The Sad Old Man

 

William Tesnaut peered down the cliff. Its craggy side went down all the way to the sea. If he took one more step, he would fall, helplessly, and get dashed by the sharp rocks that lay below in the sea that crashed against the cliff, and would continue to crash against the cliff for years to come, slowly eroding it away.

Could he make the jump? As the crash of the waves thundered on his eardrums, he tried to recall the reason why he even walked to the edge. A face floated in front of his consciousness.

Fiona.

He missed her. He missed her so much. He’d already started to forget what it was like without her. He desperately tried to hold on the his memory of her, but in old age, his brain was failing him. Every day he woke up, a small bit of what he remembered of Fiona would be gone, as the waves of time crashed on the edge of his memory, slowly eroding what little bit he had left of her in her mind.

One day it would all be gone. Would the absence of her memory lessen his pain? Or would the memory that he once remembered her, but had now forgotten her, just make it worse?

He peered down the cliff once again. He felt the spray on his face as the water met the unyielding stone wall. His face dried quickly as the wind swept in from the sea, leaving a biting cold on his old skin. He balled the hands in his pockets, and huddled a bit.

He remembered holding her hand, as her life faded away. Even now, the details surrounding her passing eluded him. He couldn’t remember the colour of her robe or the bedsheet. All he remembered was that she had died in the hospital. In his mind, everything that was not Fiona was in white, since he couldn’t remember the colour. But he still remembered her face, and her beautiful, fading, ginger hair. He remembered grasping her hand with his right, and running the fingers of his left through her hair.

“I’ll miss you,” he had whispered.

“I’ll miss you too,” she had said. Then, she went.

William Tesnaut stared at the horizon. It was cloudy, overcast, and gloomy.

“I miss you,” he said, almost inaudibly. The wind took the words out of his mouth, and swept it away past his ears.

William Tesnaut was old, sad, and lonely. But when he looked down the cliff for a third time, he didn’t feel like giving himself up to the sea. Not yet.

William Tesnaut turned around, and walked back down the path to his house.

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