The Gift - Short Story

A short story about a man on his way to visit his wife. The Gift within the story can be interpreted however you want, that's the open factor for this piece. I hope it makes you emotional (kinda) and I hope you enjoy reading it


1. The Gift

Snow. You always loved snow. I remember how you would raise your hands in awe, smiling widely at me at such a rare sight. I remember how the snowflakes would fall in halos around you, and I would laugh at your childishness. We were so lucky that day - to find snow.

I was so lucky to find you.

It had been snowing for the past few days now, and only now did I ever build up the courage to step outside. I had spent those recent days contemplating my our fireplace in the sanctuary of my leather chair, defeated my guilt and remorse, watching the frost form upon the windowsill. Today, I had decided would be the day I'd visit you.

It was early afternoon, but the sun was slowly being cannibalised by he darkness, providing small clumps of fallen snow with a pure, angelic glow. The oncoming darkness allowed the trees to loom over me, lulling, dancing, tormenting me with their shattered shadows. Street lights began to illuminate the pavement as I stumbled onwards to visit you. I must have given the impression to passersby that I was a lovesick idiot. I chuckled mentally to myself - maybe I was.

The icy gusts that the wind had shit at me seemed to linger internally, sending jitters up my spine as I continued along the mazes of pavement to see you. It was quite a walk from our house, but I was too determined, too apprehensive about making you upset.

Not again. Not ever.

I gripped the wilted stems tightly in my hand, gradually becoming engulfed in an unpleasant mixture of pride and melancholy. It was at that moment that I had realised my pace has slowed, my shoes scuffing the dull, stone pavement kicking the now - airborne snow, sparkling as if it were broken diamonds, and then fluttering effortlessly back onto my shoes.

I walked for the next ten minutes in tainted tranquility. Listening to the vehicles pass by with the smell of chemicals and petrol for me to suffocate into. The sky, once painted with pale crimsons and baby pinks, had now become infected with deep indigos and navy blues, and anything that was distant became trapped in an immovable and impenetrable abyss of darkness. I looked for the sun, only to find it had almost slipped away, and was hanging from the hill in the graveyard.

Gradually, a small lump began to form in my throat out of sudden nerve and ill feelings.

I glanced at the graveyard, overcome with despair; the sudden memories and guilt that I had held back for so long, flooding back. I looked down and the bouquet in my hands; the white petals were now grey, limp and lifeless - these atrocities that had cost me so much more than money itself. I stared at the large metallic gates standing like Knights guarding you from me, as if you were the damsel in distress.

You were once.

But I was not there to help you...

My brief sadness was interrupted with a sudden rush of adrenalin, my heart pumping viciously, forcing myself through the gates and down the bricked pathway: my way to you. I ran, blubbering uncontrollably as I tried to find you, looking, searching desperately for your name.

I did look for you before you came here. Before I'd knew I'd lost you. I remember that day so well, the memories so fresh: it was our first anniversary; we had arranged to meet at your favourite café - where I'd first met you all those years ago.

But it was not to be a perfect anniversary, or a happy one at the very least, for Lady Luck had cursed and stuck her middle finger up at me.

I was late from work at the Office, I recall, and had stopped at a nearby florist to buy you a celebratory bouquet - to apologise, to redeem myself. I was so overjoyed about the fact I had finally found a near - perfect woman in my life, and yet I had already screwed up today-of-all-days for my tardiness. I had deluded myself into believing that flowers could improve any situation -like it could do in any soppy romantic movie, but oh, was I so wrong.

I recollected in my mind the images of ambulances, journalists and policemen and women all gathered, crowding around the café, like moths to a light, yearning to see your corpse and speak their shock. Upon seeing them, I had felt the same lump form then as I did now. The same adrenalin, as I ran towards you, pushing past the barrier of the disrespectful, and finally seeing you. Those once sparkling eyes, now dull and doll - like, your body in a graceful yet heartbreaking clump of the recluse of the floor, outlined with a pool of deep crimson.

I screamed, I cried, I had shown every emotion a man like me was not supposed to.

I felt all strings of hope snap.

By now, I had found your grave, and had fallen on my knees, sobbing in utter guilt. It was my fault for stopping to get you hear goddamned flowers! It was my fault for not being there to protect you; not being there to comfort you, to hold your hand and promise you that everything would be okay.

"I'm sorry", I kept muttering under my breath, bouquet cast to my side, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."

I kept repeating those words till they had lost their meaning, my fists hitting the ground in frustration and heartbreak, knowing that I couldn't hold your hand again; that I couldn't hold you in a warm embrace no more; that I could no longer see your beautiful smile.

I couldn't even say "I love you", one last time.

It was minutes before I'd stopped snivelling. It was deathly silent, but the tears and pain still remained. I looked to my side at the bouquet. Some of he petals had detached themselves and made their way across another grave, kissed by the wind. Gingerly, I picked up the flowers, sniffling and hoping that my tears would dry. Slowly, and ever so carefully, I laid them down upon your blanket of snow - it was difficult to believe you were even under there. Your headstone almost glowed as if you were glad/ happy to see me.

I stopped crying when I had seen it, and began to ponder about ourselves. I knew in the back of my mind, it would be a shockingly long time for me to heal and to stop feeling this constant intoxicating turmoil, but I will. I will try. For you. You had always hated seeing anyone in pain. I promised you that I would not hide away, sinking into my leather chair. I promised you that I would visit you more often. I promised you that I would bring you better flowers: flamboyant ones, grand ones, colourful and beautiful ones. Hence especially wilted ones. For now, however, I hoped these would do.


You always loved lillies.


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