TORN BY THE SUN by John Dalglish Romance WIP
If you took the Golden Gate Bridge out of San Francisco to Oakland, then I-580 south to the small city of Hayward, you’d come to a rural cemetery by the name of Lone Tree. Forty-acres of slightly rolling hills, roughly half full of folks laid to rest, and ready to receive more in a non-denominational setting.
And if you’d made this trip on a particular Sunday afternoon in March, you’d have found a blue Toyota Camry parked just inside the gate, with a man opening the door for his passenger in the back seat.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to park closer, Mother?”
Keiko reached out and accepted her son’s hand, allowing him to help her out of the car. “No, I’m happy for the walk.”
He shut the car door. “Very well; I’ll wait for you here.”
“Thank you, Son.”
At seventy-three, the tiny woman born Keiko Yoshida, was still able to get around without assistance. With her small steps, it took longer to get where she was going, but she didn’t mind. After all, she wasn’t in a hurry anymore.
Her jet-black hair had turned mostly gray, and she preferred to wear it up in a tight bun, even though it still reached nearly to her waist. On this day, she wore leather boots with fur around the top, and a heavy coat. Despite the sunshine and temperature near fifty degrees, the wind chilled her, forcing her to pull the black trench-coat tight around her.
In her gloved hands, she carried a single white chrysanthemum, the flower symbolizing grief in Japanese culture. The younger generation seemed no longer interested in the language of the flower, each one having symbolic meaning in their culture, and the ability to deliver a message. It saddened her such beautiful traditions were being left behind.
Keiko moved along the front road to a path, leading away to the right, and up a small rise. At the top of the rise, she turned left onto the grass, passing several rows of flat gravestones, until she arrived at the marker. Bending down, she laid the flower over the name Jesse Michael Sommers.
When she stood again, the wind rushed at her back, attempting to topple her forward onto the grave. The wind, however, had forgotten who it was up against. With a force of will and an inner strength that had sustained her all these years, she stiffened her back, riding out the gust.
As the wind subsided, she spotted a marble bench beneath a large tree, not far from where she stood. Moving slowly to it, she lowered herself down, and accepted the windbreak offered by the tree’s bulk. Her deep brown eyes turned misty as she stared back at Jesse’s headstone.
“How did we get to this place, Jesse?”
She would often speak to herself in the form of silent questions, a habit that had helped her reason through many problems, over just as many years.
“Why do I find myself alone here, wishing you could answer me? Why aren’t you where I can speak to you now? Isn’t there much we could say?”
She didn’t expect a response, but as usual, finding her own answers was more important. Sometimes, they came to her easily, but most times she’d meditate for hours or days before getting the understanding she sought.
Keiko, now sheltered from the wind, turned her face upwards toward the sun. It warmed her, much like the first time she’d met Jesse. It felt like two, no three, lifetimes ago. Still, her memory could bring the day back to her whenever she wanted to relive, or needed to experience, the magic of that time.
That time before it all had changed.
That time before things would never be the same.
That time before events beyond their control would alter their lives to an outcome they couldn’t have imagined.
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Geralt's Sunrise Hill at PixaBay.
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