Written for Sunday Photo Fiction. A story, about an old man in a nursing home and dreams that come true, begins after the photo.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
The Winter Bride
“You see that? Look at ’em,” said old man Jerasko. He pointed out the window to the curious icicles forming on the sill.
Reshma looked and knocked her nurse cap askew on the window pane. She raised an eyebrow. She’d never seen icicles with crosses. “Okay, but what does that mean?”
“She’s coming,” grinned Jerasko. “She’s finally coming for me!”
“Who is?” She adjusted the blanket across with withered legs.
“The Winter Bride!”
“And who’s that?” grinned Reshma as she helped him onto his bed.
“We fell in love in 1958. Oh, it might sound crazy, but she’s a fairy that comes to the human world in winters. We had the grandest time, listening to Elvis and ‘twisting’ to Chubby Checker.” He sighed and a tear rolled down his cheek. “She told me we’d be together again in the Winter. I never married. I was waiting for her.”
Reshma cooed. “Oh that’s sweet!”
“I didn’t realize she meant the Winter of my Years.” He smiled wanly.
Reshma patted his shoulder. “Okay. You rest now. I’ll check on you in an hour.”
She left the room and entered the hallway of the nursing home. Daphne was there as she closed the door. “Did he tell you about his fairy?” she asked.
“He did,” said Reshma. “Isn’t it cute?”
“Yeah, if you like crazy shit.”
“I think it’s sweet!”
“Trust me, you’ll get sick of it after awhile.”
Weeks went by and Jerasko’s health failed rapidly. Reshma spent time with him after her shift holding his hand and listening to his stories. She didn’t care they were the product of dementia. She thought his tales were romantic and beautiful. It didn’t matter to her if they weren’t real. The other nurses teased her about it, but she didn’t listen. Jerasko wouldn’t last much longer and she intended to make his last days happy ones.
It was December 4, when she entered his room. It was dark, and the bed was made. No one in it. A common sight in nursing homes. A tear slipped down her cheek. She wanted one more, just one story, but she was too late. She shuffled her feet in the dim light cascading into the room. On the window sill, the curious icicles were gone. She wished she could seem them once more.
Movement outside caught her attention. She saw a couple, the woman in white and the man in black. The woman turned. Her snowy white hair, reaching to the snow below, swished through the air. Her ice-blue eyes gazed gently at Reshma. Earrings like icicles with crosses, danced across her porcelain skin. She smiled radiantly. The figure in black turned also. Reshma knew him immediately. It was old man Jerasko, looking youthful and strong. He mouthed, “I told you so!”
Reshma waved to him. She wanted his last days to be happy. At last, she knew they would be. Jerasko grinned and took the arm of his Winter Bride. He walked with her into the snows, leaving no footprints behind.
Each week, photographer Alastair Forbes offers up a photo as a prompt for flash fiction. This was my story for the photo above. Look here for more stories from this week’s photo: http://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/sunday-photo-fiction-november-16th-2014/