Rain poured down hard over the small dirt path. The downpour now turning it into mud. A large steel toe boot splashed against the mud as the man angrily made his way to the treeline. There, a man was facing away from the construction worker. Taking off his hard hat, he waved angrily at the sitting man from behind. Yelling he pointed at the forest and back at the bulldozer that had stopped just before hitting him. The light from the bulldozer's lights illuminated them both.
As the worker calmed down, he raised an eyebrow as he made out the man’s white hair. Slowly, he came closer and noticed the rust on the small lawn chair. Grabbing the old man shoulder he walked in his line of sight and began talking slowly, concern now on the worker's face. The old man barely noticed the man's presence. He just sat quietly facing the forest.
* * *
Pulling him by the arm he resisted the girl's tugging, unsure of the sudden urgency. He smiled genuinely as he saw the bright smile shine across her face. Eventually, he gave in and they crossed a small pathway into the forest. They laughed together as they half-run-skipped down the pathway, still relatively close to the entrance. Suddenly, she stopped the young man and they kissed briefly. She tugged on her bright yellow scarf to undo it. It was very light meant to be worn during hot summer days. She reached over his head and tied the scarf around his head.
Now blinded he grinned as he reached out for her, his hands swinging around wildly in front of him. She smacked his hands away playfully as she grasped both his shoulders. Slowly, she guided him to the center of the path and patted both his shoulders. She leaned in close and whispered something to him. He pointed down directly underneath him, and just to make sure she got his point he sat down right where he was.
Satisfied, she turned away and ran farther down the path out of sight. The man sat excited as he waited for the surprise. Minutes passed and he rubbed at the scarf on his face. Sweat started to absorb into the cloth and he shuffled uncomfortably on the dirt path. Every once and a while he would peek slowly under the blindfold to see if she returned but the clearing was deathly silent. Fifteen, turned to twenty and now he was standing tapping his foot on the ground.
Finally, he removed the blindfold completely and was now visibly upset. Looking down at his watch he yelled out into the forest. Waiting, he heard no reply back. Walking further down the path he kept yelling out. Nothing still. Now worried, he began to run until the path abruptly stopped. Endless green surrounding him, he desperately kept yelling out. Pulling out his phone, he hammered his fingers into the screen. Waiting until the line answered, he started yelling desperately into his phone.
Hours passed and the sun was starting to set. A man in blue uniform started handing out flashlights to gathered people in the forest. Many men and women were also in uniform, and some without, who happened to be passing by. Tears were flowing down the man’s face now as an officer patted his back and was talking gently to him. They set out in a large line and with flashlights they pierced the coming darkness. They all were yelling out into the forest. Eternity seemed to pass for the man, until nightfall had engulfed the group. Then a voice broke into the silent night. The man looked around confused as people ran past him towards the noise.
He came running behind the gathered individuals by a cliffside. Blocking his view, he pushed past them to see what the commotion was about. The uniform people were searching around the cliff as the rest stood back shining the scene for the man. The man’s eye’s widened in surprise as he looked at the ground littered with rocks. Among them, flower petals were arranged in a heart and in the middle a suit was lain across the rocks. Walking he grabbed the clothes and recognized the size of the clothes were his. Underneath was the beige dress she was wearing. Looking around desperately he dropped the clothes where they were and scrambled around the cliff. Noticing a part of the flowers seemingly were blown away. He walked to the edge and peered down, hoping not to see her.
Flashing his light down the sheer drop, he saw a girl sprawled close by a stream below. Tears welling up again in the man’s eyes as he yelled and gestured towards her still body. The people in uniform came running behind him as he leaped down part of the cliff that wasn’t as steep. As he quickly made his way down the officer’s yelled at him to stop. Rain started to pour as he reached ground level and he tripped on several rocks as he stepped down. Mud caked his clothes and face as he desperately crawled forward to the girl. People in uniform were making slow decent, intent on not falling or getting hurt.
Reaching her he pointed his flashlight on her face. Beautiful, but so still and pale. He cried openly now, his heart wrenching with pain. Tears began to mix with the rain as it increased in intensity. He gazed down and noticed her white dress was now stained with red. He lifted her body to his, yelling out at the stream next to her. Putting his cheek to hers he rocked back and forth. Some of the officer’s were there now, but respectfully gave him space. He reached for her hand as he gently whispered things to her, things he wished he had said before. As he pushed her limp hand to his face, he noticed it was clenched in a fist. She was holding something, carefully he opened her hand. There, a cheap bronze ring imprinted itself against her skin, showing how tightly she grasped onto it before the end. Grabbing the ring he could barely make out her peaceful face as flowing tears blinded him.
* * *
Looking at the old man he waved his hand in front of his face, but the sitting man kept staring at the forest. The construction worker gestured at his hand questioningly. There in the elder’s hand he gripped tightly to a yellow scarf, a bronze ring glinting off the lights of the worker’s vehicle. Snapping out of his reverie, he glanced upward to the young worker. A tear falling down his wrinkled face.