Jason walked along the river bank, cold wind stinging his face. He listened to the crunch of underbrush gone brown for the winter. His eyes watered for a time before tears ran down his cheeks. He stopped to stare at the dark swollen waters rushing by.
He hadn’t been to the river in nearly a year, but last week the woman he loved left him. They had two great years together, including taking long walks along the river, before their bickering became a nasty habit.
He tried to recall the song that went something like “you criticize every little thing I do.” The melody was clear now, punctuated by “it’s gone, gone, gone…” He erased the music with pledges of how he would be a better person if she’d give him another chance. Wasn’t I good for her? We were so happy. Okay, I was messy and forgot things, but I never stopped loving her.
Jason shifted his eyes from the water to his boots where he saw a lone yellow flower atop the mangled brush. He dropped to his knees to be closer to this colorful survivor in the dead of winter. He was going to pluck it from the wasteland, he even touched its fragile petals, but decided to photograph it with his cell phone and text it to his love.
Maria was gazing intently at the computer screen when her cell phone beeped once. She finished typing a sentence before grabbing it. She tensed up–a text from Jason. The photo of the yellow flower came with one word: “Always.”
She stood up from her desk. “Always” would go away at some point, she thought. If he’d asked me for another chance, if, or given some explanation of why we were still good together, it would help me leave him–he can be such a whiner. Why did we argue so much lately? All those friggin’ words between us.
“Maria, how about lunch–there’s a special down at Joe’s?” It was Ben in accounting.
“Thanks, but I have plans.”
As Ben walked away she pressed the message box on her phone.