Two Becomes One #shortfiction

They stopped the wheelchair to let him look along his arbour one last time, whispering in foggy ears for him to stir. He didn’t move and they turned, saddened at his incomprehension, but letting him have a private moment.
He smiled as they left. His eyes may be hollow but the westerly breeze let him feel the shape of the arching boughs as it touched his face; the warming sun coloured in the dappling leaves and the mummeration of the insects stirred the blossom into as clear a picture as from any camera.
He looked back down the long years, back to his sap filled adolescence when the land was brown and the living hard. He had planted his cuttings with the tenderness of a lover, intent on sowing his own legacy. He nurtured the thin twigs through cruel seasons – sharp winters and harsh unforgiving summers – youthful confidence overcoming the setbacks and slights to his dreams.
He marched with others at a siren’s call to far places where he learned of courage and friendship and inexplicable death. When he returned his hopes lay cracked and neglected, corrupted by indifference and constant dread.
For a time he despaired; as with his dream, he withered, gnarling and twisting away from the light, unhealthy disease seeking an insidious hold in those dank drear places.
They came, with money and typed paper and saws, offering a refuge from toil and a strong wall to hide his hopes. He prepared to go; it was all too much but an unexpected word came to him, floating on a strong westerly. ‘Wait,’ she said. ‘I will never leave.’
He trusted that promise, through tender, sweet-sweat-softened nights. Like water to a wilted palm, at her touch he unfurled and grew tall. The charlatans and destroyers went, churlish and angry.
Renewed, he bent again to his scheme but now he was two; another bending too, mimicking his swift fingers training, pruning, cropping, feeding, loving.
The twists and gnarls were too deep-set to change and risk a fracture, so they worked with Nature’ contortions. As time passed they all grew, slowly at first, but ever constant in their intent until their fingers interlaced and became one, dancing with and twining into and around the other; each might have come from a different root stock but each was now reliant on the other for support and shade and health.
Slower now, the work more delicate, intricate, shaping, shaving, giving form to dreams until the glorious arbour of their love was complete.
Sightless, and bereft, he wondered if his trust had been betrayed in that last cruel frost-sharpened winter. But he kept a small private faith and returned to their arbour, seeking a sign of a promise fulfilled.

And there she was, today, waiting at the far end, leaning on a stick, curled towards the opposite side, waiting for the space to be filled. For the first time in the years he stood to fill that space, his place opposite hers, bending forward, offering support.  As their lips met one last time, melting, melding, becoming one, becoming part of the glory he released his tenuous hold. ‘I promised,’ she said.
When the carers returned, the wheelchair lay on its side. Their initial apprehension slipped to smiles as they looked upon the arbour and recognised the truth, just out of sight, on the edge of the shadows, a new bough had taken root and linked with its opposite. At long last complete, two had become one.

A little story from three years ago which will join others in a new anthology this year.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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28 Responses to Two Becomes One #shortfiction

  1. Ritu says:

    This is so beautiful, His Geoffleship 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  2. V.M.Sang says:

    That is beautiful. I’ve no other words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG Geoff. This has me tearing up It’s beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LucciaGray says:

    Lovely, Geoff. As sad as old age, but with a hopeful twist at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is a lyrical beauty in this one, Geoff

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    I remember this Geoff, still as lovely💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Darlene says:

    Such a lovely story.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. noelleg44 says:

    How absolutely lovely and loving, Geoff!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. arlingwoman says:

    The language in this runs like a brook. It’s sad and mythic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. davidprosser says:

    Twisting and beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Chel Owens says:

    Oh, Geoff. Beautiful. Three years ago, eh? And you said you couldn’t write poetry…

    Liked by 1 person

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