Susan did not know why she had awoken so early? It just was one of those things and she decided to take advantage of it. It was Sunday after all. The day she allowed herself to just relax and wind down from her hectic schedule. Which was even more hectic than normal because of the holidays fast approaching. Between work and family obligations she hardly had time to breath it seemed. Much less decompress. So a dawn walk along the lake parkway was just what the doctor ordered.
It was a brisk morning. The temperature hovered around the fifty-degree mark she thought but she could not be sure. She refused to look at her phone to confirm her conclusion as it was not that important to her. She already spent too much time on her phone anyway. She only brought it with her so her husband would not worry. Other than that, it was staying in her pocket.
The cool air felt invigorating against her skin as she walked the parkway. The lake was a dead calm as there was no noticeable wind to be felt. The only sounds to hear where the early birds starting their day and the occasional hoof steps of oncoming morning joggers. Which became more frequent as time slipped by. She thought any moment one would run her over as they passed her by. So when a park bench happened along her way she took the opportunity and sat down.
She crossed her legs and held the cup of coffee she brought with her with both hands to warm them. The bench itself was in a perfect position to view the lake and the playground where parents brought their children to play. It was always this way. The park had not changed a lot over the years. Everything was still in the same position as it always was. Sure the swings were not the same ones that her dad swung her on but they remained in the same place they always had been.
It had been over a year since his passing but she could not help but think of him. She missed him terribly. Her mind could not help but drift back in time. There she was a young girl seven years old swinging on the swings with her dad’s help pushing her along. She recalled the conversation like it was yesterday. She wanted to know why it was always so windy? Taking her age into account he preceded to tell her. He said that it was always so windy because it was old friends and relatives that had passed away to still be with us. It was their way of still talking to us. Which Susan speculated “like grandpa?” Yes like grandpa he replied. Susan took great comfort upon hearing this. For weeks she would openly announce to her parents that it was windy out and grandpa was talking to her.
It was only after her mother, a science teacher by trade had enough what she called this “ridiculous fairy tale” and thoroughly explained what really caused wind. Confused after this she marched right up to her father who was in the garage and demanded to know why he had told her that the wind blowing was grandpa talking to us. He picked her up and sat down on the little stool that was in the garage. The one he used to work on vehicles with and proceeded to tell her that sometimes things can have multiple explanations. Just because one thing was true it did not mean the other one wasn’t. This seemed to confuse her some so he quickly pivoted to asking her “Besides who going to believe your mom or good old fun dad?” Without hesitation, she smiled and promptly declared “Mom!” He tried to ask surprised but she was out a doubt a mama’s girl. He decided to press her for reason and did his best-shocked impression and asked her “Mom? Are you going to take her word over mine? Why?” Susan just giggled and said “ Because mom says she is much smarter than you” He could not argue that point. Her mother was indeed smarter than him. It perhaps the biggest reasons he married her. Susan then leaped down from his lap all while laughing and sprinted in the house from whence she came.
Two joggers ran on by her on the park bench jolting her back into the present. Susan collected herself and took a sip of her coffee and looked over the lake and felt sad that there was no wind this morning. So without really consciously knowing it she spoke out loud to herself and closed her eyes and said “Talk to me Dad” A moment passed and a slow gust of slow wind blew through her hair and smile appeared upon her face. She opened her eyes after and just looked out at the lake and said “ I miss you to Dad”
By: Keith Ashwood