Somehow she knew he couldn’t keep her, but the day she saw him inquiring about her, she let herself believe. He studied her closely, eyes alight with interest. He didn’t seem to care about how old she was. At the time he appreciated how gently she had aged. There were not a lot of miles on her, and she had experience.
Still, he didn’t know what she knew. She was extremely tired, but she put up a great front. Her baggage seemed light, wear and tear minimal, but he couldn’t see her heart. He couldn’t know how many beats were left in her. She knew, but she didn’t desire to go to her grave ahead of time, nor did she want to breathe her last breath alone.
So she put on a brave face and hoped he didn’t hear her raspy breath, hoped he didn’t notice her shoulders sag while he cleaned her ever so carefully. It had been a long time since she’d been touched that way. A part of her felt pang with guilt from knowing she’d never come close to his expectations. The fire in her had long died out. She bathed only in the heat of his hope and a noonday sun.
Her eyes were dim, but she could still see him. That’s how she knew when she’d been found out. His look had transformed from determination to resignation. His touches were not as gentle, his visits less frequent. He’d put up a noble fight, wrestling against giving up on what he thought was a good thing. She didn’t have the heart to tell him that she’d been nothing more than dead weight from the time he brought her home.
When her light went out at last, she was at peace. She would have been relieved to know that when he had her towed, so was he. Still, she would have wanted him to know how much she loved him in their brief time together. If she could, she would have exceeded all his expectations. She did not mean to underwhelm him, but she knew he would get along just fine without her.
© D. L. Lunsford