Bread Crumbs and Fragmented Memories

August 18, 2008
By Michelle Cipollone, Corvallis, OR

The old woman sat on the old bench, sagging against the back of the seat. Staring blankly out at sea, she absentmindedly tossed small chunks of bread to be lost floating on the crests of the waves until a hungry seagull snatched the tasty morsel away. Grabbing another slice of bread, she worried away at it with her fingers, crumbling the delicate loaf between her hands. Slowly, her eyes came alive a little ash she realized what she had done. She sighed softly.

Fighting to get up from the bench, her bones creaking with the effort, s he solemnly shook her skirt out and watched the bread crumbs fall into the water. Glancing out to sea once more, a tear rolled slowly down her weathered cheek as she thought fondly of the husband she had lost beneath the waves. For once, she envied the seagulls as they turned lazily in the sky. Their lives were so simple, effortless. She wished that for once, she could soar like them, in total freedom.

Glancing at her watch, the old woman laid the rest of the loaf of bread gently onto the bench. She hoped that one of the children would come by and enjoy the simple action of feeding the gulls. Turning wearily, she shuffled off on her way home. Walking for what seemed to be an eternity, she ruminated in her thoughts. As she labored on her way, she was overcome by memories of Frank, the man who had been her husband. Pulling out a frilly lace handkerchief, she dried the tracks of tears from her face. Lifting her shoulders against the painful hole in her heart, she trudged resiliently on. She knew that no matter how miserable she was, it was not time for her to find peace. Not yet.

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