The

Anniversary

By B.A. Howard

I

The sun emblazed the eastern skies of August 11th, greeting the new day like a long lost friend, whilst bathing the earth in a pristine cloak of colour, serenity, and devotion. Most of the town's folk would admit to this being one of, if not the most, enchanting moments of the year. Trees would all too soon slough their leaves in a beatific display of aesthetic luminosity; the mid-day breeze that unfolded across this realm of life would break from its torrid waves of fervency, shifting to a steely hand of frigid gloom. For most, this was undeniably an enchanting time of the year, for others it was far less sensational.

Although Nature's glorious majesty would soon be entering a state of modest slumber, the surrounding town was presently awake and attentive to her promising, caressing rays. Even at such an early hour, a few of the locals had begun to enter the neighborhood park, attempting to seize the day by sharing in the comeliness of the morning. A small group of children had started a game of baseball at the town's elementary school playground. Normally it would be reserved for faculty and student use; however, since there were still two weeks left in the seasonal break, the youngsters were bound and determined to get the most out of it. Yes, summer was still in full swing despite rapidly approaching its inevitable end.

"Oh, to be young again", the man thought, standing on the front lawn of his home, starring in a bedazzled state of admiration at the spectacular events unfolding before his eyes. The children at play seem to have cast a spell of nostalgia upon him, one that could not so easily be broken. He longed for the days of his youth, a worry-free season of life where a world of endless possibilities lay at his feet, waiting the moment when boyhood dreams would become a young man's reality. Sadly, for him, those days were lost, long forgotten in the vast seas of eternal time. Even his children had grown out of that frail state of adolescence, having moved on to make lives for themselves with families of their own.

He did not dwell on these thoughts for too long, though they were invariably there, biding their time in that certain spot deep within the heart and soul of every man. They lurked, waiting for the right time to spring forth upon him at that juncture in one's life where strength is a necessity and thoughts and regrets do naught but bring one down. Still, all of this was a concern for some other time.

Right here, right now, his wife needed him most. She had reached that point in every woman's journey where she was forced to call forth her innermost reserves, and yet she was unable to find them. She had become so distant recently, so detached, a state of her inner being that he had become all too familiar with. He did not pass blame nor think ill of her though, for things had changed so quickly for the two of them; it would, in fact, be nearly impossible for one to wrap their mind around it. She was still that same girl he had fallen ever so deeply in love with so many years ago; the perfect definition of love that could look past the imperfections so many of us hold; beyond the sadistic prank that time and progress play on us all.

But all this would soon come to an end; he knew this in his heart of hearts. Their anniversary was now upon them and he had made plans for an absolute ideal day. A true celebration of their love, and yet a simple reminder of his undying commitment to her. If what he had arranged did not bring her out of this distressing depression, he knew of nothing else that could. The day was in the present but, would all too soon become the past, time was of the essence.