The sound of the back porch door opening woke him. Must have dozed off in his favorite chair where he sat late afternoon with tea and blueberry scones. He got up slowly, passing through the simple kitchen where the last daylight slanted sideways, making leafy patterns on the floor and walls.

His hands fumbled turning an old skeleton key in the lock, surprised with how old his hands looked, wrinkled, spotted with the darkness of age. Turning his hands palms up, they looked younger; he recalled time long past when his wife held both of his hands in hers. She traced the lines, telling him what each signified.

Not that he believed in superstitions, just in her, in the forget-me-not blueness of her eyes. Those eyes said yes to marriage. Those eyes said forever each morning.

Unlocking the door, he stepped into her sanctuary, shades of green from delicate baby's tears, sweet scented jasmine, temperamental orchids to stalwart Boston ferns. She was holding the screen door wide open, sunset silhouetted, surveying their backyard: moss-covered brick paths, overgrown herbs, yellow roses for a woman who died young, her last whispered words, "plant yellow roses for me wherever you are". Beyond the roses, fruit trees, fields splattered yellow with Black-Eyed Susan and buttercups, bittersweet vines and honeysuckle decorating broken fences.

Reddish hair, pinned up loosely in the easy way she accomplished everything, absorbed in her meadow beyond the door, as if he didn't exist. Cruel memory playing an unkind game, the door blown open by wild winds. Closing it, he bent down for her watering can as he'd done for decades since he hadn't been able to keep her alive, only her plants. He smiled, knowing those eyes were blue somewhere, perhaps looking for him.

BrevityQuest12 (297 words)

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