The Way
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The wind blew softly through the descending night, causing the gauzy curtains grown gray with age to billow. The woman sat in her rocking chair, her arthritic fingers working hard to knit this final sweater. Her eyes darted about, as though expecting to see something or someone. Her husband hobbled into the room supporting his frail weight on a cane.

“Are you ready?” he asked.

“Almost,” she replied.

He left the room slowly on stiff legs. The woman put down her knitting and closed he eyes. Soon she entered the zone where she could see all those who had gone before her. She sighed and smiled as she rocked in her chair. When her husband re-entered the room, his cane clunking heavily on the floor, she didn’t wait for him to ask.

“I’m ready now,” she said, moving slowly toward the window.

  
 
“Goodbye then,” the man waved. “I’ll see you there soon.”

She lifted a leg over the windowsill; the rest of her body followed. The curtains fluttered as she fell. Soon enough, she stopped, reversed direction and began floating upwards. She passed the gauzy, graying curtains, relieved that all the years she had spent occupying the apartment in this run-down tenement were now over.

Her husband would get on without her in what little time he had left. For now, she could focus only on being reunited with the others.

# # #

The man pulled the half-finished sweater over his head, unable to define either the material or the exact color. He sat down and rocked back and forth, thankful that all those who had sought her out for so long would finally leave him to live in peace.

Clouds gathered outside and a chill descended, making him glad for the sweater, though it was only half completed, like their life together. For so long now, half of her had been living in the shadows with them. As the years passed, more and more of her had gone away. And now he was alone. He stood, shaking his fist at the window. They were there, mocking him, motioning him.

“I’m not ready yet,” he said in a voice that sounded like gravel.

He hobbled over and slammed the window shut, covering his ears against their insistent tapping on the glass. He turned away and that’s when he saw her, standing before him, as youthful and lovely as she had ever been. He heard her words inside his head and answered her in a voice like cosmic dust:

“I’m ready now.”

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