In the wood the slanting evening light plays with the leaves, dancing shadows flit across the path. I heard that tune again through the open window. It called me, urged me to come down the path to the old gazebo. The trail is overgrown, no one comes this way anymore, but I can’t resist. The lilting melody is louder here. It’s a man’s voice, a rich tenor, but I can’t quite make out the words. How I wish I could remember them. Michael sang that song to me the last night we met, here at the gazebo, the night before he disappeared. Ran away, they said. I couldn’t believe it, couldn’t bear it. I left.
Now, here I am again. Home. Only now the house belongs to me, to us. But I hear that singing every evening. I can’t ignore it. I gets inside me, I have to follow it. Once I reach the gazebo I sit on the bench, not caring that the dirt may stain my dress, barely noticing the spiderwebs. Every time, I expect to find him here, waiting for me, but of course he never is. The singing fades away and I’m all alone, again.
Ah, I hear my husband’s boots crunching down the path, breaking the spell. He’s more worried about me than angry, I know, but I’m embarrassed to be found out here for the fourth evening in a row. He’s convinced the sound is in my head, that Michael hasn’t been here all along, waiting for me. He’s right, I know that. I’ve never been one to believe in ghosts, but that song…
I slide the box I brought with me under the seat. It holds a dried daisy and a note. Dearest Michael, I’m happy now. You can leave, I’ll be okay. With love always, Claire. Leave me to enjoy my life, to love my husband, to find contentment here.
“Claire,” my husband calls gently. “Come back up to the house.” I follow him, glancing back at the gazebo only once, not seeing the man I looked for.
Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take. I was trying not to do a sad ending today, not kill anyone off. I don’t know that I quite managed it though.