Ozzie Ausband

The Walker

She lived alone. Mumbling. Talking to herself was better than not talking at all. No one came by. The rabbits lived in the yard and ate her vegetables in the garden. She smiled and chuckled softly under her breath as she put in a few new carrot and tomato plants. “Little rascals!” They had formed a long-standing relationship. She would overlook their eating of her garden and they provided the pleasure of constant company. It suited her fine. Her family was long dead. The dark fiend known as ‘Liquor’, had consumed her man several years ago. That was okay, as he had become pretty useless anyway. She thought of him as she moved with her walker through the yard. Slow going. She had to be careful of her hips. Arthritis had made moving a regular torment. The arthritis reminded her of her long-gone husband and she smiled at the thought. She sat in the afternoon light and peered through the trees. Her eyes fell on the pool at the back of the property. Weeds grew thick and lush around the edges. It sat in the sun, wrapped in a rusting fence. Empty. Crumbling. Much like her own life. It had been decades since it saw any use. Family and fun were not to be found.

Standing, she used her walker and moved out towards the pool area. Birds had made nests in the heavy shrubbery around it. They flitted about at her intrusion. Coming through the fence gate, she stopped and looked at the pool. Its once shining face was scarred and pitted. Deep furrows lined its surface. The curving red lip was pale and lifeless. She muttered under her breath. “Oh my…” It had been a long time since she even looked at the pool. It had been emptied years before and her neighbor kept it that way. He would stop over and drain the rainwater out every few months.

The woman felt saddened. She thought of the past. The pool had once been a place of happiness and refreshment. Hot summer days, children and BBQ cookouts came back to her. She recalled a hot summer night a long time ago. The lovers moon grinned its pale face overhead.  Her husband had held her beside the pool. His calloused hands ran over her body… love and companionship. The quiet happy things… they were barely a memory.

She moved slowly from the pool area without a backwards glance. Her legs hurt and she knew that she had exerted herself too much. She would go inside and take her pain pill. Slipping carefully into the house, she left her walker by the door and the rabbits to run things for her while she slept through the long night alone. The shuddering stars winked down. Uncaring.  Skate- Ozzie