If this was the last scene of a story, how would you write it? The setting appears to be related to a church, either a a wall around a church building or a cemetery. The statues makes me think it’s a Catholic site. It could be sunset or sunrise–either would work for an ending.Who are the people walking through the gate? Husband and wife? Mother and son? Two strangers who happened to bump into each other?
If this photo inspires the last scene of a story for your, please share it in the comments. Here’s my inspiration:
Mom gave the tombstone a stroke across its rough top, planted her cane in the ground, and turned to me. “I’m done.” A smile, making her look about six, hovered on her lips. “I guess we both are now.”
Jamming my hands in the pockets of my shorts, I felt about six. “I’m sorry I complained so much. And tried to discourage you. And–“
“If you’re gonna say you’re sorry for everything you did wrong on this trip, I’m gonna have to find a comfortable tombstone and sit.” She shuffled toward the tall gate, the sunset catching her full in the face. “I accept your apology. And any future ones you think you gotta make.”
Why did her quick acceptance make me feel worse? I fell in step beside her, and she took my arm with her free hand.
If it took forever to get from the car to the cemetery, it seemed to take forever and a day to get to the van. It glinted under the gold beams of evening and still looked like it should collapse on its axels.
As I helped Mom into the passenger seat, she turned and took my face in both hands. “Thank you, Jimmy.” She kissed me on the nose.
“You’re–uh …” I pulled back and slunk around to my side. I couldn’t say “You’re welcome”. A parent shouldn’t have to thank her child for doing his job.
I slide behind the wheel and stared ahead. Only one thing to do.
“Mom, I gotta call Aiden.” I swiped his number.
“Dad?” Aiden sounded stunned, like he expected a call from me to be about as likely as one from the President.
“I accept your apology.”
“You do?” The questions was a whisper.
“Absolutely. I was wrong not accept it when you first said it. But we can talk more about it when Mom and I get home.” I looked at the high wall. The sunset seemed to give Jesus and the saints along the top halos. I looked to Mom. She gave me an enormous grin and patted my arm
“We’ve got way too much to tell you over the phone.”
Aiden said okay in a daze, and I hung up.
As I headed back down the pothole-pocked road, I felt six again. Six years old, like when you just know anything is possible.
Wow! That’s amazing! You’re a wiz at endings! This really makes me want to read a whole story leading up to this moment 🙂 To take it in a different direction, here’s my idea:
Everett squeezed my hand and I gripped back, like I would never let go. Because of course I wouldn’t. Not now, after we’d made it through thirty-eight years of marriage. We stepped through the church door and into the sunset, and I smiled, thinking about the first time we walked through this door. We were mad and hurting and desperately taking the necessary steps to finalize a divorce. That was three years ago. The kids weren’t surprised that we spent our thirty-fifth anniversary discussing separation rather than taking a trip. But all those years of resentment have been repaired. The impossible has happened. We’re in love again. And we’re taking a trip to celebrate. I checked my watch, the one Everett gave me when we got married. Right on time to head to the airport and keep this dream alive.
I really like the sentence “The kids weren’t surprised …” That says so much about this marriage. Makes me wonder how it got that way and then how they fixed it. My imagination is churning. Thank you!