Calloused fingers trace the smooth metal contours of the bars that contained her, her reflection swirling shadows on their surface. So much that she sees in what passed for eyes staring back at her, lost in her containment. Sands slipped through the hourglass much too fluidly, and yet the last six months streched like an eternity.
Eyelids unfurl like theatre curtains bringing memory into focus, of days walking to the melody of their laughter, the silver in her husbands hair glinting in the golden rays of sun. The anticipation of her grand daughter leaving for college, only she had missed that catching only glimpses from this cell. How she had wanted to help fold and put away her clothes, even to hug her and bid her good luck, stolen opportunities lost to the days.
Even now her love sits, watching her over the steam from his coffee cup, resting a weathered hand against hers, lending strength and comfort. He sees...He knows...the heaviness of heart that threatens to topple her. Everyday he is there, passing time on her sentence, easing the moments until her release.
Determination swells, coursing through tired fingers as she pushes against that which holds her. Muscles quiver, a faint memory of movement empowering her sole desire. You shouldn't, though he is there to steady her, concern dripping off his face begging the question of where this was going. Feet shuffle relearning old steps, carrying her slowly across the expanse...
Can I ask you a question about your laptop?
I had been watching them together in the coffee shop, so delicate, their love portrayed in the care he took in bringing her small joy. To see her now before me, asking about my computer of all things, her chair left lonely by their table... Her grand daughter needed one for school and she wanted to provide...and so she took her first steps out of a wheel chair in six months...to ask about a laptop.
For a few brief moments she is free, and despite the pain there is a new twinkle in her smile as we chat. As they turn to leave, he whispers thank you and guides her back across the room and I can't help but see a graceful couple spinning around the dance floor, one more time.
I like to think I witnessed a small miracle. Not just in her walking again, but in the love that has carried them for almost five decades.