Walter Livingston

Walter Livingston

A Chapter by Kayla Amaro

 

            The chill of the late November afternoon reached the tip of Paige’s spine as she wrapped her knitted scarf around her neck. She took one last look at her cellphone in one hand while smelling a bouquet of flowers she held in the other. The delicate petals tickled the tip of her nose with the softest touch. She inhaled their sweet scent. Another wave of dried leaves danced around her ankles.

            Paige pushed the cellphone out of sight into her skirt pocket and bent down to pinch the bouquet of flowers between her knees. Her hazel eyes settled on the sight of the setting sun, its rays stretching out to warmly kiss the red and orange tipped branches one last time. She paused to savor the scenery.

            It had been a long time, she admitted to herself, since she last felt this sort of warmth. It was soothing, calming, reassuring. It was as if the sun were whispering promises of coming back the next morning through the wind, begging whatever its lips touched not to forget that it would come back. Paige swayed with the gust of promises, let them swim through her hair. But she was realistic. She was still aware that there was no guarantee the sun would rise the next morning. Or ever again. For many people, too many people, the sun had already set its last time.

            So many broken promises.

            She sighed, slipped her arms into the sleeves of the blazer which previously hung on her shoulders, and grabbed the bouquet from between her knees. Her cat heels trekked past the cemetery gates and landed on the leaves with a “crunch” as she made her way up the cement pathway. In the distance, she could make out the dark silhouette of a tall man in a trench coat. She walked through the maze of the deceased towards him.

            The man was standing there, shoulders slumped, leaning on one side. He shivered when the sun’s warmth suddenly touched him, as if it were unwelcome, as if he wished to shake off its comfort. Paige wasn’t sure how to approach him. Who is he? Should I say something? She stood behind him, waiting patiently. Another gentle gust of wind swept the leaves off their feet before the man straightened his posture and addressed her presence.

            “Who are you?”

She squirmed uncomfortably and pushed her rounded glasses up the bridge of her nose.

            “Paige. Paige Evans,” she responded quietly to his back.

            A faint trace of recognition appeared on the man’s face, but he wiped it off quickly, sure that his mind was playing tricks on him. He turned around. Staring. Scrutinizing. She stood still despite her nerves. Staring. Scrutinizing. He was curious as to why she was there. She was curious as to what type of person he was. Finally, his patronizing gaze became unbearable, so she looked at her feet.

            “May I?” she asked.

            Without a word, he stepped aside, not taking his eyes off the brunette. She stepped forward and kneeled, placing the flowers in front of the gravestone. Tears began to stream down her face as she silently mourned. She couldn’t help brushing her fingertips along the name engraved on the stone.

            WALTER LIVINGSTON

            The man that stood behind her held an expression full of surprise at her heartfelt gesture. Paige took her glasses off and wiped away her tears with the side of her hand.

            “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

            The man couldn’t tell if her apology was directed to himself or to the man who would never confirm his forgiveness. She looked over her shoulder at him, her eyes puffy and red. He didn’t have the right words for such a situation, so he nodded once and looked towards the ground that Walter was buried under.

            “Who are you?” he repeated.

            Paige furrowed her eyebrows in confusion, putting her glasses back on.

            “To him,” he clarified, jerking his chin at the gravestone.

            “A close friend. Walter and I…we…I share a lot of memories with him.”

            “What sort of memories?” the man asked, almost too soon.

            “Well, happy ones. For some reason, he took such a liking to me when we met. I would go to his house to cook his meals when he was sick. When he was healthy he would challenge me to a game of pool, chess, or darts. And he loved to dance. We would dance almost anywhere in the house. He was almost like…like a father to me…”

            Paige’s focus returned to the present and to the man in the trench coat. His gaze was careful, studied. She tucked some of her floating hair behind her ear and stood.

            “How about yourself? Who are you to him?”

            The man cleared his throat and looked at his feet. There was a moment of silence. Suddenly, his blue eyes met hers with an intense gaze. She wanted to understand it. What is he thinking? The powerful light in his eyes faded away, replaced by a veil of what she would describe as, not simply sadness, but torment.

            “No one important,” he replied.

            Paige’s instincts told her he was lying. She only wondered why he would say such a thing if it weren’t true. She soon realized she was trying to understand the motives of a complete stranger. She wouldn’t get much closer to the truth. The man buried his hands in his coat’s pockets, turning to walk away from any more questions she might have for him.

            “Wait!” Paige exclaimed.

            But he continued walking. She ran down to him, her mind in a frenzy from trying to make sense of his reaction. She knew very little about this man. But she was sure that if he indeed was an important figure in Walter Livingston’s life, he would have the answer to her questions.

            “Wait, please,” she said when she caught up with him.

            “Stop following me,” he ordered over his shoulder.

            Paige, put off by his rude tone, grabbed his arm and yanked him back.

            “You already know that I knew Walter very well. Just…just do me the justice of telling me how he died.”

            “Well if you did know so much about him, you’d know he died of an aortic aneurysm. The news was only broadcasted on national television.”

            Paige’s patience wore thin with each arrogant remark he made.

            “You may have everyone else fooled, but I’m not a fool. I knew that Walter was healthy before he died. I was there. I saw that he was completely fine. There must be something else. A missing piece. Be honest. How did he die?”

            The man’s eyes widened in complete shock. He desperately wanted to ask her more questions. However, he was more desperate to bring this conversation to its end. He took a deep breath and took a few steps closer to her. She interpreted this as a sign that he would surely confide in her, and she leaned in eagerly.

            “Listen to me very carefully,” he said, his voice low.

            She nodded, looking straight into his eyes. Tell me.

            And then he told her a truth that he knew would silence her.

            “Walter…is…dead…”

            All the words, all the words that made up thousands of questions and ideas she had fallen off her tongue. Walter was dead. Stating this undeniable fact made asking when, where, why, or how pointless and irrelevant.

            Have I become delusional?

            Does his death hurt me that much?

            Seeing the pain that arose in her features, he took a step back and watched as his three words sunk heavily in her heart. Paige looked at him with teary eyes in both sorrow and disbelief. Then he whispered two final words.

            “I’m sorry.”

            And he left.

            Now it was her turn to wonder who that apology was meant for. She wondered if she would ever see him again to be able to ask him. Walter died three months prior. All the time in between she came to his grave. And yet she had never seen that man there. The odds of meeting with him again in the future were not in her favor.

            That meant only one thing.

            That meant that she would have to go looking for him.

            The darkness of the night already began to plague the skies, leaving only seconds before the sun was completely gone. She wiped away her tears with her blazer’s sleeve and closed her eyes.

            I will find you, my blue-eyed monster. And then, you will tell me everything.

            She smirked at the nickname she came up with for him and started making her way out of the cemetery.

           




© 2017 Kayla Amaro



My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

101 Views
Added on October 4, 2017
Last Updated on December 13, 2017


Author

Kayla Amaro
Kayla Amaro

Philadelphia, PA



About
I am an extremely avid reader. I don't know how to put a book down once I've started! Currently Reading: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I'm a band girl. If you love P!ATD, TØP, FOB.. more..

Writing
Jemima Jones Jemima Jones

A Chapter by Kayla Amaro