The day was winding down in North Central Park, as Lisa watched her granddaughter play. Lisa loved going to the park to watch the sun go down beyond the trees in the distance. It was a beautiful sight to behold, almost as if someone in Heaven had reached down and painted a masterpiece. Her granddaughter was only ten years old and loved playing with her friends in the park, so it was a win win situation.
She smiled when she saw Anna swinging on the swings. It took her back to a special memory from her childhood. It was a sweet memory of how she first met her husband of sixty years. Frank was his name, and just then she saw him walking up to her wearing his best suit.
“Why are you dressed so well tonight, handsome? Do you have a special surprise for me?” Frank smiled as he sat down next to her all the while saying something that she didn't quite catch or understand. Lisa pointed over at Anna, still lost in her childhood memory and asked, “Does that remind you of something?” She turned her head to Frank, who sounded like he was mumbling something. She was too caught up in the memory to understand what he was saying.
Lisa’s eyes lit up with a sparkle and said, “I remember I sat right there on that very swing. Out of nowhere you came to me. You somehow knew that I was sad.” Lisa went on with her memory, “My parents had a big fight that night, and I ran out to get away. They had told me they were getting a divorce. I just couldn’t understand it. I came to the only place that brought me comfort.” She looked at Frank and asked, “Do you remember what you told me?”
Frank started to say something, but his words were lost as Lisa said, “I remember what you said. You told me that life has a way of changing us all. Good or bad we must always adapt and keep moving on.” Laughing Lisa continued, “I didn’t know what you meant at the time. We were just young teenagers after all, and it took some convincing.” Lisa started to feel tears swell up in her eyes as she went on, “We shared our first kiss that night, and a tender embrace under the dawning of the sun.”
The conversation went quiet for a while, as they both watched Anna swing higher in the swing. Frank said, “That was one of the best moments in my life, aside from our daughter being born. It was the first time I would see my soulmate, and even way back then I knew it was true.”
His words were again lost to Lisa because she was still deep in her memories. “That was the first night of many. It was our secret place where no one could bother us. You would push me on that swing and the higher I went, the better I felt. No matter how bad I felt, my sadness would always go away when we were together.” Lisa went on as the sun started to go down, “That was the start of a lifetime of good memories. We both needed each other.”
“You came from a broken family too, and somehow we completed each other. Fate smiled down upon us, and brought us together. I really believe that. Through the years that followed we always leaned on each other. Even in the hard times, we dug in deep and held tight to each other. We always made it somehow.” Frank was smiling back at her and Lisa could see tears coming down his face.
She saw Frank’s lips move trying to say something, but she continued on. “Oh, how time flies. Look at Anna, she is a spitting image of me when I was that age. She is growing up so fast. I often wonder if she will meet her soulmate, right here at this very place like we did. Those were special times for us wasn’t it?”
Just then Anna’s mom Mary, walked up and asked, “Hi mom, are you guys ready to go home? Anna looks like she’s having a lot fun today.” Lisa smiled and said, “Yes, I think I’ve had enough memories for tonight.” Mary called out to Anna, “Anna get your things, we need to get home. It’s getting late.” They watched as Anna said her goodbyes to her friends, and ran up to her mom to leave.
They started to walk away from the park and Mary asked Lisa, “Mom, who were you talking too when I came over?” Lisa looked surprised and said, “Sweetheart, I was talking to your father, Frank.” She smiled and looked over at Frank who was no longer there. “Where did he go this time? He’s always getting into something, and I never know where he disappears too.”
Mary looked over with tears in her eyes and said, “Mom, you know Dad passed away four years ago.” Suddenly, a flood of emotions overtook Lisa as she remembered. Frank had passed on after he had a heart attack. His last words to her were “I love you, don’t fret. I will be waiting for you. Keep on moving forward and keep swinging.” It now made sense why she couldn’t understand Frank earlier. He had moved on.
Mary looked at Lisa and said, “I know you forget sometimes, but we need to keep moving on like dad wanted.” Lisa wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “I know baby.” Looking back at the swing, she said, “You two run along and go home. I’ll be along shortly.” Mary was apprehensive at first, but smiled and took Anna home.
Lisa walked back to the swing from her childhood, and she saw Frank waiting for her. She could now hear his voice, “I was always with you my love. Always by your side. Even now at the end of your journey in life, we will now go on to a new one. Together. Always together.”
Lisa passed away that night. It was hard for Mary and Anna, but they carried on like Frank and Lisa had taught them. Although they were gone, they would never be forgotten. Sometimes when Mary would take Anna back to North Central park, she could almost hear a whisper in the wind of Lisa and Frank saying, “We love you, and we are always with you.” It brought Mary a comfort she couldn’t describe, but it felt good.
Daniel R. Hayes