Watching

scenic vista

A woman with flowing white hair stood at the overlook’s rail fence and stared at the panoramic view. The sun was getting low and she was the only person taking advantage of the vista.

An SUV pulled into a parking slot. Two people stepped out and walked a slight incline to overlook’s edge. They saw the silent woman and followed her gaze into space. The driver, a tall man with thinning hair, spoke to his companion. She wore a parka and leather boots. She listened, nodded, and they walked quietly to where the old lady stood and stopped a few paces behind her.

“What’s she looking at Sam?” The booted gal whispered.

“Shhh. I don’t know. And he craned his neck to see what the white-haired woman was looking at.

About a minute later a helmeted rider on a blue motorcycle pulled in next to the SUV. The bike’s engine went quiet, the helmet came off, and a fellow with a bushy mustache dismounted. He too, saw the lady by the rail, staring at the horizon. He shielded his eyes with a hand and looked off in the same direction. Seeing nothing but sky and the softening sun, he moved toward the folks from the SUV.

When the cyclist drew near, the booted lady turned. “She’s doing nothing but staring. We don’t know what she’s looking at. We don’t’ see a thing.”

The silent woman watching the sky barely blinked when the wind gusted. Her cloth coat, unbuttoned in the front, flapped a little and she swayed with the movement of the air.

The cyclist noticed the tilt of the old lady’s head, the set of her eyes. He recognized her expression; contentment personified. “Ah,” He said, and removed a pair of aviator-style sunglasses from a shirt pocket. “She’s okay, leave her be.” He turned, and walked back to his bike.

After a second or two, the tall man and the lady in leather boots caught up to the biker. The man held up his hand, “What’s wrong with her? What is she watching? We looked too, and didn’t see a thing.

“I suspect you didn’t.” was the cyclist’s response and started his engine.

“Wait,” The booted lady called, “Tell us, I want to know. What is that old woman looking at? What’s she watching.”

The biker adjusted his glasses and held his helmet above his head, “She’s watching life go by.”

“What? What do you mean, watching life go by?”

“Easy to understand. Some folks watch life go by and when it’s too late, they feel they’ve missed something. That old gal back there, she’s watching life go by. And from her expression I can see she’s missed very little. Have a nice day.”

The blue motorcycle backed out of the parking slot, turned, and moved onto the descending mountain road. Like a fleeting memory it grew faint and vanished into the sunset’s growing shadow in the valley below.


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