She had woken up from her sleep long before dawn. She lay on her bed enable to go back to sleep again. She got up, sat on the bed and let out a long sigh. She reached for her walking stick and stood up with difficulty. Age had multiplied the effort required for simple things as this.
It was a cold winter morning and she felt the chill hit her bones. She lit a fire and slumped into the comfort of her favorite rocking chair beside the window. It had snowed the previous night. The white ground that seemed to stretch into eternity looked as if it were painted… as if the sky was floating gently on earth.
She could hear the sound of the wood cracking in the fire. She watched the flames dancing in the air and the shadows of light dancing to its tune. It is fascinating how darkness could evolve from something so brilliant. She could feel herself crawl into the warmth that filled the room. That room was full of memories. She looked around the room that was witness to her kaleidoscopic world. She glanced past her children’s medals and trophies, past the drawings they had made a long time ago, to where the collection of photographs was kept. She picked up one framed photograph out of them.
A man… a smile… a solace for almost a lifetime… Now just an image in a faded photograph. She ran her wrinkled hand over his face. It had been years since he had gone… years since his hand had held hers in the paths trodden.
The first sun beam that was to break the darkness that dawn, would mark her 80th birthday. It was hard for her to believe that eighty years of her life had passed by in an eye blink. The few days ahead seemed like a struggle, with the present hanging onto a bunch of forlorn dreams.
She closed her eyes and drowned into a panoramic rummage of her mind’s cache of memories. Images flashed before her eyes… images of her wedding day… her first child… her children’s first steps… their laughter in that very garden… her grandchildren… The thoughts brought a smile to her face. All that she had been through in life was worth holding her grandchildren in her arms. But they were all away in different corners of the world. Maybe they would send her a card wishing her happy birthday or maybe she would receive a phone call.
She looked at the other photographs of her family. They were moments of life captured for eternity that never grows old and never ceases to look back at you. You never see the bad days in a photo album; life simply seems to travel from one happy snapshot to another. Time in all those years had revealed the beauty in the multiplicity of patches. The time ahead was marked by the wait to ultimately become an image in a faded photograph.
She leaned back in her rocking chair and closed her eyes. Slowly everything around her vanished into nothingness. When the sun rose in the horizon of the slate blue sky, its sunrays kissing the sleeping night awake, she was asleep clinging onto the faded photograph of her beloved.