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  • Daniel Rahayel

Waning

In a stark white room, well lit and the floor glowing with an immaculate shine, sits an old woman. She is still and quiet while peering out of a window cracked just enough behind the bars to let a gentle breeze into the room. She sits close to the window on a wooden chair which over the years has been gnarled and chipped, but it is her chair and today… today is her day. She knew the chair well; she has felt each groove on the seat of the chair where her arms now rest at her side; she has run her fingers along the cracks in the back of the chair many familiar times before sitting on this well acquainted friend; she has sat at lunch day after day mesmerized, marveling at the chair – it is her chair and she knows it well. The lines on her face, the grooves worn in by the passing years could match the wear of the beloved chair, but these she didn’t know at all. For years she refused to look in a mirror; she refuses to see what she has become. It has been so long since that day when her husband was killed in the war; there have been many weary nights since the news traveled across the Mediterranean of her parents death in a house fire only to reach her at her single-parent home in France; long days of toil have come and gone since the phone call bearing the news that her eldest boy had been lost at sea during a storm; weeks and months faded as she shelled out the rest of her strength being strong for the younger children and keeping food on the table; long forgotten years had passed from her recollection of the day she returned home to find that her youngest daughter had slit her wrists and died amidst crimson terror in the tub. Time, as it were, rippled and rolled producing only a wane of the hurt in her heart. Solitary years in this clean-white-shiny-contained sanctuary had served as an instrument to pry herself from herself. The window is a view – a view of a world so pretty, so exciting – animals play near a stream that races down at the far corner of the hospital yard behind the trees that know they are part of the wind. Not but an hour ago she was informed of her last living child passing from cancer. And as she sits (not remembering who she used to be or who she is now, not recalling what had happened to her or her family, and not considering how she got here or that she is alone) she feels the soft breeze blow in from the window behind the bars, raising her chin slightly she takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and smiles.

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