A Day in Miranha
He wakes up earlier than the sun. No one greets him good morning except for the ever present pain in his body, in his bones. He has long ago how to drown out its voice.
Art sits up and puts on his glasses. The world outside is blanketed with gray and his house remains in dreaming. All is quiet. Art reaches for the photograph of a woman on the bedside table and his fingers lightly brush the woman’s cheeks. His wife, dead for over a decade, smiles at him with all her shyness and love. Art smiles back.
A lone rooster crows the arrival of the morning as Art puts on his overalls and heads outside. The air is crisp and has the light touch of the coming winter. In front of his house, sprawled on the ground, is his garden – a garden that had grown from being more than just a simple hobby. It covers his entire yard and surrounds his house. Everyone in Miraha admires his garden. It’s his pride and joy. He has thrown his everything in it – becoming the focal point of his life ever since Maria died. He nurtures it with his arthritic hands, bad back, and broken heart. It became his new Maria.
He has grown all sorts of vegetation and is continuously planning on adding some more. A couple more root crops, he thinks. Art picks up his equipments and begins working. The first rays of sunlight creeps up his wooden fence. A bead of sweat crawls down his sunburned cheek. He stops for a breather. Leaning on his plow, he surveys the town. He sees one window of one house light up. It’s the Ripple house. Art wipes away his sweat and resumes his work.
Prudence Ripple takes out her coffee mug and begins making coffee. She looks outside the window and sees Old Man Art, a permanent fixture to the landscape, working on his garden. Honestly, Prudence thinks to herself, that man would rather talk to his vegetables than to his neighbors. She’s pretty sure the old man has forgotten he has neighbors. Prudence walks away from the window and takes a sit.
She hears floorboards groan above her announcing hat her husband has now woken up. Prudence’s eyes fall down to the blackness of her coffee. She sees her reflection which turns into something else, of an image of a woman she doesn’t know. Her thoughts wander back to last night as she listens to her husband whisper a woman’s name in his sleep. It’s not the first time that it has happened. Prudence tells herself it means nothing. It’s just a dream, she scolds herself. She takes a sip from her coffee.
Her husband walks in the kitchen and greets her good morning. Prudence returns the greeting. She watches him pack food into his bag. He loves me, she thinks to herself. He wouldn’t cheat. He’s not like that. Prudence smiles at herself, at her assurance, at her husband.
The husband tells her he’ll be working late, to not stay up waiting for him, to kiss the children goodnight for him. Prudence nods and nods and nods. The husband walks over to her and kisses her on the lips. It doesn’t feel any different from a handshake. Prudence dismisses the thought. She remains seated in her chair as the sound of the opening and the closing of the door fills the room. Her husband leaves.
The world holds its breath. All the eyes of all the trees watch Henry in anticipation. The boy draws his knives and waits in the shadows. His prey, unaware of the danger around it, stops by a stream to drink. Henry knows an opportunity just opened itself. He makes his move. He slips out of the shadow and pounces on the deer with both knives outstretched like claws – a human that has turned into a vicious wildcat. In two swift motions he has severed the deer from its life. Blood spills from its neck and into the stream. Not bad for three hours of waiting, Henry thinks as he wipes the blood from his knives.
Above, the sky turns red as the stream soundlessly flowing beneath Henry’s feet.
The sun is a golden coin that’s already halfway buried beneath the ground. As it sinks, it also pulls down the colors of the sky – leaving nothing but the darkness of the night.
She’s wearing a white dress.
The grass feels soft beneath his feet and the night breezes are kisses on the skin. He watches the houses in the town of Miranha glow with light. From somewhere far comes the sound of a wolf howling into the silver moon.
He feels her beside him, looking at him.
The wind carries to him her scent. He holds on to her just a little bit tighter, afraid to let go.
Time keeps on moving, pulling her away. He can’t keep up.
He remembers her words, they float in the darkness and they land in his memory.
The hands of the clock continue to move as Miranha prepares for the night. He sits alone on top of a grassy hill with his hands in his pockets. He watches life move along. He refuses to let her go.