Blog is early this week because I'm out of town all weekend and my computer is getting packed tonight!
I took on the Don't Panic Picture Prompt from This Is Not Hitchhiker's Guide again.
500 words based on this photo:
There's still time to participate if you'd like! The deadline isn't until this Sunday!
The Hydrant and the Cathedral
Twice every day, the man walked past the cathedral. And every day, rain or shine, he would pause in a certain spot on the sidewalk and look back at the building, admiring it. He admired the snow falling softly, disappearing against the backdrop of the pristine white walls or a lightning flash crisscrossing the sky over the highest point of the tallest steeple. When he looked away and continued forward, his face was always sorrowful. Twice daily. Until one night, he didn’t.
The woman watched him from the cover of her newsstand most days. He was more religious in his walking than the people who filed in and out of the building for services. And he was one of the few who noticed the beauty of the place shining out through the dull day to day of passing by. So when he didn’t appear around the corner one rainy night, she worried.
Instead, he sat at home staring from the empty bed on his floor to the armless raincoat that hung from a peg near the door. Next to it hung the leash, once a lifeline, now a dreary memorial. What was the point of the twice daily walks, anymore?
The next morning, he decided to have breakfast at a café before work. This time he did not look at the cathedral as he passed but kept his head tucked down into his jacket. He turned toward the café, passing the street vendors without a glance until he heard a voice call out.
“Excuse me, sir.” It was the woman. He stopped and glanced her way, patting his pockets and looking at the ground behind him. Had he dropped something?
“You didn’t walk here last night,” she said. He looked at her face and his world shifted. “You always walk here.”
“Yes, I…” he watched her walk toward him and looked down into her smiling face.
“I’ve always wondered,” she said. “Why do you stop at that corner and look at the cathedral?”
He smiled, though there was pain in his eyes. “I had a dog. He uh...” The man laughed. “He always lifted his leg on that hydrant. The habit stuck.” He shrugged and listened to her musical laughter.
She sighed. “He passed away?”
The man found himself nodding. “Cancer.”
She reached out a hand and touched his wrist. In that moment, he wished to know everything about her all at once. He wanted to know her favorite food and her life’s ambitions. He wanted to take her dancing and see her hair mussed from sleep. But mostly, he wished that he could relive this moment – could meet her for the first time - again and again.
“Well, when you’re ready,” she said. “Stop by and we’ll check the shelter listings in the paper.” She nodded back toward the newsstand. “It’ll be on me.” She left but her smile lingered behind, warming him somehow.
He didn’t waste time in taking her up on the offer.
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