any day now, it will come.

She looks out into the leaves of autumn. Each shows a new color and crunches under her toes the same way. She sits there, waiting on the front porch, her legs crossed right over left, watching the mailbox. She lets her knitting needles move swiftly. Knit one, purl two. Knit one, purl two. She lets the soft blue yarn twirl around her fingers, knitting the sweater he will wear when he returns. She waits, watching the mailbox.

Any minute now, it will come.

As the clouds become darker, she creeps inside and lights the last of her sweet vanilla candles. It is the fifth candle now and she is well aware. She whistles and hums her love song as she climbs the stairs to the top room and puts on her nightgown, buttoning it with her aging fingers. She pulls on her terrycloth robe and walks to the mailbox, letting the leaves crumble beneath her feet. She whistles her love song again, despite the emptiness of the box. She taps the side and lets out a deep sigh.

Tomorrow, for sure, it will come.

Her days run on for months and years, and she sits again in front of the window, her hand pressed lightly against the glass, looking out at the mournful trees and the cracked pavement. The funeral procession comes by, and she can only look away, lighting her candle and singing her love song over the hum of the bagpipes.

Not to worry, dear, it will come.

As darkness falls, she goes to her bedroom, buttoning her nightgown with her old and decrepit hands. She puts on her slippers and patched raincoat and walks out to the mailbox, with its chipped paint and crooked stand, rusting in the rain. She stares a few minutes at the inside of the mailbox. She shakes her head and hums her love song.

Tomorrow, it will come.

The little boy watches from his window, watches the woman’s actions day after day.

“Mother, who is that woman?” he asks, pointing. His mother stops her dusting a minute and looks.

“That is Lady Widow. She walks to her mailbox every day at the same time waiting for a letter that never comes.” The boy raises his eyebrows, trying to make sense of it all.

“What does the letter say?” The mother shakes her head, knowing he will not understand.

“That her husband is alive and returning from the war.”

The little boy still looks confused and scrunches up his nose, trying to understand.

“Is he dead?”

The mother nods slowly, not knowing quite how to explain. “Yes, the war was over years ago, and no letter ever came.”

The little boy stares at his mother, puzzled. “What about the man?” he asks.

His mother turns quickly to look. “She is always alone. What man? I see no man.”

The little boy points at nothing. “That man, there, in the uniform. He walks with her every day, and every day he whistles. Every day he hums a little song, and so does she, and then she goes inside, as if he is not there.”

The mother reaches over and feels the child’s forehead. “You better get to bed, dear, you must be seeing things.”

The child says nothing and walks to his room perplexed. But across the street, in front of the little rusty mailbox, a tall, thin man in a military uniform stands, with a crippled leg, whistling his love song and looking up into the widow’s window. And as the night goes black he whispers to her, “Any minute now, darling, you will come.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

writerlover101 said...
Jan. 28, 2013 at 7:11 am:
Wow!! Truly wonderful! You even had me crying there for a minute! Very, very good!!!:)
 
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dancer13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 7:58 pm:
Wow! This kind of spooked me. But it's amazingggg:)
 
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Ramna said...
Jul. 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm:
Amazing. You have tru talent.
 
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