Elizabeth was not sure when she began to notice it, but she did, it being a desire to let go. Subtle at first, the thoughts slipped in and through, silent and a bit foreboding; they disappeared in an instant though, too sudden to grasp, too evasive to fully comprehend. She recognized the potential weight of bearing each, transitory cognition, but was powerless to do anything about the virtual presence of the fleeting reminders that this or that had been important not so long ago. And now, were they not? The new intrusion of it in her life annoyed Elizabeth and yet, she was equally intrigued.
Why was it surfacing now? What had changed? Of course, she had. The years behind her had begun pulling at her sensibilities, gnawing into the susceptibilities that had made her cling to what, in the past, she had deemed worthy of her desire, vital to her existence, and at the very least, fundamental to her needs.
Elizabeth had entered the decade of her eighties only months before. She was healthy, well, content, and not alone. Her husband, Jonathan, was still around, puttering here and there, seeking a purpose. She too, made do, with simple chores, her embroidery, her books. Ah, what would she do without her books? Why, that was basically all she needed now - the volumes that took her away, that made her think, reflect, react, and still ask an occasional why.
She had wandered onto the veranda, a tall, tumbler of lemonade in one hand and a tattered copy of Marquez’s Love In The Time Of Cholera in the other. How many times had she read that gem? And each time the reading was new, delicious.
She settled back into a cushioned, rattan, wing-backed chair and stared for a moment at the teal water of Jonathan’s handcrafted pond. Below, in the shallows, the lazy movement of koi combined with a slight breeze to create an undulating motion on the surface that shimmered with shards of reflected sunlight. In the distance a grey squirrel, its jaws packed full, darted across the branch of an ancient oak, and somewhere nearby a tiny, hummingbird jetted overhead, chirping its eternal message - be present; enjoy. And instantly there it was again - the longing to be free.
Elizabeth held her breath and then let go . . . and she knew. Importance was this. Value was this. Living was this. She sighed. Why has it taken until the autumn of my life for me to understand? Why? She was filled with emotion - a disparate mix of sadness, satisfaction, angst, and joy, and for the first time ever, she told herself the truth. This is enough. This is enough. I need nothing more.
I wrote this piece on a whim. I created a character, Elizabeth, to help sort out a few things I’ve been considering myself.