25. Writing Prompt – 50 Years Later

I gazed at the bench where I had first met her, her hair piled in soft curls, her eyes bright, her dress a crisp blue. She had been a vision. I was pulled from my reminiscence by the sight of an elderly woman making her way through the park, leaning heavily on her cane, her breathing labored, and I rushed to help her.

“Thank you, young man,โ€ she said, smiling up at me as I helped her to the bench.

“Are you alright?” I sat next to her, concerned by her obvious fatigue. “Can I call someone for you?”

“Oh, I’ll be fine.” She gazed around the foggy park, her eyes wistful. “I met my husband here. I like to come back and sit with the memories for a while. He passed thirty years ago. Car accident.”

I clasped her wrinkled hand in mine.
“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. We had many wonderful years together.”

“What was he like?”

“Too charming for his own good,” she laughed. “And very handsome. He looked a bit like you.”
She turned to me with a twinkle in her eyes.
“I’ve told you my story, now I believe you owe me one. Any great loves in your life?”

I leaned on my knees, gazing out into the fog.
“There was. Once. But I… I left her.”

She laid a hand on my arm.
“Life is full of second chances if we fight for them hard enough.”

“Not this time, I’m afraid,” I sighed, placing my hand over hers.

On an impulse, I leaned forward and kissed her cheek, taking my leave with a squeeze of her hand. Before vanishing into the lingering mist of morning, I glanced back at her still sitting on the bench, framed against the soft fog. Fifty years later, her eyes were just as bright.

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