Just give me a few minutes,' Ellen replied as she went into the bedroom. Picking up her hairbrush, she ran it through her unruly grey locks. She still wished she had nice manageable hair. Bill didn’t seem to mind that she kept her hair short making it more controllable.
With her hair looking slightly tamed and ensuring the back door was locked; she waited inside the front door saying ‘I’m ready.’
Bill slowly and stiffly got out of the armchair and approached his wife. Ellen opened the door and stepped outside, holding the door open for Bill.
They walked companionably along the footpath, commenting on such things as the empty drink cans and bottles that were discarded by uncaring people, or the fronds that had been blown off the palm trees by the blustery wind the previous night.
When they reached the park, they stopped by the edge of the lake watching the waterfowl. Ellen would always notice if any of the ducks with unusual markings was missing. They would both be concerned, especially in the duck-hunting season. They knew culling was necessary, but it wasn’t fair to the ducks. Surely they had a right to life too.
As they walked past the tennis courts, they watched energetic young people playing, running this way and that, in an effort to hit the ball back over the net. In their youth they had played tennis with friends and neighbours, now they were all parted by distance and death
Walking along the park pathway by the water, meeting people, smiling, nodding and greeting strangers was part of the enjoyment of the day as was ‘having a go’ on the exercise equipment. They would count their movements on each apparatus and were pleasantly pleased if they reached the goals they set.
Further on they sat on a bench seat to absorb the serenity of the park and have a little rest before continuing on their way.
Bill sometimes picked a rose for Ellen. This was not allowed in the park, but Bill loved to see Ellen’s delight when he gave her the beautiful flower.
On returning home one or other said ‘I’ll put the kettle on for a cup of tea.’
Today Bill said ‘Are you coming for a walk,’ before realising Ellen was no longer there. He rose stiffly from the armchair, opened the front door, and sadly walked to the park.
It was a sunny winter's day by the lake but only a few people were out walking. Those who were in the park stayed well away from each other. The unused tennis courts looked forlorn. The exercise area was quiet and empty. Striped red and white tape surrounded the equipment with an official sign saying ‘Closed.’
Even sitting on the park bench was out of bounds. Bill picked a pretty pink rose for Ellen, but he could not go to the cemetery to place it on her grave. That was ‘unessential travel’. Life had changed and all because of Corona Virus.֎
This story was written and shared as part of the Creative Writing group program during the Covid-19 break.
Thank you for agreeing to share it in the newsletter and on the website, Elizabeth.