Photo and Story
by Gretchen Fogelstrom

He reached for my hand.  It was warm.  We walked outside under the big Magnolia tree.  The sun was fading, but it still felt balmy.  We sat down.  Silent.  I didn’t speak.  I knew he just needed me there.

Soon he released my hand, scratched his head and leaned forward, elbows on knees, his chin resting in his palms.  My fingers felt lonely and I wanted to reach out and grab him.  To shake him and tell him how much I loved him and that we’d be alright.

But I knew him and he needed me silent, sitting next to him envisioning my love wrapping around him.

After a moment, his fingers went to the edge of the bench and absentmindedly started outlining the engraved rose with the tip of his finger.  He went round and round, as if drawing it by memory.  Whenever he did this I knew he was on the verge of a new idea, a new plan, a way for us to survive.

This went on for years.  The decades had been tough.  But there had been good times too.  Those were the images I recalled, when we took our walk to the bench and together rekindled our strength.

He’s gone now.  And as I sit on the bench, my fingers retracing the petals his did for years, I see the good with the bad.  But we weathered the storms and always found each other on the other side, hand-in-hand.


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