Old and Broken

February 7, 2017
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Lights. Sirens. The officers push through the sea of neighbors. The men emerge from the house carrying a body. The corpse’s face is creased with wrinkles, framed with grey hair, and the fingers; frail and bony. His face disappears under the body bag. The body is then loaded into a van with the word Morgue on the side. The door to the house is left open by the men. A frail figure appears in the frame. Her face aged with wrinkles, her eyes puffy and defeated. From the doorway, she watched as the man she loved left her alone, taking the other half of her heart with him. The front door slams shut.

Time has passed. Radio silence. Months since the front door was last opened. The crowd of neighbors is gone, and the house sits alone on the hill forgotten. The grass has yellowed, the paint of the house has chipped off the walls and faded from blue to dull grey. There’s a skyscraper of newspapers that lies abandoned in a heap by the curb. A sign dangles from a wooden post. The chain has rusted, and the sign hangs slanted with faded letters reading “for ale”. Nothing has gone into the house, and nothing has left but the smoke of a dull burning fire. Beyond the boarded windows, within the fireplace, a fire burns. A picture lies upside down with smudged print reading “To Isabel my love, our love burns forever.” A weak arm tosses the photograph into the flames. As it crackles the face of a man disappears. The flame rages on its vicious path, erasing what remains of the photo. All that’s left is a young woman, smiling, before the flames engulf her too.

A young couple walked up to the corner. In silence they stood, their hands interlocked, and awaited their bus’s arrival.

“How is she?” The girl asked her boyfriend.

“I can’t say, I don’t know her,” he answered.

“It’s awful, the things they say about her,” she said. “I don’t believe it.”

“What do they say?”

“They say she’s crazy, but after what she went through what do you expect?”
“Still it’s no excuse for what she did.”

“You believe that she killed him?” She questioned.

“I don’t know what to believe anymore,” he said, and the underlying disgust in his voice did not pass unnoticed.

“But she loved him,” she replied.

“Love is a dangerous thing.”

“Love may be a dangerous thing, but the alternative, a person without it, is even worse.” A wave of silence swept back over the two, and the girl tightened her hand around the hand of her love.  The two boarded the yellow school bus.  A wave of relief washed over them, for they felt protected within the walls of the bus. The girl knew that even as the bus pulled away from the corner, she could not escape the darkness of the house. Regret manifests itself in many different forms. The girl knew that the void within her could not be filled. She clutched the locket on her neck tracing the delicate engraved letters. They spelled out Isabel.

Lights. Sirens. The officers push through the sea of neighbors. The men emerge from the house carrying a body. The corpse’s face is creased with wrinkles, with white hair, and the fingers; frail and bony. Her face disappeared under the body bag. The body’s then loaded into a van with the words Morgue on the side. They determined the cause of her death was a broken heart. The young girl stood watching from the corner. Her eyes were young and eager, her hair blonde. From the corner, she watched the grandmother she had loved but never knew leave her alone. With a scarred heart she walked away. She clutched the heart locket around her neck, absorbing the losses she suffered that day.

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