Theme #43: Wind

Ominous black clouds blocked the light of the sun like a curtain being drawn across a window. Along with the darkness came a pervading chill that left a shimmering layer of frost on the ground. A gust of wind shook the remaining leaves loose from the trees in a flurry of red and orange.

Riza shivered involuntarily and wrapped her arms around her body in a futile attempt to ward off the cold. Despite the inclement weather she couldn't bring herself to leave her father's grave. She wasn't ready to leave him yet because to do so would mean admitting that he was gone. Loneliness was something she became accustomed to over the years, but now it hurt so much more than it ever did before. The pain of her father's passing was like a lead weight upon her heart. It was often said that time had the power to heal all wounds, but how long would it take for this one to mend?

The howling wind masked the choked sob that escaped her lips. She hadn't expected to miss him so much. He became distant years ago and threw himself into his work with such a frenzy and single-mindedness that he sometimes frightened her. The broken heart caused by her mother's death changed him into someone she no longer recognized. Nevertheless she continued to love him. Even though it was selfish she couldn't help but wonder if he thought of her in his final moments, if he felt guilty for leaving her with such a heavy burden on her shoulders.

She clenched her eyes shut to prevent the tears that welled up in them from spilling. The maelstrom of emotions swirling inside her threatened to break through the dam that held them in place. Her facade of strength was cracking, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. A small part of her wondered if that was really such an awful thing.

Riza opened her eyes and blinked several times to clear her vision. The few tears that escaped created a meandering path over the contours of her face. They felt warm and strangely soothing against her skin, just like the flames her father used to make in the fireplace. The memory of cuddling with him in front the hearth on cold winter nights brought a wistful smile to her face.

She felt Roy's gaze upon her and was reminded that she wasn't alone in her suffering. When his fingers brushed against hers she gently twined them together. She didn't know him very well, but she had grown to depend on him over the course of the past few days. He was like a source of strength that helped keep her going, and for that she was immeasurably grateful.

They silently stood hand-in-hand in front of the grave until the light of the moon pierced through the blackness. She took a steadying breath, he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, and together they departed. The graveyard vanished behind them in a veil of fog and shadow.

A whispered "goodbye" was carried away on a current of wind.

AN: I've been trying to make my writing more descriptive without being too purple prose-ish. I hope I managed to accomplish that. Please let me know your thoughts on this chapter. Thanks!