Story #02 for Story A Day Challenge May 2016
No Room But For Love
It was here they used to sit and talk. They came outside to escape the stuffed heat of an old building without air conditioning. Andy would announce, “Table for two, now open on the lanai,” as if he were a maître d’. Waiting for a breeze, they chatted.
Spring and autumn were their favorite times, when the weather was changing, when relief came in the guise of early spring days with a hint of warmth, or shorter autumn days, breaking the relentless grip of summer’s heat with splashes of cool nights.
Barbara always had flowers of some kind on the table. “Makes it look classy,” she said. Here, they’d share their day with each other. Their conversations started out with the usual complaints: problems with their apartments, teens out late in the neighborhood, prices at the grocer. Their bodies were a constant source of surprise, things going wrong in places and ways not covered in high school biology classes. Sometimes one would say, “It’s better than the alternative, right?” and the other would concur, nodding, smiling.
Once they got the opening routine out of the way, they drifted to more interesting subjects: memories, future plans, art, music, books, people, gardening. There was so much to enjoy in life and they were determined to enjoy their little part of it.
The table was just the right size for two, their ideas, hopes, and dreams. They built an imaginary field around it, protection from life’s rough edges.
The sirens were loud, insistent, rude. The ambulance drove away, stealing Barbara from the shelter of their sanctuary. Andy stood under the wisteria blooms, vision blurred by tears, breathing blurred by heartache.
After Barbara’s funeral, he sat at the table, not wanting to look at the empty seat. He decided not to let sadness creep into their refuge. He kept the table covered in flowers, so there would be no room for sorrow, no room but for love.