Because I haven't told a Tuesday Tale in quite some time ....
Syd sat on the little camping stool, next to the marker. Tufts of grass lay under the snow - winter had come too soon, before the grass had a chance to fill in the bare brown spots between the clumps of green. Winter had come too soon - in so many ways.
65 years they had been together. They'd met as children, lived in same village, in the Ukraine. Their parents fled the pogrom and they'd come to New York; his father a tailor, his mother a seamstress, her father a tinker and her mother a cleaning lady. Both families lived together in a three room third floor walkup on the Lower East Side.
They always knew they would marry. Everyone knew. And they did. Young. They married young. But, it worked. They worked hard, and had kids, and bought a home big enough his parents could live with them, her parents having died just after they were married.
She had borne him two sons. And a daughter. A lovely girl but thin and frail and she, too, died. Young. She was very young.
It seemed to Syd the whole passage of his life was marked with the memory of those who had died. And now Ella. His Ella.
He reached in the pocket of his overcoat and took out his flask, opened it, and felt the glow of the vodka as it coursed its way to his stomach and warmed up his gut and his chest and, eventually, his cheeks and head. He leaned over and brushed the snow away from the ground next to the marker, and poured a little vodka on the bare, brown earth. He sat the flask on the ground, next to the marker.
"A little for you, my girl. It's been a while since you and I shared a drink."
He sat back on the stool, his eyes cast heavenward.
"I have missed you, my girl. I don't know what to do with myself. And I don't have the courage to do what I should do."
He pulled his coat tighter around him. A wind had come up and it threatened to take the warmth from his body.
"I lived my whole life with you. Spring. Summer. Fall. And now, Winter. But your Winter ended first and left me here, alone in the cold and snow. There's not enough children; there's not enough grandchildren; there's not enough anybody, anywhere, to warm me. So, if you don't mind, I'm going to sit here and keep you company for a while. Because I'm lonely, my girl, and so are you. I'm going to sit here and remember, for a while. Remember Spring. And Summer. And Fall. Winter I don't like so much."
And so Syd sat there, sharing his flask with his girl. And the day turned to evening and the evening to night. And still, he sat there.
The next morning, a couple, come to visit the grave of a relative, found Syd sitting on his camping stool, his flask in one hand, his head leaning on his arm, on the marker. They thought him, at first, to be asleep. But when they touched him, to wake him, they saw it was a sleep from which he would not awake.
In trying to rouse him, they'd shaken loose the flask from his hand and it had fallen to the ground. The woman picked it up. She saw the engraving on the front of the flask. It said, "In Memorium. Syd and Ella".
Maybe he just wanted to be with his girl. It's pretty certain he didn't want to be alone. Or maybe, not being able to find the courage, he let the courage find him. In any case, Syd and Ella are together again.
I hope it's Spring wherever they are.