THE EMPTY STOOL
She found the building and waited across the road, watched and waited, the day crawled by until she saw him, Simon coming out of the revolving doors, her heart missed a beat as she shouted and waved, she crossed over as he looked up, she didn’t see the car raced towards her, she saw Simon shouting something, but only felt the impact of the bumper hit her then the road on her body, she felt cold and pain then a warm feeling as she slipped into a dark world. She felt a warm bright light around her, she knew she was dying, so soon I will be Dave, but what about Simon and Dave’s letter? she felt she was slipping back into the darkness she could feel and hear things, her eyes slowly opened, she saw feet around her, she slipped back into a deep sleep.
It was months, when she woke, she was confused, disoriented, she could feel the crisp cotton sheets under her, she could hear the noise of machines bleeping, of whispering around her, she felt someone touching her hand. She grasped at the feeling, it was solid she was alive. She went back to sleep.
Next day she woke early and was greeted by a nurse, a friend from the old hospital, the nurse filled her in about the accident, what had happened and how long she was in a coma each day her strength grew and she returned slowly back to normal.
The nurse came every day to tend to her, one day she said she was disappointed that Tina had never told anyone she had found someone knew. Tina was confused, she asked why?
“Well every night, since you have been here your other half has been sitting here, stroking your hair, holding your hand, reading to you, he is so in love with you. He should be here soon” she said looking at her fob watch.
Now Tina didn’t know what to say, who was it? She waited ,half asleep, she heard the door go to her room, later that night. She heard movement, felt the hand again holding hers, she pretended to stir and looked across, she recognized the smile, that face, the stranger who claimed her empty stool, it was Simon. He looked up when she moved and smiled gently. She felt his soft touch as he stroked her face.
“Why?” she asked,
“Shush, don’t speak, I saw the accident, I was trying to warn you about the car. I really wanted to see you again, left my card at the cafe, my shifts had changed, I was on nights for months. When I went into the cafe, all I saw was that empty stool, it hurt me to have missed you every day.
The waitress told me you were asking about me, she told me you always looked sad, grieving she thought. Never saw you with anyone, always in at the same time, same breakfast, leave at the same time in the same direction.