I was sitting in my back garden. Twice this week I had promised to cut the grass, but my mind was away with the fairies. Wishing I were young again, back on dad’s old farm.
Being midsummer, I wasn’t expecting a freak wind to be pulling at my clothes, tugging at my mind and urging me to find something new. As usual, I sat there and did nothing, telling myself I was too old for new adventures.
How many times had I said no to friends when they asked me to join them on some weekend trip? Even after all this time, I wondered what I might have missed.
Rising from my favourite deck chair, I dragged the mower out of the shed and started to cut the grass, knowing Jack would be pleased when he came home from his weekend away. Later that night, I put on the old wrap my mother had knitted, took a glass of wine and went out to the garden. I sat waiting for the sky to darken.
I watched as the new moon made an appearance, then the first star. The darker it became, the more stars I could see. I was picking out some of the constellations that I knew when I noticed a shooting star. I had forgotten that tonight was the time to see the Perseid meteor shower.
I lay there letting these falling stars take me on an adventure, places my physical body would never let me go. That night I travelled to exotic lands that my feet would never touch. Later, lying alone in our bed, I decided I was not too old to visit new places. Rome, the pyramids, even the Taj Mahal was on my list. I fell asleep thinking how surprised Jack would be when I told him. He had asked me so many times to go somewhere nice, that it would make a change from walking away on his own twice a month.
Jack never made it home that weekend. Someone hit his car, sending it off the road. All the things I wanted to tell him stuck like a knife in my heart. I had left it too late.
A year later I booked my first trip away to Rome, the first place Jack had wanted to take me. It was everything he said it would be and more, and as I felt his hand in mine, the knife in my heart fell away…
Anita Dawes 2018