Friday, December 20, 2013

Old Friends

I had a new experience last evening while riding on the train.  As I was wrapping up my less than stellar writing session (I was really struggling with the ending of this silly novel) the gentleman sitting next to me -- a bit older and quite distinguished -- said, "Excuse me, but what is your book about?"  I told him.  Made a joke about it's a way to pass the time on the train.  He said, "It's a very good way."  I suggested that maybe someday it would pay for my ticket.  He looked me square in the eye and as serious as could be, said, "It will."  Then he added, "You've sat next to me before and I've watched you write."
Nothing like a sincere vote of confidence from a total stranger.  That, combined with another rejection letter accompanied by personal comments and "Please send more of your work to us in the future." made for quite an inspiring day.  I hammered out another 2k words last night.

But today is Friday, and you're here for a story.

Old Friends
by Jon Stark
December, 2013.

He watched for her everyday.  And she still came most of them, though now it was rarely for long.  She'd pop down early in the morning or late at night, spend a little time with him over a quick snack, and then she was off.  Some evenings, if it was especially cool, she'd make sure he was covered up in his blanket before leaving, but things were different.

She was busier now.  He understood that.  It had happened before -- dear friends who slowly filled their lives with so many distractions that he was crowded out.  Promises of always being there, always stopping in, faded into apologies for this or that emergency that kept them away.  It was the way of things and he accepted that.

He had long given up on the idea of permanence or any lasting relationship.  But that didn't keep him from enjoying the moments he had.  Today she had come smelling like flowers and he was reminded of the spring.  She'd stayed a bit longer too, telling him about a trip she was going to be taking but that he shouldn't worry, someone else would be checking in on him.

It was all just noise to him, he was only interested in her attention.  She stayed while he ate breakfast and then walked with him, down the drive and through the paddocks.

He didn't know all of the words she used, but he did know the tone and when she scratched him behind the ears he knew it would a long time before he saw her again.

It was sad, but he had fond memories to hold him over.  The common expression is that elephants never forget, but anyone who's ever been around them knows that horses don't either.

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