I will always see them as they were that day.
In that last year of my life, I feasted on their perfection, their pensive looks, the gentle embrace, and the sheer sanguinity in those eyes.
I have always known that children pulsate constantly. Childhood has but two rhythms; sleep and movement.
I shushed them, saying, “We only have this one sitting. Be still.”
It was hard for them. I could sense the struggle.
“Just this once,” I emphasized, “and then…”
Did they ask, even once, “Will we not see you again, ever?”
I could not say.
Their days were always forever.
Mine was fading. I wanted to tell them but I curbed my tongue.
Words of final loss are a burden. I could not afflict them in such a way.
“I will always see you,” I said, almost whispering, “My lovelies,” and added, “and you will always see me. Memory is like that.”
They were too young to know the sway of memory. They had no need for it. The old need memories. The young have the moment, live in the moment.
In good time, memories would surface.
I would be a memory.
I would never know.
My contribution to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction #1: Childhood. The prompt is a 1915 painting by Alvin Arnegger, an artist unknown to me, who appears to have passed away in 1916 at a relatively young age.