February 14th was always their day. The time between their dates seemed to get longer and longer every year, but he could always count on February 14th. A nice dinner, a few drinks. They’d talk until late into the night. She would tell him everything about everything: her work, her friends. Nothing was a secret.
It was cold, but he waited in their spot, like always. He wondered what she’d have in the picnic basket. What flowers would she bring this year?
Hours passed while he waited. He sat on the cold granite and looked to the sky where the pale winter sun was starting to sink below the dead tree-line.
The moon was high in the sky when he heard the crunch of snow under boots. Two figures crossed the lawn. One stopped short, but the other walked right up to where he waited.
“I’m sorry I’m late,” she whispered. The plastic on the dozen roses she carried crinkled as she set it down before the headstone. She shivered and pulled her scarf tighter about her neck but reached out a bare finger to trace the letters of a name.
John Bishop. March 13, 1985 – February 14, 2016.
“John, you know I’ll always love you, but…” she glanced over her shoulder at the man waiting a respectful distance away. A sob caught in her throat, and it was a moment before she could continue. “I can’t keep on like this. I have to start living again. I’m sorry.”
John’s eyes stung. He reached for her, but she stepped away. In the moonlight, he could see the answering tears freezing to her cheeks. He was helpless to stop her as she rejoined her companion, who gathered her into an understanding embrace.
“You don’t need me anymore. I’m so glad.” A smile ghosted over John’s features. His heart was breaking, but hers was finally healing.
She turned for one last look at the headstone, offering one final wave good-bye. John waved back, even as he felt himself fade away. The last thing he saw was the recognition in her beautiful eyes.
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