Arthur stared at the succulents in the wooden planter box he’d made so long ago. Still solid, cleverly cross-braced. A rusted, iron-rimmed wagon wheel leaned against the end. Some of the spokes had already rotted away and he thought the rim would follow soon Everything else had. Two scarlet Fuchsia buds, not quite ready to bloom, hung down to the left of the succulents. He remembered them. He’d planted them the year before Ruth… Be a man, he thought. It had been over twenty years Ruth died. He still missed her.
He looked around from his spot on the porch, rocking simply to hear the squeak he’d promised to fix. The rocking chair he’d had to cobble together from parts of other chairs. Only the squeaky runner was original. He could see the corner of a building and pieces of shattered glass spelling “ig all.” He would have thrown a stone at them, but he needed to husband his strength. That didn’t have the old sting. Still, his eyes burned. He barked a short, harsh laugh. He knuckled the tears from his eyes, scrubbed his face with his filthy tee shirt. What difference did it make? His knees groaning, he stood and started walking.
He aimed for the electric bike where he’d left it in the sun by the side of the road. It wouldn’t hold a charge for long, but it would have had a whole day and whatever bit of the morning until he reached it. He hoped he’d be surprised today, hope to see another human. The ride briefly dried his sweat-soaked shirt. He grew cold, although there was no wind. When the charge sputtered, he dropped the bike. Still, he thought he was close enough and began walking. Ahead, he could see the crumbling route that traversed the road he started on.
Arthur didn’t bother to look as he crossed and pushed into the ice plant, taller than he ever remembered it being. It didn’t matter. He continued through it, past the pimpernel, red maids, reed grass, red rockets, Coast rock cress, fiddlenecks, yarrow and so many more he still hadn’t learned the names. What did it matter? She wouldn’t be there to tell when he returned.
Arthur marked the Pampas grass that stood so tall over his head, that if he hadn’t been aware of the rift where they grew, he would have thought them average and fallen. He followed along the side until he stood at the edge of the cliff at last. He watched the Pacific rise from the edge of the bluff. The wind blew from behind him, blew through him. How easy it would be to lean forward and not stop. When he did, he saw it. His broken body smashed on the boulders below. The incoming tide would cover it soon, so the small fish and larger ones would nibble away his flesh. Each day, more was gone, but it wasn’t enough. And he never remembered until too late.
Perhaps when nothing but his bones remained, he would stop suffering his repeating nightmare. He hoped so and that he would see Ruth again. He straightened, turned, and walked back the way he came. He disappeared in the brush between here and home. Whichever day it was, he knew he would return tomorrow and tomorrow.
People Over Politics, World Over Wealth!
Peace is Purpose, Nonviolence is Strength,
Diversity is Unity, Empathy is Empowerment
Unite the World!
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