It was his last autumn. The one he never dreamed would come.
He stood at the top of a rise with a dirt-colored road that seemed to wind through the most beautiful colors he had ever seen, with early morning sun slowly changing the details.
A wonderful barrage of reds, yellows, oranges, hung in front of him since there was no wind just then. Just moments ago, a slight breeze had moved through the area making the most wonderful tinkling of sounds just above silence.
In a Cottonwood tree to his right chattered a fat red squirrel at the small white and brown dog near his heels. The dog was hers. The dog seemed to understand the loss, and had never left him since, yet remained quiet and aloof from him. Both of them ignored the squirrel.
In the band of sycamore trees on his left, were hordes of blackbirds flying from branch to branch making such a racket he could not think. (Bad Omen?)
He had had his last love.
He had had his last great regret.
Long gone was his hope for a future that could never be.
This slide of hopelessness began on a cold clear night where he had seen his breath.
He had just buried his wife that day in the dirt, and it was not sitting well with him at all. So, he had silently left the house to stare up at the stars, wondering where God was in all of this.
Gone finally, were the family and friends that wanted to say Goodbye to her.
Earlier he had hated hearing well-wishers saying, “She is in a better place.”
True, they all wanted to make him feel better, but the best they could do for him was to shake his hand, or hug him, or just say his name. Then, move on. But, they couldn’t help, they felt forced to say something.
Speaking platitudes was so fake in his world right now. His memory of Sara was too dimpled and scarred to mean anything to any of them.
So, he stood, barely breathing, while the multitude swayed towards and behind him. He certainly did not want their pity and their soft murmuring overwhelmed him.
He and Sara came from two different emotional levels.
Her “truth” was everyone and everything was deserving of charity and love.
His “facts” were some things wanted to destroy you, so they were not deserving. Sheep are just a side dish for Wolves and Wolves were everywhere in every walk of life.
Still, they made a life together, sometimes sharing, sometimes not dependent upon one truth or fact. Rarely did they agree, but still were together, and had had five children, all mature, some with children of their own.
Now, standing at the winding road adorned with God’s colors, he made himself a vow.
He would die soon, but he would make a book of sorts with his memories of their life.
His children might get something out of it, but truly, the memories were his and hers, and he had to write them to make her alive, just for a bit more.
The Wolf inside him was eating faster and faster, the pain seemed to grow upwards every day. At some point, he was afraid he would not be able to write their memories, their life. He did hope when he passed, he could walk this road between the trees to what lay beyond.
He had never achieved stardom, or some athletic award neither was he the scholar his mother hoped he would be.
But, even as a simple man, he had had a life, and Sara made him a rich man in awards.
So be it. Let the facts and truth of his life be known.
He was never a sheep.
He vowed to write it down as much as he could until the Wolf finally won.