A friend of mine just wrote this story and I thought that it would be a good idea to share with you. The author’s name is Nathalie and she’d love to get your impressions of her short story.
Twilight hit in the town that I used to call home. A layer of frost covered the windows, and the last of the leaves desired the weather that once kept them young. The town was barren, kept alive only by the shells of departed souls. The gates to enter were unlocked, daring only the brave hearted. I peered in, the falling snow leaving a haze in the air. Through the corner of my eye I caught the glance of a woman. She appeared to be in the autumn of her life, a perennial who had not been influenced by the biting winds of December. Her back was stooped over, as if she carried weights upon her mighty shoulders. As she approached the gate, my mind raced to find reason for her advance. Breathing was difficult to accomplish, and when I did find the ability it came with rasps and coughs. When she had reached a point where the misting snow no longer concealed her face, I discovered unrest. Her eyes over the years had grown dull and cloudy, as though she had seen too much suffering. Her face read like a road map of time. Every wrinkle, every line, ingrained with memories of the past. Her hair once a glorious auburn, now merely a dreary gray. Although fragile, she stood strong. Undaunted by my presence she investigated me through the thick iron bars that kept us apart. Not a word was spoken, yet the air seemed lighter. We looked fixedly into each other’s eyes, time seemed motionless. For the first time, she seemed uneasy. The woman turned and began to carefully stumble away. Curiosity got the better of me as I pushed the decomposing door ajar. I followed the senior down the road, making sure to keep a safe distance between us. I recognized the streets of a town that I had not seen in over three decades. As I halted to reminisce the woman vanished in the fog. I scrambled to catch up, my chest flaring from the frigid wind. When I had finally caught up I saw her entering a house on Kingswood Drive. I searched through my memory to produce the name of the street that I had once grown up on. It came to me in a flash: Kingswood Drive. I remained at the corner, making sure she was still visible. I raced to think of the house number I had lived in. “7? Yes- that has to be it,” I told myself. As my eyes re-focused on the woman, I saw her entering the home that housed many of my childhood memories. I stood on the raw, snowy corner. Perplexed by what I saw I slowly uttered, “Mom?…” but as my gaze left the sidewalk, she was gone. I sprinted, trying to catch my breath, and attempting to find words. I bolted up the front steps and entered the home. It was quiet. Barren. Empty. An icebox that hadn’t been inhabited for years. Numb and confused I rummaged through the home. I climbed the staircase to my bedroom. As I entered, a melancholy feeling came over me. I discovered a note on the pillow that my adolescent mind had slumbered on. I sat, and ripped open the envelope that encased the letter:
“ Dear daughter,
You left me at a young age. Every afternoon at twilight I stop at the gate that you swore you’d never enter again- hoping to see your face. I fear my days are limited. If you do return and find this note, I missed the chance to see you once more. I pray you forgive the things I have said in the past, I regret them every day. I shall see you at another set of gates- but until then I will be watching over you. Signed, Mom.”
Tears streamed down my face as I realized the immaturity of my ways. The tears were short- lived however as I suddenly felt warmth inside of the home that had turned my heart cold.