The Shine Journal

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Letting Go


Evelyn Ellis

I thought I saw you today.  It was lunch time and I was walking down George Street towards Circular Quay.   Do you remember how we used to meet by the harbour?    Down by the Museum of Modern Arts we had a favourite bench.  Lunch hours always seemed to go too fast.  

Waiting to cross at the traffic lights I saw your head above the crowd on the other side.  It was just a glimpse, a flash of blonde hair that was there then it wasn’t.  But I was sure it was you.  On the green walk signal I hurried across.  The people around me irritated me with their slowness.  A group of Asian students took up a wide stretch of footpath ambling, laughing, chattering about their plans for the weekend.   Businessmen in suits, mobile phones to their ears, conducted loud conversations and seemed intent on blocking my way.   At last I got clear and searched the crowd ahead. 

Where were you?  There!  I could see you on the opposite side of the road.   I willed you to turn around and see me but you didn’t.  You were too far away.   The street was too noisy to call out, you’d never hear me.   I quickened my pace until I was almost running.  The traffic was heavy and had slowed for the next intersection.  When it stopped I ran through the banked cars to the other side.

Now you were only a half a block away, nearing McDonalds on the next street corner.   I stumbled on a rough piece of pavement and nearly fell.  When I looked up you’d disappeared.

I got to Maccas.  Surely you didn’t go in there.  You hate burgers.  I looked down Hunter Street then stood on my tiptoes to see further down George Street.  No sign.  I went into the restaurant, packed with the lunch-time crowd.  My stomach rolled with the smell of mass-produced food.  I searched the ground floor then went upstairs.  You were sitting at a window table looking out at the busy street scene below.   

“Darling, I thought I’d never catch up with you,” I put my hand on your shoulder.

“Excuse me?”  A stranger turned to face me.  He was quite handsome, with blue eyes very similar to yours but he wasn’t you.  

“I’m so sorry,” I felt quite sick as I apologised to the young man.  “I thought …”

Embarrassed I turned and moved quickly through the crowded tables.  Tears ran down my face as I left.  Standing next to a shop window I watched the people passing by.   I breathed deeply and dried my tears.  

I wonder if some day I’ll stop doing this.  Stop seeing you in a crowd.  When I know you’re always here waiting for me.   The wind stirs the trees, some petals fall from the roses I brought last weekend.  Lying on the grass above you, I close my eyes and wish I could let you go.

Motivation: Imagining coming to terms with loss of a loved companion.

Bio: I joined a web-based writing group some years ago and enjoy writing short flash fiction.  I've had two flash pieces published on ezines. I'm married, lived in North Queensland, Australia with my husband of 52 years.


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Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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