He checked his watch as clouds floated across the late afternoon sky. The window framed his body and the harbor in front of him. He frowned as he stared at the watch-face, time ticking away, yet what else was there but time. And pain.
After a moment he looked down at the small harbor. The dock stretched parallel along the edge of town. At one point it broke off as a walkway out to sea. Perhaps a pathway home?
He waited like a good soldier at his post, watching the dock and the boats as they gently rocked. The sound of his watch grew louder, then transitioned into the sound of high-heels against the linoleum floor. His thoughts dispersed as he looked around the empty building — nothing. He returned his attention to the sea, concentrating on the slowly moving water.
In his mind he screamed her name.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw movement — a woman. He turned toward her, but her face was covered by a veil of long brown hair. As she swept it back, twisting it into a long curl that draped over her shoulder, he was astonished by her familiar beauty.
She looked up at him with a kind, or was it pitiful, smile.
Feeling foolish, he quickly turned away. “Sorry, I thought you were someone else.”
He looked at his watch. The second hand ticked away all the moments they could have spent together.
“Who is she? The woman you lost?”
His head snapped around to meet her gaze, two soulful brown eyes, disturbingly familiar in their own way.
“There’s sadness in your eyes.”
A feeling of comfort washed over him, her soft voice ringing in his ears. “My wife. She wasn’t suppose to die, not yet,” he said more to himself.
“We have no control over such things.”
“I should’ve been with her,” he said, looking back out over the water. “I should’ve been there when they found her body, when they pulled her from the water. We always took out the boat together, but this time she couldn’t wait. She loved the sea and she couldn’t wait.”
“What makes you think you could have saved her?”
Anger bubbled as he looked at her, so familiar yet strange at the same time. She only said what he had known for the last seven years.
“I lost someone close to me too,” she said. “My husband.”
The man patiently waited, watching her.
“Time,” she said after a moment. “Time took him away. He lost himself waiting. Eventually time robbed him of his life and took away everything recognizable about him.”
He looked back toward the sea, shaking his head.
“Your wife still loves you,” whispered the woman as the sound of heels once again echoed throughout the building.
When the man turned, she was gone. He went back to looking out to sea, but the clicking of high-heels and the ticking of his watch resonated in his mind.