Better late than never I suppose. This was yesterday’s Daily Prompt. I chose my five nouns:
tombstone, camper van, wedding, river, thunderstorm
and got to work. Unfortunately, I am at work, so writing has to fit into and around what they pay me for which is why my post is late. In any case, here’s my response to the prompt. I hope you enjoy it.
The wedding was beautiful – I know that’s what people say about every wedding ever but it really was. Rays of sun slanted over the river, dust motes dancing lightly. Here and there puffy clouds marched across the perfect blue sky. No one could have asked for a more picturesque day.
The altar had been staged before the river with rows of chairs facing it on either side of the aisle. My 3-year old niece Darla toddled up the aisle, too busy grinning at everyone to toss flower petals. The bridesmaids, each in a different shade of spring, followed Darla more sedately; but they too were beaming, and my groom awaited me, a serious expression on his face. Until he saw me that is; then it was as though the sun shone on him and him alone. Glowing back, I practically skipped up the aisle to meet him.
Hours later, we collapsed and slept like the dead – there’d be time to consummate later.
Early the next morning we packed the camper van for the honeymoon. We’d planned a leisurely trip which would include stopping when and where we chose. There was no real destination, just the yen to be away, be alone and be renewed after all the wedding preparations. Family saw us off and Gran tucked an envelope into my pocket as she hugged me.
“Have a wonderful time Olivia,” she murmured close to my ear. The scent of honeysuckle floated lightly around her and I inhaled deeply, squeezing her back.
“Thank you for everything,” I told her. “We’ll bring back lots of photos.”
We climbed into the van, fastened seat belts and waving at our entourage, pulled away from the curb, the adventure begun.
Three states away we pulled in to the cemetery Gran had identified on the card she’d given me. We stopped at the small building inside the gates and got out to stretch. This last leg of the journey had been longer than the others. But Kyle had insisted we make the trek and find the grave.
“It’s your birth mother,” he pointed out reasonably. “Who knows when we’ll have another opportunity to travel out there?”
This is a perfect example of why I fell in love with him.
After obtaining a map of the cemetery from the office and chatting with the lovely woman there, we wandered among the tombstones, commenting on a particular name or design. Several minutes later we found my mother’s grave. Her stone was smaller than the others near her. The pale gray marble was veined with a deeper gray and pink. A typical stone, it included her full name, the dates of her birth and death, but it also included a very personal message:
Mother of Olivia May, much desired, much loved daughter.
I so wish I could be with you now.
Unsurprisingly, tears stung my eyes. Kyle slipped an arm around my shoulders but didn’t speak.
I’m not sure how long we stood there; it could have been minutes or hours as far as I knew. Absorbing the knowledge that my real mother had wanted me, loved me, I was oblivious to the time passing. Time could very well have stopped and I probably wouldn’t have noticed.
It wasn’t as though I’d had a horrible childhood; my adopted parents had been wonderful. But they’d never hidden that I was adopted and there had always been questions in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to hurt them by discussing it so I confided in Gran. Sweet Gran had taken it to heart and here I was, seeing my mother’s love for me written in stone.
I swiped away the remains of my tears and snuggled into Kyle’s arms, sighing.
“I love my Gran,” I murmured, eyes still on the stone.
“Me too,” Kyle replied, tightening his arms briefly. “She gave you the perfect gift.”
After taking a few photos of the stone, we started back to the van. Clouds had been gathering overhead for some time, thick and black. Spatters of rain fell just as we slipped inside the van. Kyle started the engine and as he backed out the torrent began in earnest. Even with the wipers at full speed, visibility was very limited. The plan had been to backtrack to the campground we’d passed earlier in the day but it was several hours away. Neither of us was eager to travel for long in these conditions so we agreed to find a motel. While Kyle kept his eyes on the road, I did a search on my phone for the nearest lodging.
Following the longest 20 minutes of my life, we found a Quality Inn and got off the highway. A few minutes later we’d registered, received our card keys and cocooned ourselves in the room. Across the parking lot was a small café so we wouldn’t have to go far to grab a bite to eat, but that could wait. We opened the drapes and pulled the chair over to the window. Kyle sat and held me on his lap while we watched the thunderstorm. Somehow it seemed a fitting end to the emotional day.