The apple tree

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The Apple Tree The sound of the whistle echoed through the station, the train machinery started growling as it went off. Families, friends, partners were waving their goodbyes to their relatives, running after the engine as others started leaving. An old man walked on to the platform as it was being deserted little by little. Dressed in white from head to toe, holding his cane for support in one hand and a gorgeous bouquet of crimson almost black velvet textured roses in the other. He ran wobbly and unstably forward after the train, forgetting for a split instant he possessed a walking stick; then froze as if stricken with reality; he had obviously missed his departure for the south of France. His face expression gave away this was a first time, but one disappointment to many. Disbelief and resignation cast a deeper shadow over his wrinkles making him look every bit his eighty five years of age. Scared he was, but despite this, his gaze was alive and crumbs of passion could be discovered in the depth of his light gray eyes. Out of breath he staggered up to a bench near by, removing his white hat and seating the bouquet next to him.


They relied on and trusted each other through out these though times and already couldn't imagine living separately. The year the war ended, he proposed to her under an apple tree, facing the sea. He knew so many endearing details about her, her favorite color, the way she put her hand in front of her mouth when she giggled and he still had much more to learn. Apples were her favorite; they had kept her alive during the war and the sea was a symbol of deliverance to her. Certainly he had thought this through and wanted to let her understand that if she said yes to his offer, she would be the apple of his eye, and that she was. He could still remember the smell of the soap she had washed with that morning, the way her hair flew around her face, the happiness in her eyes and her self conscious smile as she battled with her skirt which was threatening to blow away in the wind. His spirits soared as he remembered the joy of that day and many others they had together.


He worried about Manon; how she was to recover from this? New wrinkles appeared at the corner of her mouth and on her forehead. In the face of this tragedy, he became even closer to his wife; they depended on each other as two lovebirds. In the late afternoon, he was aware that he should be on his way. He felt the weight of the years upon his shoulders as he pushed himself up from the bench. He was walking towards his goal as the night was descending upon him. He pushed open the small wooden gate which contained so many recollections. He sat beneath the old apple tree between the two graves, running his fingers over the golden letters of her name. It didn't matter that he missed that train because he knew she would be here waiting for him. "Manon, what would I give to hold you one more time in my arms, run my fingers through your gray hair." He looked up at the sky, the moon was high and the stars were out: "I missed you...", he murmured as he closed his eyes. The bouquet of crimson almost black velvet textured roses slipped out of his hand and rolled to the foot of the tombstone. He took his seat across from her once again.

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