Longer Stories

WHEELBARROWS AND WOODPECKERS

My Dear Annie,

It took about ten minutes of me staring at a blank computer screen before I started typing this email – and that’s just today. I’ve been doing the same thing every day for the last eight months. The idea of reaching out to you began thirty seconds after you left our house and closed the door on our life together. I have about a thousand thoughts and questions swirling around in my brain, much like the autumn leaves dancing in the wind in our backyard.

I got up early and made myself a cup of coffee, then sat by the kitchen window and watched the birds at the feeders. You’ll be happy to know the red-headed woodpeckers have returned, just as they always do. How I wish you would come back to me, too.

I held my coffee cup up to my nose and inhaled the rich aroma of dark roast. I’m drinking from that cup you gave me ages ago with COOL BEANS scrawled across the front. I use it every day and always think about you (not that I need a reminder) and I’ve decided that today will be the day I must summon the courage to write to you to say “I’m sorry”.

You see, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and I can’t think of a better time to tell you what’s on my mind. If I don’t do it today who knows if I ever will? I miss you, Annie. I miss you so damn much it literally hurts. My heart aches for you and my stomach churns when I realize what a first class jerk I was to let you slip through my fingers.

I don’t know what I was thinking. No, I take that back; I do know. I was thinking about myself – me, myself and I. What a stupid, selfish idiot I was. I’m sure you’d agree with that assessment. I’m equally sure there’s a spot for me in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest fool ever. How could I expect you to put your dreams and plans on hold while I pursued mine?

If I’ve come to realize anything over these last few months it’s the fact that what I want in life isn’t more important than what you want and all my achievements are not worth a damn without you. I am so sorry for not seeing that sooner.

When I finally realized how empty my life was without you and how much I yearned to be sharing and living our dreams together, you were long gone. I don’t blame you one bit; if I was you, I would have left me, too. I’m useless without you and I’m so ashamed that I put myself before you.

Do you remember that old wheelbarrow we found last year buried under weeds and ivy? It was missing its wheel and was of no use to anyone. You had the brilliant idea of transforming it into a planter instead of throwing it away. I have also lost my wheel, my direction in life and I find I can’t do anything without it, without you. I need you to help bring me back to life, to give me purpose. I need your forgiveness. I need you.

I was driven by my need for success and power more than anything else – more than putting you first, more than your deepest desire to start a family. How could I have deprived you of that? How could I have deprived us of that? How could I have been so blind not to see that was exactly what I wanted too? Well, I screwed up royally. All the success and power I ever wanted are mine now but they are hollow victories. The price was too dear – losing you and everything that was and might have been, that should have been. I wake up alone in our bed and come home to an empty house. And all day, every day, I simply exist like a wheelbarrow without a wheel.

I have no idea where you are, how you are or what you’re doing. I pray that you haven’t lost all faith in me, even though that may be what I deserve. That would surely destroy me because my love for you is stronger than ever. I wouldn’t blame you for not believing what I’m about to say but I would do anything, give up everything just to have you by my side once again. I am empty inside without you and I’m begging for a second chance. My one hope that I cling to every day is the fact that I haven’t been served with divorce papers … yet. Please tell me there’s a chance for us, a chance that you can possibly forgive me.

Thanksgiving Day. How blessedly thankful I would be to have you back, to have you tell me we’re going to be okay! How thankful I would be for the opportunity to show you how much I love you and need you in my life!

Tomorrow I am going to wake up early, pour a cup of coffee and watch the red-headed woodpeckers in our yard. Then I will attempt to prepare my very first Thanksgiving meal by myself. I bought a little turkey, all the fixings and a lovely bottle of wine … just enough for two. It would give me the greatest joy to share the day with you and every day after that, to hold you in my arms and make all the sorrow go away.

Annie, if only you could sprout wings like the red-headed woodpeckers and fly home to me! Will you come home for Thanksgiving dinner? Please come back to me and never leave.

I love you so very much.

Charlie

~     ~     ~     ~     ~      ~     ~     ~     ~

Push ‘send’ and pray Annie hasn’t changed her email address. Go to bed, thankful for a second chance.

It’s Thanksgiving morning. I’m anxious and afraid to check my email. Instead, I decide to wait just a bit and pour myself a cup of coffee. I sit looking out the window as the woodpeckers hop from branch to branch finding their way home.

Did Annie get my email?  Will she answer me? I guess I can put off the inevitable for only so long. I decide to check my computer; nothing. My heart is shattered. What a fool I was to wait so long.

The luscious aroma of roasting turkey is already beginning to fill the house. I can’t bear the thought of eating this celebratory meal alone. When the bird is done, I’ll bring it to the homeless shelter; at least someone will reap the benefits of my stupidity.

I clean up the kitchen and pour another cup of coffee. I think I’ll sit by the window and work on the crossword puzzle while the turkey slowly does its thing. I wonder what the woodpeckers are up to.

I glance out the window to check on my feathered friends. Standing by the once useless wheelbarrow, suitcase in hand, is my Annie. She gives me a sweet smile and a little wave.

I never ran outside so fast in all my life.

NAR © 2021

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