Geoffrey sat in his battered leather armchair, gazing into the embers that were glowing in the grate. The room was warm and the hour was late, but sleep eluded him. The grandfather clock in the corner ticked loudly and shadows danced eerily on the walls, cast by the flickering light of the dying fire. The clock on the mantle chimed midnight, but Geoffrey barely noticed.
In his hand he nursed a glass of scotch, the ice long since melted. The weight of the crystal tumbler felt reassuring to him, as though the sturdiness of the object somehow conveyed some sense of great strength and longevity. He knew that alcohol was not the answer, but tonight it somehow seemed the right thing to do.
Geoffrey stared into the fireplace, lost in thought. It was 10 years to the day since she had passed. 10 long, lonely years. He missed her every single day. He missed her vitality; her sense of humor; the way she used to make him feel when she walked into the room. He missed the scent of her hair and the way her eyes danced when she smiled. He closed his eyes. They’d been married 30 years when the cancer took her, but despite their preparations he simply was not ready when it happened. Of course he’d been strong for her as the end approached, but the strength he’d shown for her had left him drained and withdrawn. He was a lost soul without her and he had never, ever come to terms with his loss. They say that time is a great healer but tonight, on this most painful of anniversaries, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Geoffrey looked into the embers. It occurred to him that his life with Grace had been much like the fire that now held his gaze. In the beginning, there had been a spark – a source of ignition that brought him to life. As the fire developed, so their shared passion and love for life burned bright. They ceased to be two people, but one entity, so entwined in each others existence that they became inseparable. As time went on, the arrival of their children brought light, warmth and happiness into their lives. But time is a hard mistress. The children grew and left the nest. Her sickness arrived and quashed the brightness of the fire, but its heat was yet to die.
He sat alone watching the embers. He wondered how long before his own fire would be extinguished. How long he had left without her. He missed his wife. How he longed for the flames of the past…
Daily Prompt, 16th November 2016