January 31, 2009
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The old woman reached the last photo on the mantle with her pillow-soft feather duster. She paused and held the duster in the air above the frame before brushing the dust away. Slowly, she set it on the floor, still gazing into the eyes of the captured memory. Covered in a coat of thick dust, he was represented in a faded, black and white portrait, but she could remember the exact shade of blue his eyes were, how they reflected the sky, and how deeply they were able to see into her soul. She could see the sunlight reflecting off his golden hair and his perfect teeth showing through his perfect smile that stopped her heart and made her weak at the knees. This was her one true love, taken by the hands of God the morning of their wedding day.

Her face burned and her vision of the photo was blurred by a single tear in each eye. She blinked and took several deep breaths to relieve the pain she was feeling. With a shaky hand, she replaced the picture, picked up the duster, and strode to the closet to put it away to begin on the next chore: washing the dishes. Walking to the sink, she played with the ring on her left hand, spinning it until it slid off. The woman found its original case in a drawer. Her eyes glazed over in deep thought while she set the ring inside, gently returned the box to its cozy home in the drawer, and slowly shut the drawer. She began to wash the dishes, but even as she looked for hard and crusty left-overs and soap bubbles danced around before her eyes, the image of her long lost lover was all she could see.

At the end of the day, the old woman prepared herself for bed. Nighttime was her saddest, yet happiest time of everyday of her life. As her head hit the pillow, she fell prisoner to sleep. All she could see was him: his heart-stopping smile, his piercing yet comforting stare, his sunlit hair. He was far away though. She called for him, and he turned to look at her. Why wasn't he running to her? She tried going to him instead. Every step was heavier than the last, but eventually, she made it and stood by his side. Smiling, he took her hand, and they faced the pastor. With every vow they repeated, she felt gravity relinquish its hold on her. Her heart soared, her mouth stretched into an eternally irreversible smile, and her eyes finally shined with a happiness she had never known.

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