Long black hair veils grief as she rests her head next to a still warm hand. The rise and fall of her body matches the old woman’s who lies on the bed. Life moves in and out of this small dark room in the back of a 20’s bungalow. A home that has passed through the hands of many generations.
The younger woman looks up, takes the rough spotted hand, now mostly bone, into her soft manicured one. With her other hand she gently strokes the ancient one. Perhaps she can discover all the stories imprinted there. Years of hard work and endless caresses have left the old woman’s skin dry, translucent. Veins are visible, but stories are memory now and locked deep within both the silent one and the one silenced. Years are released with every breath and for a moment young and old become one. The woman lays her head down upon the still rising chest.
The silence is broken when the door is cracked open. A slant of light eases its way into the darkness and strikes strands of silver woven through black draped over the last moments. Those waiting wonder, hover, but don’t enter into the shared breath.
Darkness and darkness still. Breath then quiet, then breath again. Hands hold onto life a little longer, holding until the last breath is held forever. Breath then quiet. Then quiet, then quiet, then quiet…
©2007 Joanne Elliott