Short story – ‘The Statue’

Short story - 'The Statue'To say The Statue had seen many things is a bit of an understatement. She had lived many lives and witnessed both the highs and lows of life. The good times and the bad.

Standing silently atop her mossy, time-worn pedestal, The Statue looked through the thickening brush that for years upon years had increasingly turned her once proud home into a leafy tomb. Once again she found nothing to rest her weathered yet beautifully pale eyes on.

For years she had stood like this. Alone.

A wedding gift from an adoring husband to an adoring wife, The Statue had first found her home generations ago. Newlyweds they were. Fresh faced, excited and full of the eternal springs of love. Full of hope for the future.

From her pride of place is the corner of a kempt and cared for garden, The Statue had watched the newlyweds grow together. The times they laughed and played under the sun; held each other warm in the chilling autumn rain; larked in the white blankets of snow that fell each year.

Together they sang the song that they had claimed as their own. A slow number, he would softly serenade her and they gently danced to the a-cappella delights under an unjudging blanket of stars. She would smile and join in. The Statue enjoyed these moments the most.

And as the couple’s love flourished and blossomed The Statue couldn’t look away.

But she had also witnessed the arguments, the fights, the unkind words muttered when they thought no one was listening. The thunderous shouting, the slamming doors, the storming away… But timid apologies were always soon to follow, and the relieved smiles and warm kisses dispelled any lingering remnants of ill will.

The pair worked hard and grew successful. The Statue remembered the elated squeals and excitement at a significant fragment of news: the couple were expecting their first child. The whirlwind of feverish preparations and anticipations buzzed by and before long the lady had bore the couple a son. A son that was loved more than life itself.

And as life came together for the couple The Statue couldn’t look away.

Soon, in what seemed like a blink of The Statue’s ever watching eyes, the son had grown into a handsome young man, and the newlyweds were now older, mature and wise. But still no less in love. Their song was still sung as loud and proud as the day it was.

One day The Statue caught the son marching around the garden – practicing? An intriguing display. He intently poured over every day’s newspapers, out of sight of his parents, seemingly taking note of stories that even The Statue could not decipher from her mossy corner of the world. He would meet with friends and would hold hushed and hurried conversations. Then one quiet evening he slipped away with them: the hum of excitement in his ear, the words of war on his lips. The Statue never saw him again.

And as the drama was played out The Statue couldn’t look away.

How the couple wept. Both together and separately they released their torrents of worry, anger and confusion into the open air, hoping for help and answers but receiving neither in return. Life grew dark and the days felt uncertain and tense. The Statue remembered that this was how things were for a while.

Then one dark, dark night the terrible droning came again. The Statue witnessed the planes, the propellers roaring, the innumerable bangs, crunches and crashes. In a surreal moment of madness time slowed to a crawl as the house the couple had shared together for years shattered into a fireball of a billion pieces.

Among the splinters, stones and burning wreckage lay the trinkets that make up a life: The photographs; the books; the papers. The Statue stared, unblinking, unbelieving as recognisable clothes that had been blasted forth from the shattered windows lay smouldering in the night.

And as the horror unfolded The Statue couldn’t look away.

However from the wreckage the couple slowly yet miraculously emerged. But something was wrong: the lady lay limp in the man’s shaking arms. Dropping to his knees on the scorched and littered grass, The Statue witnessed him take her hand, kissing it, holding it. He touched his palm to her face and kissed her, just as The Statue had witnessed on so many occasions before. Yet for the first time no breathtaking smile met his tear filled eyes.

She just lay calm and still. As still as The Statue herself. He held his love’s body tightly against his own, tears falling heavy down his cut and blackened face. He pleaded to her. He screamed to the Gods. He softly, desperately, whispered their song in her ear. But their eyes never met. She never joined in.

To be a statue was a living torment: Now more than ever she wished she could each out, to comfort, to hold, to even just offer words of kindness to the broken man. But in her beautifully posed prison she felt helpless.

Smoke rose and rain fell, and as the man released an unbridled and chilling scream of grief as the soul of his one and only true love was ripped away from him…The Statue couldn’t look away.

 

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