James could sense it right away. Something was
The lake was the same. Cold ripples danced along
the water, just like they did at his time of year. The
familiar sounds of the city were still there, no nearer,
no farther, distant, just on the threshold of hearing. A
wind from the northwest stirred up the few early
Low on the horizon, the morning sun cast long
shadows through the ever patient ranks of headstones
as they followed the contours of the gentle slope.
This time, there was something different, he could
see something in her eyes.
Angel spoke first,"I was thinking, how many times
has it been? How often have we been out here, where
no one knows what we do?"
"Lots of times, said James. "Don't know how many.
Not too many."
Angel looked away.
"Problem?" said James.
"It's my father," said Angel. "He's said it often
enough but now he really means it. He says you're
too old for me."
James knew this was a time to stay cool, to reason.
"We started school together. No complaints then. Or
when we went ice skating. Or .... "
She interrupted, "but look at you now, you've aged."
"Not fair," he said.
"It is so fair. You'll be 40 next year and with no
Angel listened for a while as James struggled to hold
onto his first love, the dream girl of his long-gone
youth. After a while they just stopped, there was
nothing more to say. They knew.
It was time to go.
The path took them beside Angel's family plot.
James knew to leave. He walked on slowly without
She looked all around to make sure no one was
watching, then looked around again. When she was
sure she had the moment all to herself, she lay down
slowly and carefully stretching herself out full length
on the plot. The sun caught these words on the
marker ... and daughter Angel, aged 17, asleep in the
arms of the Lord, perchance to dream.
The sun passed through her as she faded away.
Forever Young was published by
Fiction365 as the featured story on
19 June 2012.