Hello everyone. Welcome to a new feature I like to call Musings. What are they? Musings will contain posts where I or a guest author writes whatever comes to mind when we look at a photo. We let our muses take over and have their way with us. Let’s get started, shall we?
Aaron kicked the front door closed behind him and peeled off his rain soaked clothes. He’d gotten caught in a downpour on his way home, and he cursed under his breath as he made his way into the bathroom.
The apartment was uncharacteristically quiet, the air stale. “Lian?” There was no answer. He turned on the shower, anticipating the hot spray on his skin, needing the warmth of the water to chase the chill from his bones.
He bathed, and emerged refreshed and hungry. He walked into the empty kitchen and sighed loudly. “Where’s the food?” There was no meal to greet him, no note on the fridge to say where she’d gone. There was nothing.
A call to her cell phone went to directly to voice mail, compounding his foul mood. He plopped into a chair at the kitchen table, his towel wrapped tight at his waist, and looked around the room.
His gaze fell on the shrine Lian had of her parents, their pictures smiling at him, mocking him with their success in marriage, the curls and wisps of smoke from the incense rising slowly into the air.
He’d argued with her again that morning, over something meaningless. But he had to have his way, had to get the last word no matter what.
“Never let the flame go out.”
That’s what his in-laws used to say, as if it was some secret key to everlasting happiness. Somehow, the flame between him and Lian had diminished, reduced to bickering and tears.
His gaze returned to the incense, burned halfway down, its ashes collecting in the small dish beneath the holder. “Guess I’ll light another one. That should make her happy.”
It was a peace offering, one he knew she’d appreciate. Lian loved her parents dearly. When they were killed in a car crash, she was devastated. It took months before she would smile, and even longer before she seemed almost normal.
He got up and rummaged through the drawers. There was no incense to be found. The sound of the storm pulled his attention to one of the windows. He looked outside. Raindrops fell nonstop against the glass, the gray sky above threatened with claps of thunder and bolts of lightning.
Their argument replayed in his head, forcing his eyes closed. “I was being a jerk.”
Lian had been good to him, had given him her all, and yet for some reason, he’d taken that for granted in favor of getting his way in all things. There was never any middle ground. He’d argue or flat out ignore her until she’d acquiesce. And she always did, making him the winner.
So why did he feel like crap?
Guilt rolled down over his shoulders and snaked into his belly. Its companion, shame, wasn’t far behind.
He took another glance at her parents’ pictures and marched into the bedroom and got dressed.
“Never let the flame go out.”
His mind went over all the ways he’d failed her, how he wouldn’t hear her, wouldn’t listen. He grabbed his keys and ran out the front door and into the cold, heavy, rain. The corner store wasn’t far, so he ran the entire way, bought a box of incense, stuffed it into his jacket, and ran back home.
When he put his key in the lock, the door opened. Lian was home, drenched and dripping. Relief flooded his system at the sight of her, and he pulled her into a big hug. She stiffened in his embrace, but he didn’t get upset. I guess I had that coming after the last few months.
“I’ll go make dinner.” She pulled away and headed for the kitchen, a small plastic bag in her hands.
“I-I can help. Or we can order something. Your choice.” When she turned to look at him, he offered a smile.
“Okay. Let’s order something. I need to do something first.”
“Me too.” He shadowed her into the kitchen. They both stopped in front of her parents shrine. He pulled out his packet of incense, and watched her eyes widen at the sight. “Never let the flame go out. Right?”
Tears filled her eyes before she threw herself into his arms. He owed her a million apologies, but in that moment, he held her close, feeling her forgiveness in the grip of her arms.
There was still a chance for them, and he intended to do his part to keep the fire lit.
As always, I love participation. What do you see when you look at this picture? What story runs through your head? Or do you see a poem? Share it in the comments!