The Old Lady This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Through the branches of a European fir tree, the afternoon light pierced through the Palladian windows and humbly painted the silhouette of a tree onto the dark oak floors of a silent living room. Sunlight spattered softly onto the old-fashioned leather couches, and exposed the presence of swirling dust particles. Beneath the charm of July’s luminosity, the sun outside coaxed a dance of rays and released a sense of rising enthusiasm. But the enthusiasm did not travel with the sunlight into the living room. Even though the gradual footsteps of an old lady challenged to disrupt the calm atmosphere, the quiet ambience still lingered lifelessly within the room.

The old lady walked in with grace, and gently placed a tray of an elegant Royal Albert tea set on a petite wooden table by her favourite leather sofas. They belonged to her husband who had passed away just before their daughter found her career miles away from home. She listened to her breath and heartbeat along with the silence of the living room. “It was once so crowded in here...” she thought. She then allowed the feeling of loneliness to crawl up her spine, through her lungs and finally into the veins of her beating heart. She looked at the tall chest that her husband had bought from an antique exhibition, where they had first met, the wooden crafts her daughter made for her when she was still in elementary school, and the family photo that dug its nails into the soft tissues of her heart. Moments later, the old lady went for her antique gramophone and played her favourite record from John Denver, titled: I Want to Live; her husband gave her that album. She sat down and decided to shut her heavy eyes while she held her old hands tightly below her chin with the expression of grief.

“Mother! Mother! Look what I found!” A little girl with cheery pigtails came rushing up to her parents with an eager look on her face. Her brunette eyes dazzled like molten pearls, and her crimson cheeks smiled with delight.

“What is it Jamie, honey?” her mother replied sweetly as she bent down with grace. The woman’s long blonde hair glistened in response to the glowing sunlight above, and her emerald dress matched the green grass that they were standing on.

“Look! I found red tulips! Aren’t they beautiful?” The amusement in Jamie’s voice immediately sent a sense of happiness into her mother’s heart. When Jamie held the red tulips beside her face; the glow of her rose-coloured lips and the roseate tulips instantly meshed as her father replied with “absolutely sweetheart, they are magnificent, just like your mother.” The woman laughed in glee, while her husband cunningly gave her a sweet kiss. After a long walk around the tree banks and flower fields, the beautiful woman finally announced that it was time to go home for some lunch. Jamie playfully leaped onto her father’s back for the ride home, and the three of them marched with contentment.

When the music stopped playing, the old lady’s memories started to fade as the atmosphere went straight back to the stance of a disappointing silence. She invaded the quietness with a loud sigh and poured herself a cup of fruit tea with a tired gaze. She took the tea cup with her as she strode leisurely towards her Palladian windows, and began to examine the magnificence of great nature. The movement of sunlight revealed dark circles underneath her white lashes and dark blue eyes; she needed more sleep. The deep lines around the frame of her eyes and the mature wrinkles that scattered the edges of her lips suggested that she had smiled on numerous occasions throughout her life. But she doesn’t smile anymore. Looking out her window, she could see the valley that was occupied by the beauty of countless red tulips, and there: past the tree banks, she saw a small glimpse of a thin river where she knew kids were playing with water. She gazed upon the bright and cloudless sky and the mountain that held the outline of an eye brow. She loved this euphoric scene with a passion. Too bad she had no one to share it with.

It could be the truth or the play of light. But regardless of the wrinkles that scattered across her face, she was still beautiful. Her white blouse was flawlessly ironed, and it matched perfectly with her dark purple dress pants. She was the definition of elegance and sophistication, and it was easy to foresee her royal origins. But even with her admirable grace and ageless beauty, the melancholy expression on her face displayed a repulsive misery. Her selfish desire to live again gleamed within her eyes, as the memories, lost and longing of her past meandered within her thoughts with cruelty.





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