Monday, March 1, 2010
by BD Hudison Mary kept her head down, hood up, and the shoes tucked in her coat as she raced through the small crowd. She tried her best not to mumble too loud, she didn’t want to attract attention. Attention was bad. Attention would send her home. Alone. With the shoes. They’d say he’s gone. She’d say he wasn’t. Some would feel bad. Some would cry. Some would laugh and point. She told herself they were the ones who didn’t understand love but that didn’t help much. No matter what words were said or whether everyone laughed or cried, she was still alone. Until he came back. __ “There’s something at the water.” “What?” “There’s something at the water. A person.” Sandy jumped off the cold rail and turned to see what Bill was talking about. He was right. There was a person on the beach. “Yea, there is,” she said turning around. “I’m cold. Come here.” Sandy pulled Bill in close and wrapped her arms around him. “It’s so cold out here. Who would be at the water like that?” “I don’t know,” Sandy replied. “You don’t think. . .” “Think what?” “That it’s Mary?” Sandy pushed off of Bill. “Mary’s not real Bill. That’s an old kids story to keep them away from the water.” “But look,” Bill said pointing, “she’s got a pair of shoes on her feet and a pair next to her.” “So you’re telling me that’s Mary? The Mary whose husband went into the water for a swim while she read a book. The Mary whose husband never came out of the water again. The Mary who went crazy and took his shoes and is said to keep going back to the water until he comes out?” Bill nodded staring at the person on the beach. “Fine, let’s find out,” Sandy said grabbing Bill’s hand. __ Mary shivered with the stingy breeze coming off the water. She held her ground though. She told herself it was just demons trying to get to her to leave so they could take Tom. They’d never take Mary’s Tom. Her love for him was too great. And it wasn’t possible that someone could just go for a swim and never return. Nope. They told Mary that seven years was long enough. They told Mary that if she kept it up, she’d have to go somewhere else to stay. She smiled and said she’d stop. It was a lie and she hated lying. But she loved Tom more and vowed to wait forever. __ “Sandy, please don’t,” Bill cried. “Are you scared?” Bill blushed a little and followed Sandy. “Excuse me,” Sandy said in a nice voice. The woman on the beach looked up. Her hand shot out and grabbed the shoes in the sand. “No, it’s okay,” Sand said. “I’m sorry to trouble you but I have a silly question.” The woman nodded. “Are you Mary?” The woman tilted her head. “I mean, you know, Mary. The story about the woman who waits for her husband that drowned? That Mary.” The woman just stared. “Come on Sandy, let’s go,” Bill whispered. The woman lowered her head and started to sob. “Oh my, I’m sorry,” Sandy said reaching out for the woman. The woman slapped Sandy’s hand away. Then she looked out to the water and smiled. “I’m sorry for hitting you dear,” the woman said, “but I have to go now.” Sandy and Bill watched in awe as the woman walked into the frigid water holding the shoes high in the air. __ Mary hated to be bothered. Even worse, she hated being about who she was. It was always younger people too. There were always stories about her. They said she was crazy. They said she wasn’t real. They said she was dead. But why didn’t she realize how much she loved her Tom? As the girl spoke she heard something at the water. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him. She saw Tom. He was there. He bobbed up and down with the weak waves and he smiled. He opened his arms and motioned for Mary to come to him. Mary stood and with tears in her eyes she walked into the water holding Tom’s shoes high in the air. She wanted to make sure they didn’t get soaked. She was going to kiss him and then bring him back to land. Then they’d stop calling her crazy and finally understand her love for her Tom.