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The Old Man's Story.

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It is only when you are close to death that you see them,

But you need to believe first in order to see them,

For they exist, they are there,

They are within the shadows, hiding under the stairs.’


The old man smiled as he turned on to his side,

A tear of joy welled and bled from his eye,

‘She is there, I can see her,’ he muttered,

‘She is beyond the sunlight, and the other side of the night.’


I followed his gaze as he looked out of into the distance

Pass what could be seen and into the non-existent,

And even though I had looked from this window many times before,

There was something about this moment that felt it offered more.


'It was summertime when she was taken from us' he said in hushed tones,

‘She was lead away on a promise',

'Into the woods where the children played' he looked away,

'I will never forget that day.'

‘She wore a pink dress and ribbons,' he remembered with a smile,

'She always looked pretty in ribbons',

'And on her face there lived a smile', he paused to picture the smile,

'She really did have a beautiful smile'.


He looked to me and then looked to the wall,

And with a shaky finger he pointed to a drawer,

He tried to speak, but his voice was caught,

By a knot in his throat, and the will that will not.


'Could you please? For me?' he finally managed to say,

'I would really appreciate it',

'It's in the bottom drawer next to the lace,' his eyes leading the way,

'she left it by the lake,'

'It was all she left behind', his voice broke a little,

'It was all we could find'

'It is the only thing we have left', he turned his gaze back to the window,

‘Of the one we will never forget'.


I opened the drawer and looked deep inside,

There lay a tartan rag-doll with just one green eye,

It looked old, it looked long forgot,

And it looked like it had been loved a lot.


I took it out and as I returned to him,

I noticed his face serene was lost in a dream,

The corners twitched and then formed a curve,

A nervousness brought on by the touching of a nerve.


'I remember the day we gave it to her', he said in a reflective tone,

'It had been made for her by her grandmother',

'She loved it from that very first moment', he paused to picture that moment,

‘She took it with her everywhere'

'She gave it a name, she gave it a birthday', he said with a smile,

'she would hold it up before her and give it words to say',

'It was her best friend right till the very end', he closed his eyes to stop the tear rolling,

'Little did we know we would never see her again’.


I watched in silence as he returned his gaze to the window,

His breathing growing evermore more breathless and shallow,

I placed the doll upon him, it seemed a fitting end,

For he was not the only one to lose someone more than a friend.


It is only when you are close to death, that you see them,

But you need to believe first, in order to see them.

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