General Fiction posted May 18, 2017

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A story with alternative endings.

The Goodbye

by frogbook

Catherine barely saw the brightly colored flowers as she trudged up the rocky path. In years past she would have relished the warm sun against the back of her neck, and the breeze coaxing the tiny hairs there, to escape from her upswept coif.

There was no crying. There were no tears left. They had all been shed onto the living room floor where she had received the news, and on her pillow, where her head had lain these many days.

She reached her destination. She sat in contemplation of life and all its mysteries; happiness and sadness, lives found and then lost again. She had loved William in their high school days, but when college came, he left her for his education. He married, but she never did. Her heart was for him alone. After these many years, he, too realized there was no one else.

His wife had left him. His inattention had been obvious. He felt bad, but soon after the wedding, he had begun to feel an emptiness. He found himself thinking of his first love, his true love. The realization struck him. How stupid he had been.

When the old loves, had a chance meeting, it seemed fate had done its job. He readily came back to her, there was no apology needed. They were married in a small, but beautiful ceremony. There had never been such happiness, she was sure of it. She only wished her mother had been alive to see. How many nights she had cried there on her mom's shoulder. Mom would be ecstatic, they were finally together.

Her father walked her down the aisle. He passed away a year later, peaceful, knowing his daughter's happiness. Her sister was the matron of honor and teased her about finally, not being an old maid.

They inherited her parents' beautiful home. Catherine was overjoyed to stay. Her sister had a lovely place of her own and was very happy to have her sister and best friend near.

Now, the past repeated, Catherine was on her own. A cruel accident had taken him from her again. "Why me?" she spoke angrily, face upward.

Ending #1:

She walked slowly to the edge of the rocky cliff and looked down into the choppy waves of the sea. She saw his face there on the shining water. In a slow ballet, she stepped off the edge of the rocks, tumbling, almost gracefully to the churning water below. It was the first time she had smiled since he died. The angry ocean waters consumed her body.

Ending #2

She walked slowly to the edge of the rocky cliff and looked down into the choppy waves of the sea. She saw his face there in the shining water. He spoke to her through the apparition.

"Darling, I will always be with you. You must remember this."

She turned from the spot she knew so well. She had come here, since she was a child to contemplate life. She knew now, she could go on. She had waited these many years. The practice would serve her well, until she could see him again one day. There was a lightness to her steps as she followed the path down the slope. She walked to the grave at the base of the cliff, under a sprawling tree, lay a rose near the stone, and walked into life, once again.

She felt the new life stir, within her belly, a part of them both.

Ending # 3

She walked slowly to the edge of the rocky cliff and considered the choppy waves of the sea. It wasn't a high cliff, more of an outcropping really. There was a small tide pool. She saw his face there in the shiny water. It seemed so real. Then she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned slowly, heart racing.

"My love, are you a ghost?"

He chuckled, "No, darling, it was all a terrible mistake. I told you, I would never leave you again."

As they embraced, she relished the warm sun, and felt the breeze on the back of her neck teasing the soft hair there. She felt everything again and this time the tears that sprang to her eyes were those of joy.


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