Finally Unbroken(10)

By: Maria Macdonald

Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? Maybe I should just leave this photo? But If I’m going to sell this place, then I don’t want someone to come along and throw it in the trash. Just one photo, another one to remember her. That makes my total now three. All kept filed away. The memories, though, they assault me more often than I would like. I place the picture frame on the counter and grab the bin. Walking to the back door, I’m sure I hear footsteps. Swinging the door open I look out, up and down the alley, but no one’s there. Placing the bin outside the back door, I close my eyes and will myself to go back inside. To bare my heart again. I’ve come to realize that being in there opens up all the old wounds afresh. I enter and go straight to the serving counter at the front of house this time. I spy a radio and flick it on. It doesn’t come to life so I pick it up, turning it over, and realize there are no batteries. Of course, there wouldn’t be. I head out the back again, this time determined to do something useful, something to soothe me today.

Locking the door, I jump in the car and drive the three minutes toward what used to be Jim’s hardware store. Surprisingly, it’s still there. Not surprisingly, there’s nobody working there that I know. I grab the batteries and get in the car heading back to the shop. Stopping at a red light, I think about how this town hasn’t changed much. A fleck of light bouncing off something catches my eye, looking at it I see the back of a woman. She has a slender figure and blond hair. She glides as she walks, although by her movements it’s pretty obvious that she doesn’t realize this, as she’s almost trying to hide, attempting to make herself insignificant. She fiddles with her fingers in an endearing way, and when she reaches the end of the street she stops under a ray of light. She must feel the warmth from the sun as she holds her hands out to her sides and raises her chin toward it. In that moment, I just wish I could see the bliss that I know is probably on her face as the warm rays caress her. I wonder when we all stopped enjoying such basic things, something as amazing as the sun on our faces. Suddenly, I’m rudely honked at by the horn of the car behind me. “All right,” I mutter turning around to glare at the other driver who shrinks back into his seat. Heading back into the shop, this time I stride in going straight for the radio, placing the batteries in and wondering why I’m not just emptying the place and leaving. Switching it on and bringing life back into it, I get my reward when Nickelback - Far Away comes on the local station. I move to sit in my old booth which always faced the counter so I could watch her. Closing my eyes and listening to the words, I remember a time before my heart was ripped from my chest.

The loud beeping of the car horn jolts me out of my moment. I’ve learnt in this life, to try and take every small blessing that’s showered on you, however irrelevant you may think it is. I feel the warmth of the sun, it’s like someone is trying to tell me that everything will be okay. But I’ve been known for my unwavering hope before, and I’ve crashed and burned because of it. Even so, I can’t stop smiling, knowing that Amanda is coming home, coming back to me. I just don’t know why. It’s been ten years and as much as I love her, she’s never come home before. I’ve never had the money to visit her. I got a passport once. I thought I’d try and save. Eight years later and I still have no money in that pot. She was struggling for a while to manage her bills correctly. Her pop helped out, but she’s stubborn and wanted to manage on her own. It’s expensive to fly back here. She couldn’t afford it. But more, I don’t think she’s ever wanted to come back here.

The whole place reminds her of her mom—her loss. So I wonder why now? She always told me when she had the money she would pay for me to go to her, rather than coming back here. I shake my head at the errant thoughts and am about to continue my journey home when I suddenly decide that it’s about time I got batteries. If there’s a new owner and they’re going to sell the shop—the only real home I have—then I want to make the most of the limited time I have left. I buy the batteries and walk back out of Jim’s Hardware Store with a smile on my face and warmth in my chest. Even the thought of telling Keith doesn’t upset me today. Nothing can rain on my parade.

I didn’t think I would feel this happy again. Can you imagine? Resigned to the fact that I was going to spend the rest of my life miserable. Then the moment a ray of light shines on me and I feel that long since lost emotion, I suddenly find myself wondering how I’d ever lived without it. Even Keith can’t turn my mood sour right now.

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