Freeze Frame: 2001
The smooth surface of the concrete slab must be cold against her thighs, yet she seems to take no more note of that than she does of the harried rush of the river driving through the shards of ice below her or even the sudden scream of the prey that punctuates the dive of the hawk.
A sheep’s skin coat locks tight across her hips and breasts with thick brass cleats, but a few chocolate strands of hair manage to creep loose from the fluffy edge of the hood. These ride intermittently on the wind before blending against the bronze leather. Jean clad legs are bent at the knee and sideways and one arm acts as a prop, in echo of the Belgium’s Little Mermaid.
She is well aware of how she looks, not because someone has taken a picture of her, in a similar setting or wearing these clothes…but because she too often over the last few years she seems to stand outside herself, observing rather than experiencing her life.
The bridge and the railroad both run a good twenty yards away and the river below is too overgrown and rocky for any but the most determined of hikers.
.The cold grayed-green of the day is fading into evening and still she sits, with her cell phone and a notebook stuffed in a front pocket along side her gloves. She is contemplating, as so often has been the case, making a call.
Yet even before today, she came to this spot, feeling less lonely here than she does in her own home.
On other days she has come to draw or write. Occasionally, more often than she would have liked to admit, she has come to weep.
In this place seasons are unimportant. In the summer and autumn leaves screen her completely and shelter only a few mosquitoes, while the thick brush and lack of clear trails hide her through the cold damp of winter and spring. Here at this curve, even in the most frigid days of winter, a part of the river is always open and laughing.
All this also provides her with the privacy to lay back and weave romantic stories, sing her favorite songs and just to think. Here, everything, unlike her life, has stayed exactly the same, just as it was when she came here the first time. Until today.
Today she has been shocked into admitting that there have been a number of ominous changes.
There are day-glow orange ribbons stapled to a number of the trees, and a fierce yellow flash of color behind the bridge reveals its self to be the mud splattered side of a resting bulldozer. Several of the Oaks on the high bank of the opposite shore are already missing. She is forced to admit that new construction plans are evidently in the works, and demolition already in process.
True, it may still be weeks, or even months, before these changes overtake her current position, but the inevitability is undeniable.
“Demolition precedes construction.” She hears herself say.
The shrill notes a Bluejay startles her and begins sliding, several feet down, the slanted face of concrete toward the river. Her fingers clawing to hold her in place, take a good bit of leaves and brushy trash down with her, exposing faded red letters, spray painted across the concrete.
Instead of instantly struggling back to where she was , she takes a moment to read these words: I NEVER WANT TO HAVE TO SAY THAT MY BEST DAYS ARE BEHIND ME
Her heart stills.
“I never want,
to have to say that,
my best days,
are behind me.“ She whispers.
Her thoughts stop spinning.
“I never want to have to say that.
My best days are behind me.”
There is nothing now but those fourteen words.
“I never want to have to say, that my best days, are behind me! “
These should be my best days, I realized and thus I opened my phone, calling an attorney at last.