Out by the Oak Tree

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"He's not coming." She said holding her notebook across her heart.
The October wind caused chills, as she stood motionless at the shore of the lake. Red, yellow, and orange leaves traced the sky in effortless pattern. This was why she loved the fall. The cool weather, beautiful trees, and seeing him. They met only once a year, under the Old Oak on the east side of the lake. The Old Oak held memories that only they shared. She traced her fingers across the initials flawlessly engraved into the thick bark. 50 years later and still there. This lake was small, scenic, and not usually crowded. Every few hours one would pass with a dog, or with young children running ahead trying to step on every crunchy leaf. This made her fill inside with that unusual sense of happiness.
3:30, she saw as she peered down to look at her gold watch.

"He forgot." She said quietly to herself, although not believing a word of it. For the past 3 years, the same old routine.

"Grace." She heard from behind her. Turning her head he appeared. An elderly man stood before her.

"Joe" She spoke quietly under her breath. She quickly turned to embrace the man. His warmth was not only felt around her fragile body, but noticeably in her heart.

"I can't stay for long" He whispered in her ear. "But just long enough, we can't get greedy now." She chuckled to herself and pulled away from his warmth.

"I miss you."

"Oh I miss you, too dear." He moved his hand and gently stroked her face. His thumb touched her wrinkled cheek that never lost her beauty.

"I don't know what to think anymore with the girls and of course, you."

"I know, I know. But it’s all in his plan."

"Why, though? Joe I have lost everything." Her bottom lip began to tremble as tears poured from her eyes.

"Oh Grace, don't cry. Life is full of mystery that neither you nor I can explain. Things will work, you just watch." He leaned forward to kiss her gently on her lips.

"I love you." She quietly spoke as he began to fade.

"I love you too." She quietly heard as he disappeared from her sight.

"Joe. Joe. Joe!" Grace began to scream, tears rushing down her face. She threw her arms, grabbing into space for his touch, but she felt nothing.





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