The Valetudinarian

His footsteps on the pavement echoed through the still night.

The sun had set on him hours ago,

slaying his essence and making him yet another indistinguishable shadow.

His journeys to the cemetery were routine,

a formality he lived solely for.

Every twist and turn of the path was etched clearly in his memory.

He slowly wound his way past hundreds of tombs,

to a small grave stone beneath a willow tree.

He fell to his knees,

numb to the pain of sharp pebbles tearing into his flesh.

With his fingers he traced over her birth and death dates;

forty years had passed since her demise.

There he waited in silence,

anticipating her presence and expecting her embrace.

Just as she had every night,

she appeared seemingly out of nowhere.

With skin pale as the moon,

and  hazel eyes shining just as bright,

she stood at and arms length away from him,

smiling down upon his dark figure.

She looked just as she had the moment they first met;

beautiful and innocent.

Her hair, soft as silk, fell in cascades over her shoulders.

An aura of peace and tranquility flowed from his glowing phantom.

He reached for her, longing for the same serenity,

and she faded into the night.

He smiled and whispered to his vanishing angel,

“Soon, my love, we shall be together.”

The walk home felt longer,

only because he had nothing to look forward to but an empty house.

The sun had began to rise as he reached his door,

marking the birth of a new day.

He no longer stopped to appreciate the miracles of life,

for nothing mattered more than what was stolen from him.

Sleep was his yearning now;

a reverie where he could look upon her ghostly face.

But not before he sipped a bottle of wine,

and swallowed pills to hurry along his slumber.

When he woke, night had descended upon him again,

and stars filled the great expanse outside his window.

Ready for his routine to begin, he glanced at the mirror.

His reflection was not that of the old man he had been,

but a young, vibrant man

without wrinkles on his face or loneliness in his eyes.

Another face appeared beside his; the face of his angel.

Turning to look at her and wrapping her in his arms he whispered softly,

“Now, my love, we shall be together.”

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