Sara was walking through Forsyth Park. There was the playground on her left, the swings moving back and forth. “Where are the kids?” Sara wondered, still walking. The old fort was on her right, the tables out back strangely empty. “That’s weird,” Sara said out loud, her voice sounding far-off, like an echo. The fountain, which was far away a moment ago was now right in front of her and she found that she was holding on to the iron railing though she had no memory of getting here.
“Sara.” A whisper. A breath.
Where is that voice coming from? Sara thought. There was no one here. No one at all, which was very strange indeed.
Sara opened her eyes to a sunset world and Miss Jane, leaning in the car window, rubbing her arm.
“Sara, how long have you been out here?” Miss Jane asked, a look of concern in her eyes.
Sara sat up, her back protesting the movement after so long in a cramped position. She blinked, trying to get her eyes to cooperate, as they also seemed to be protesting the movement.
“I don’t know. What time is it?” She ran her hands over her hair, trying to smooth it out.
“Eight o’clock. The sun’s about down. Whatever are you doing out here? I was taking a walk and just happened to notice your window was open, then saw you asleep.”
Miss Jane moved back as Sara opened the car door and stepped out, bending her spine in a cat-like stretch. She closed the door and leaned against the car.
“We’re worried about you, dear. The boxes…” Miss Jane trailed off.
“I know, I…I thought it would be better, but…but it wasn’t and I can’t take it back now. I can’t get him back.” It was happening again. The tears. They weren’t going to stop. “I got home from the mall and they were gone. And all I could do was cry. And I couldn’t go back in there, not without him. Not without him.”
“Come here, my sweet girl,” Miss Jane crooned, pulling her into a hug. “Of course, you must cry. Of course you’re sad. Just cry. It’s okay.” The pair of them stood there on the sidewalk, Miss Jane letting Sara cry, rubbing her back, shushing her gently, as only a mother knows how. And Sara, who could not remember her mother, let her, and knew somewhere deep inside that this was what a mother was for, and then her tears were for all those she missed. They were for her husband, and her mother and her sister. For even the mother-in-law who could never be what she secretly wished that she could be. Sara held Miss Jane tightly and almost told her what was bursting in her soul to tell. But the spell was broken when across the street they both heard, “Jane? Jane is that you?”
“Yes, Bill!” Jane spoke to the voice. “I’m over here with Sara.”
The pair of them moved apart, but Jane did not let Sara go completely.
“You will come with me, right now, young lady. It’s supper time, and I will not have you eating alone tonight. Come and let Bill and I make you laugh a bit and feed you. Please, won’t you?”
Sara looked over at her house, dark and silent and thought she’d be a fool to say no.
“Yes. Okay.” Nodding, trying not to cry again. “But I may cry,” she added, apologetic.
“I may cry with you.” Miss Jane reached up and smoothed Sara’s hair, a sweet gesture Sara was surprised by. She linked her arm with Sara’s and they crossed the street to the waiting Bill and the warmly lit up home.
Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Katherine Barron