Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Anniversary (04/11/05)
By Robert Bronkhorst
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Nobody paid her much attention and nobody bothered her as she walked, but Maggie saw how she walked with conviction and with a sense of purpose.
Her mother called her that "crazy old lady with the white hair" while others called her eccentric. Maggie saw how those words didn’t bother this woman in the least.
Nobody bothered to find out where she went, in fact, people would often stop and stare at her as she walked by. Nobody, that is, until today.
Today, Maggie would see where this woman would walk to. Today, Maggie Simmons would find out what was so special about this day that this woman chose to walk past the house. Today, Maggie would find out why the old woman carried a bouquet of daisies. Today, Maggie would get the answer.
Maggie followed at a distance, but walked at a steady pace. She took the exact path, and stopped when she stopped.
The walk led her to a bronze gate with stone angels that looked down at you with a peaceful look.. Maggie read the sign: Fosterville Memorial Park is what it said.
Maggie watched how the old woman slowed down, then stopped in front of a small headstone. She watched how the old woman knelt down and bowed her head. Maggie watched how the old woman laid the bouquet of daisies at the foot of the marker. She watched as she painfully rose from the ground, straightened her dress, then turned and walked back the same way she came.
Maggie’s curiosity got the best of her and, instead of following the woman, she walked towards the gravestone.
It was a simple gray granite headstone. Maggie bent down to look at the engraved words.
RACHEL MARIE ROBERTSON, Born July 17th, 1965. Died May 15th, 1980.
"Her favorite flowers were daisies," said a soft voice behind her.
Maggie turned around and saw that it was the old woman.
"My name is Anna Robertson," she said. "Rachel was my granddaughter. 25 years ago today, she was killed by a drunk driver."
It all made sense to her now.
"I made a promise to her that I would bring her daisies and, every year, I’ve kept that promise. This is an anniversary that I chose to remember, and it is one that, unfortunately, I won’t ever forget."
Maggie stood in silence. The sight of this devoted grandmother left her speechless and anything that Maggie would say wouldn’t be the right words.
"You look an awful lot like her," she said. "You would’ve loved her."
"I’m sure that I would’ve loved to have the chance to meet her," Maggie replied with a grin.
The two of them walked back. Neither one of them said anything, but they both knew that a connection was made and neither one of them would soon forget this moment. Maggie knew that she had met a wonderful person, and Anna knew that she had met a sweet girl who took the time to make an old woman happy.
As they parted ways, the old woman squeezed her hand and gave Maggie a smile. Her eyes twinkled, "Thank you," is all she said.
One year later, Maggie waited with anticipation for Anna to come walking past her front window. They had made a promise to visit Rachel together and Maggie wanted so much for that to happen. Maggie waited, but Anna didn’t come. Maggie looked at the clock, then at the date and wondered what had happened to her. Surely she hadn’t forgotten what day it was. For twenty-five years, Anna had always walked passed the window.
The obituary said that Anna Robertson, devoted mother, grandmother and wife, had died peacefully at her home. She was 86 years old.
A tiny tear formed in the corner of her eyes, but Maggie knew what she had to do.
She walked with a purpose. She walked with devotion. In her left hand she carried a bouquet. A bouquet of daisies.
"Hello Rachel," she said. "I know you don’t know me, but I brought you something. Tell your grandmother hello."
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