Taeba Aljabery, Grade 11
Oscar trudged effortlessly through his door, sighing after a long day of work. He was immediately hit with a gush of warmth, comforting him and welcoming him inside. He set his keys down on the sturdy old desk. He took out his wife's necklace, a silver chain adorned with a striking emerald from his inner pocket then hung up his old flannelette coat and slid off his boots that were worn, torn, coming apart at the seams. Everything about him was old except his ocean blue eyes, contrasting wonderfully against his grey eyebrows and eyelashes. His hair and goatee were as white as winter.
As Oscar padded down the hall, crouched over and leaning heavily on his cane, he looked around, memories of his wife remained scattered throughout the place. His wife smelt like freshly picked lavender on a sunny morning. It was evocative as it lingered in the house, reminding him of her presence.
Oscar was immediately struck by the memory of standing outside the kitchen, looking through at his wife prancing around in the kitchen, humming the tune of Elvis' “Can't Help Falling in Love”, their wedding song. The way her golden brown, voluminous, wavy hair used to bounce around with every step she took. She would be dressed in a flowing pastel blue and pink coloured maxi skirt with a tucked-in white blouse, stepping as lightly as an angel. He reminisced about the times he would sneak up behind and shower her with kisses and hold her. He missed it.
He hobbled over to the lounge room and came to a sudden halt. He looked around and memories of her came flooding back. He remembered her knitting a scarf on the sofa, reading a book, putting her Chanel lipstick in the shade of Rouge Coco on in the mirror. Oscar felt a twinge of pain and realised he had been gripping his wife's necklace.
He glanced at the clock and realised it was time to set the table. He advanced towards the dining room and went to open the cupboard near the table with the crockery in it. He took out a canteen of cutlery. The antique wooden table had been with him for a long time, the surface of it resembled his face, as though all the rings and lines were his well-earned wrinkles. The wooden table was a mixture of browns. He gently took out the cutlery one by one. There was a playfulness to the artistry of the crockery, of the plates and bowls that sang of happy times. The teapot had become all the more beautiful for the years of faithful service it gave. The bowls and plates had a soft-edged, wavy rim. They were decorated with a riot of delicate, unique floral patterns. He set the forks to the left and spoons to the right. He was setting her side of the table as well.
He looked up and glanced at the intricately crafted gold-rimmed mirror. He felt the pang of loss, a surge of grief as he recalled the time he surprised her with the necklace, this time last year, their anniversary. She had whipped around excitedly, lifted her hair delicately and asked him to fasten the clasp. He would never forget the way she proudly caressed the necklace. The way she looked up at him in awe and held him tightly made his heart skip a beat.
Then suddenly his thought was interrupted by the sound of a plate smashing on the ground sending shards of glass flying everywhere. At that moment, he felt as though his heart too had shattered into a million pieces.
Oscar slumped back into the chair and it groaned under his weight. He leaned forward, placed his head in his hands and sobbed. With every sob, he let out a low whimper. He cried softly “I miss you, Lucinda”. He took a deep breath and wiped away his tears. Reaching in his pocket he pulled out the necklace and stared at it. He thought about all the memories they had made together and how he would cherish them forever.
Oscar stood up and walked purposefully towards his bedroom. He reached for his bedside drawer and gently placed the necklace inside of it. He glided out the room, through the hallway and out the door. He embraced the warm wind on a starry night. Feeling blessed, the corners of his eyes crinkled as a gentle smile spread across his face, creating deep dimples in his wrinkled cheeks.