The Loft Sneak Preview – #fridayfiction
When the caterer’s truck finally leaves, Memory House is silent except for an occasional squawk from the ducks on the pond. Ophelia climbs the stairs to the loft where she sleeps. It will be comforting to lie in bed and search the night sky for a few familiar friends.
She changes into a soft cotton nightgown, plumps the pillow and crawls into bed. Above her there is a large skylight. The skylight Edward built. On nights when she is most lonely, she can look up and imagine him there among the stars he loved so dearly.
Tonight they shine brighter than usual. She can see the constellation of Pegasus clearly. She searches her mind for the names of the stars, but can remember only one. Enif. It shines more brightly than any of the others.
Even after Ophelia has closed her eyes she can still see the night sky and she can remember the sound of Edward’s voice naming each individual star.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” the voice says.
It comes from behind her but Ophelia knows without turning that it is Edward. “Yes it is,” she answers. She feels the warmth of his hands on her shoulders.
“We had some good years didn’t we Opie?”
Ophelia feels herself smile. Opie. It is a name only he uses and it is good to hear it again. “It’s been so long…” she sighs.
“It hasn’t been easy,” she says. “Taking care of this house, the garden, the apothecary…”
“I know.” He gives her shoulder an affectionate squeeze. “I was glad when the girl came. It was good to see you laugh again.”
“She’s gone now,” Ophelia says sadly.
She feels the tug of his arm as he pulls her closer to his chest.
“Maybe you too should leave here,” he says. “Find a place where there’s less work and someone to watch over you.”
“I could never,” she sighs. “This is where I belong.”
“It’s not good for a person to be alone,” he says.
“I’m not alone. You’re here with me.” She snuggles deeper into his arms. “I stay here because this is where I can look into the night sky and find you.”
He laughs. It is the same gentle laugh she has heard a thousand times before.
For a moment there is only silence and the joy of having him hold her. She would like to remain like this forever, but soon he will disappear just as he always does.
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