Emma brought her coffee to the livingroom, turned on the old stereo and carefully placed the needle down on the LP. Her heart rose with the violins as the music began to play. The Autumn leaves...
She drifted to the window and looked out at the old sycamore, bent and reaching toward the sky in all directions, crowned with gold, amber, crimson, russet and topaz. A gust of wind came up, rattled the window and danced the fallen leaves across the lawn. The music continued to play and rose the flesh on Emma’s arms. And it took her back to him and them and all their many years. David’s eyes were blue and bright in the sun that he loved, his black hair shone like an obsidian miracle always wore an impish smile that teased out of tanned face. Happy to pull at weeds and coax the lawn to grow, which never did no matter how many tools or potions he took to it.
Emma put her hand to the window, as though David’s was there on the other side, touching back. Reassuring her that he was there and all was well. And the ghost of him smiled for an instant before the wind rose up again and shimmied the sycamore into involuntary trembles.
The music ended and Emma went again and placed the needle carefully down to bring back the music and loosen the squeeze in her chest. David held her in his arms and they danced in the dark, the music leading them, love guiding them. And he tugged at her hair and smacked her behind and they laughed. They argued politics and secretly read each other’s books. When Katie came along it made them a family, bonding them in ways they could never fathom before her entrance into their lives.
“Don’t give your child beer, you mad man!” Emma chided.
David shrugged. “A little taste won’t hurt her.”
The little house on Manhattan Street with the blue shutters and screen door that never closed properly no matter how many times David wielded his toolbelt. The old oak table they found at the side of the road and worked weeks sanding it, smoothing it, rubbing oil into it. This house they were so proud to buy, to nurture to fix up with paint and nails, new windows and rosebushes.
Every moment they spent, every adventure, every tear, every joy they had, stood with her at the window and watched the Autumn leaves swirl as the music played.