A chill when through the woman in her chair, though her eyes were closed heavy in concentration. The man’s heated breath grew cool. His eyes blazed with anger and his breath warmed again. It cooled, then heated with his anger, and back and forth they went; the woman in her chair and the man at her door. Morning turned to noon and noon to afternoon.
The woman’s breath grew heavy, then fast, and she faltered. One more blow and the screen dissolved. She was so tired, so very tired. The woman blinked, and looked beyond the windows to the houses on her street. She thought of the distracted man of great influence, of the young mother and her baby, and of the rudderless young man. And she shook her head. She might be frail, but she refused to be weak.
Five more minutes and the screen’s wires reconnected, and the angry man she alone could see evaporated in a puff of coal black smoke to wait for another day. She let out a long breath. The expression on her lips was full of years of trials and triumphs, of heartache and hope.
She shuffled over to the window and looked out. Sure enough, there he was, the man with his collar up and his head down examining his phone. The old woman tilted her head and looked up at the sky. A twig on the walk cracked under his shoe and the sound diverted the man’s attention. Looking up, he noticed the cardinal across the street. A memory lit his face and he crossed the street just as the young man walked out of his door to go once again to the night job that made money and nothing more. Hellos were exchanged, then tentative conversation turned the corner as the two men sat on the young man’s steps and imagined a future day.
And the old woman gripped her walker and headed to the kitchen to make herself a victory supper of soup and toast and tea. Peppermint might be nice.
Image: Acer_tataricum_twig wikimedia commons