He Could See Her

Zack sat on the dock of Mineral Town Beach absently twirling a rose in his fingers. The waves gently lapped the barnacle covered wooden posts of the dock. The sound of the water was calming. Its whispers echoed with those of the wind to form a secret conversation only understood by those that have long since left this world for another. Mysterious and wonderful and frightening all at once, these whispers sneak into the soul and unlock doors from within, and it was Zack who now fell prey to them.

Zack often wondered why the sea made him so sad. It was such a beautiful thing, and yet in it he saw her. He heard her voice in its murmurs, and when the sun reflected off of the surface of its waters, it was only a reminder of how the sun shone in her eyes. Everyday for the past five years he had done the same thing. He had cut a rose from the same bush in his green house. He had told himself that he would ask her today. He had lost his nerve. However, today the sea was whispering to him, the wind was encouraging him, and both were strengthening his heart. He rose. He would ask her today.

Zack found himself before her door. The chicken farm was closed on Sundays and it was a perfect opportunity. He raised his hand to knock on the door when a young pink-haired woman nearly knocked him over in her hurry to get inside. She left the door ajar and Zack could see clearly through the opening. A young man descended the staircase in the corner and joined the young woman. A third woman was sitting at a counter. She looked tired.

"Mother! Mother!" the young woman exclaimed.

"Yes, what's the matter Popuri?" the other woman, asked gently.

"Rick! come look! it's a letter! it's addressed to you mother, it must be from..." Popuri laughed.

Popuri handed the letter to the woman, who took it and opened it. She began to read aloud.

"Dear Lilia: How are you and the children? I hope you are well, and I wish that I was there with you. Although I have yet to find the flower Anna told me about, I can't help but feel that I am closing in on it. Please be patient, my love. Tell the children I love them and that I'll be back as soon as I can. Your loving husband: Rod"

Lilia no longer looked tired. Quite the contrary, she was glowing. She wrapped her arms around her two children and hugged them so hard that they nearly suffocated and then she exclaimed in a voice stronger than it had been in years:

"He's alright! He's trying to come back to us!"

"Let's have a celebration dinner!" Popuri squealed.

"I'll stuff the turkey!" Rick volunteered eagerly.

It was then that Lilia noticed Zack through the open doorway, standing shocked and pale as though frozen.

"Zack! What a surprise! What brings you here?!"

"I....I..." Zack hid the rose behind his back. "I forgot the farm was closed on Sundays. I'd better go." and without waiting for a reply, he left.

He had been a fool. How could he have expected anything to come of his foolish feelings for her? He would never love again. This would be the last rose he ever cut from that bush, and he would put it where it belonged. He would find his way to that cliff where he had always gazed at the stars dreaming of her, and he would throw it over the edge. How else would it fall as far as his heart had fallen when he had seen that letter? It wasn't fair. What was the point of dreaming of her if he couldn't have her? Fate had been cruel to him.

Zack was startled to see another man standing at the edge of the cliff, staring, lost in another world. It was Doug, the inn keeper. Zack suddenly remembered the date: Fall 5. How many years was it now that Doug had lost his wife? Zack was going to leave, but his footfalls on the stone had already gotten Doug's attention. He advanced and put a comforting hand on Doug's shoulder. Lost in his own grief, however, Zack couldn't think of much to say.

"I'm so sorry for your loss..." Zack began.

"Thank you, it's not necessary, I'm..." Doug interrupted. Then he changed his tone. "I'm sorry, Zack. How many years has it been, eh? Here I am, like a heart-broken puppy. What you must think..."

Zack tried once more.

"Of course not! It's perfectly understandable."

"I don't know why...it's because I am selfish... I know she must be happier where she is now, and yet.. I want to see her. I want to know that she's alright. Even if I couldn't be with her...if I could just see her and know that she was happy..."

Doug broke down.

"I'm sorry. I...you...she was just...she was so young. It wasn't fair..." he choked.

Zack was shocked. Zack's opinion of his own fate improved as he stood staring at the man before him.

Zack slowly followed the road back home. The rose was still in his hand. He was deep in thought. It was twilight and the song of the crickets filled the air. Suddenly a hand grabbed his. Zack looked to find Lilia before him. He had been passing the chicken farm.

"Hello!" she said. "I went to find you, but you weren't home! I'm sorry about the confusion before."

Zack quickly recovered.

"Not at all! It was my fault completely! What can I do for you?"

Lilia smiled at him.

"Well, it's just that it seemed like you wanted to tell me something before, but didn't get the opportunity. I'm not sure what made me think so, though!" she laughed.

Zack smiled.

"I did, as a matter of fact!" He handed her the rose. "for friendship! I know how hard it must be for you without Rod here. I am so glad that you finally heard from him!"

Lilia returned the smile.

"Thank you so much! That letter was such a blessing!"

Zack watched Lilia walk back into her home. She didn't belong to him, and maybe he would never have her. However, he could see her, and he knew that she was happy.

By Zinovia H. Hatzipetros