If we could relive one day
|When does one feel the most vulnerable? When we’re alone.
I can’t fault the day. I sit here in this chair staring out the window at a small garden surrounded by three other walls of the care center I’ve been relegated to.
I have my own room, there are things here I once enjoyed in another setting. Now they have been chosen by others to decorate this space.
It looks very nice to the would-be visitor, but all I see are the nurses and attendants that enter and leave at regular intervals.
Most of the things are replicas as my family has removed and probably sold anything I had of value. Like this hour glass. It was the one thing I requested to come with me.
They had no idea what they missed. Here on the bottom is the key. Once turned, life is altered. Sand flows down in its normal gravity release. It is here where time can change. Here is when I get to relive my memories.
I reach out to turn the hourglass with its wide stand at each end, upside down. Fingers touch the indent and press to change the flow. Now the sand granules cease their downward movement and begin to follow upward, grain after grain. One hour to relive the past memory of my choice.
Where will I go today?I close my eyes and I'm standing on the wide verandah overlooking manicured lawns and landscaped gardens. The sound of a child’s laughter causes me to look toward the end of the verandah. Lisbeth is running to me. Her arms open and I catch her up into the air and swing her around like an aeroplane propeller.
Her shouts of delight cause me to laugh out loud. I love this little girl, though she isn’t my own.
“Emma, how has our girl been today? Did she do her lessons right?” I fold my arms and give Lisbeth a look. She’s hopping up and down before me.
“I did all my lessons and Emma says I did a good job. Can we go for a buggy ride?” Now she hopped from one foot to the other, her long sausage curls bouncing around her head.
“Yes, Sir. She made her sums correct and we began a special project for someone’s special day.” Emma winked at Lisbeth who tried to return it.
Her scrunched up face made my smile even bigger. “Then a ride it is. Miss Emma will you join us and keep this little one in check while I hold the reins?”
Emma gives a curtsy, “I’d be glad to come, Sir.”
I take Lisbeth’s left hand and Emma holding her right. At the front of the mansion, the buggy and horse are waiting, a servant hands me the reins then helps the two women into the seat behind me.
“Hang on, we’re off.” The horse, ready for a run has to be held back, but out on the flat road, I let her run a little.
Lisbeth squealed and hangs on to my coat, bouncing a little on the tufted upholstery. Emma holds on to her hair with one hand the rail on the seat with the other. I glanced again and she is smiling, her head lifted to the rush of air.
She's a beautiful woman, and smart. Only a brief thought of impropriety flit through my mind. She’s beneath you. I could hear my mother’s voice. ‘But you’re not here anymore Mother. I can do as I please.’ I'm going to enjoy this time together.
We take the long road around my property and stop by some of the tenants homes. I see they work the land with care. They came to the buggy and bowed to the ladies. Some of the women offered treats to them and Emma graciously took what was offered and stowed it in the small compartment at her feet. We are off.
“Give Gracie her head, I want to feel the wind!” Lisbeth orders.
I look at Emma, who waves her hand in resignation and returns it to her hair which was now covered with a scarf provided by one of the tenant’s wives.
I gave the reins a little shake and Gracie takes off trotting and then to a gallop.
The trees and bushes on each side of the lane provide some cover from the sun. The wind in our faces and the dirt stuck to our skin. No one cares.
Then Gracie jumped a little. I saw a rabbit scoot out from between her legs, I heard her whinny and then she took off running. No amount of pulling on the reins would stop her. She would have none of it.
“Hold on ladies. We are going for a ride!” I try to keep my tone even and not show my fear.
I barely stayed seated as the terrified horse cut the curves in the road and the buggy rocks on its wheels. The trees give way to a field and Gracie turns to head off the road and into the field. The buggy couldn't stay on its wheels and I felt it tip too far. “Jump! And roll.” I’d taught Lisbeth about falling correctly but never at this speed.
There was a crash and I felt myself falling and rolling. The buggy hit me. I felt the wheel hit my head. That’s all I remember, until I woke up in my own bed.
I feel pain when I touch the wound.
The scene fades and I open my eyes to see the last grains of sand lift into the upper globe. I wipe the streaks of tears from my cheeks. I lost more than blood and a few hours of time. I lost the love of my life, Lisbeth and the possible love when Emma died. My memories are beautiful and sometimes sad, but this hour glass allows me to relive them when its all I have.