A Woman's Solitude

Cover Image

I wrote this to accompany the beautiful and sad painting done by Monika Dekowska.


        The woman sits alone, the darkness outside the window threatening to blot out what’s left of her gaunt frame. Only the light of the moon keeps her from slipping away entirely. Her eyes sit sunken in their sockets, while her pointed cheekbones look as if they’re trying to break through the surface of her sallow skin. Wiry curls of hair escape from the larger tangled mass that sits atop her head.

        She stares at the hand resting on the tabletop and is surprised to realize that it is her own. How she longs for someone to come and take hold of that hand, her hand, and lead her out of the darkness. But no one is coming. No, the only company she has tonight is a ripe red apple and a small, withered plant that has given up on life.

        Slowly, as if still not quite sure that the hand on the table is her own, the woman picks up the apple. She contemplates it for a moment, as if remembering a time when she too was ravishing. The woman is overcome with memories of her youth, of days when she laughed and smiled and had a passion for life. She pushes the memories away; those days are gone now.

        Shaking her head a little to clear it, the woman takes a bite of the apple. She sighs as a bit of the juice runs down her fingers; it has been so long she’s felt anything at all. As she takes another bite of the apple, the woman looks to the plant.

        “You’ve figured it out, haven’t you?” the woman whispers. She gently strokes the bare branches of the plant, caressing the spots where its final leaves have fallen. Then she speaks again, so quietly the words come out as a sigh, “You’ve realized it’s not worth the fight.”

        The smallest of smiles reaches the woman’s cracked lips. It’s as if she has been waiting for this moment, the moment when the plant would figure out what she had deduced long ago. She didn’t want to leave the poor thing when it was still clinging so desperately to life. Now that the plant has given up, however, the woman knows that there is nothing left for her here.

        She barely feels it as she slides the knife along the path of her veins; instead she feels only release. The unfinished apple falls to the floor with a dull thud as the woman slumps on top of the table. The last of her sorrows flow from her, mingling with the final dry, lifeless leaves that fell from her precious plant. At last the darkness swoops in to envelop the woman, while the moon watches in silence as the only witness.

Created: Dec 28, 2010


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