Hello/Goodbye

Author’s Note: Today’s prompt: “Write the saddest scene you can think of between a boy and a girl. Except this is the first time they’ve met.” It took me a while to decide what I thought was the saddest scene, but I’m happy with the end result. Please let me know what you think.

Wind whipped the leaves on the trees, and the man’s jacket up around him. He pulled it close, sheltering the bouquet within his coat, and lowered his bowler hat on his head. Despite the weather, his heart was light, and the wind couldn’t whip the smile off his face.

Today was the day. The day they’d been waiting for, Shireen and him. For years they’d tried, losing hope with every day that passed, thinking at last that it just wasn’t in the cards for them, that they weren’t meant to be parents. Perhaps it was the decision to stop stressing over it that made them successful in the end. Perhaps. It didn’t matter, really. All that mattered was that it happened, and soon, he’d hold his daughter in his arms for the first time. He’d be a dad.

He stopped at the crossing, waited for the green man to tell him he could walk. Shuffling his feet, he held the flowers close to him, smiling at the reds and pinks, imagining his wife’s face when he came in, imagining the perfect life they’d lead once their precious baby girl was a part of it. Isabella. Her name was like honey on his tongue, made his eyes teary, and his heart yearn.

He was the happiest man on earth.

The green man lit up, and he pulled his coat closer around him as he stepped onto the road.

He didn’t see it until it was too late.

The woman was late.

Of all the days to be late, this was not it.

Her mum would never forgive her. Not in a million years.

She swerved to overtake a white sedan, and hit the accelerator harder. The church was coming up, but not fast enough. The corset cut into her ribs, and it was hard to breathe. Her hair was coming undone, and she was sure the stress-sweating was making her makeup run. But it wasn’t her day. Her face wouldn’t matter. She could just picture the angry vein bulging on the side of her mum’s forehead. Selfish. That’s what she’d call her.

It’s not that she wasn’t happy for her mum. She was. Louis was a nice guy. Decent sort. She just couldn’t see why she had to have such a big part in the ceremony. She was barely home anyway.

The wind rattled her tiny beetle as she thundered down the road, her windows shook, and she took a moment to make sure they were closed. All she needed was her car to be overtaken by rogue leaves pushing their way inside.

She looked down for a second, but that was all it took.

The woman stumbled from the wreck, dabbed a finger to her forehead. It came away sticky and red. She blinked away the fuzziness in her eyes, and that’s when she saw him.

The man lay in the middle of the road, rose petals scattered around him, a bowler hat spinning on its side.

A sob caught in her throat, as she ran to him, crashing to her knees by his side, her dress pooling around her.

His eyes were closed, his breathing laboured.

“Are – are you – can you hear – can you hear me?” she stuttered, her tears falling and mingling with the red streaking his face.

His eyes fluttered, and for a moment she saw the blue of his eyes.

But they closed again. And they didn’t reopen.

They’d never open again.

7 thoughts on “Hello/Goodbye

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