Every morning Mr. Mire drives through the Metroparks on his way to the cemetery. It’s been two years since his wife of sixty years passed away. Though his old bones give way, as he makes his way down the icy path towards his truck, he quickly collects himself and shuffles the remaining distance.
With trembling fingers, Mr. Mire unlocks the door manually and sets a beautiful bouquet of orange tulips down into the passenger seat. After sweeping off the light flurry of snow, he climbs in and cruises down the road, being mindful of the slick, slippery asphalt.
As he turns into a trail leading up to the Metroparks, he flicks on his brights, casting two yellowish beams in front of him. The surrounding darkness, although slightly eerie, doesn’t bother him. Instead he pops in a cassette tape and hums along to a classic his wife once enjoyed.
His mind wonders as he reminisces over the ballroom dances, the sweet tender smell, her perfume and the long nights sitting on the porch chatting about nothing. As he’s smiling to himself within the midst of his memories, a four-legged creature erupts from the brush. With astounding speed he slams on the break and slides to a halt.
In front of him a single deer stares curiously ahead before running off into the treeline. With a breath of relief he presses lightly on the gas and jolts to the side. In his panic he had jeered ever so slightly to the right causing his back tires to sink deep into the snow.
The tired old man pulls himself up out of his truck and makes his way to the passenger door. The cemetery is only about a mile up the road. From there he may be able to ask the caretaker to use his phone. He removes the tulips from his truck, bundles his jacket around him and trudges forward along the road.
Snow begins to fall harshly over the man, slowing him further. With each step he gains a little less momentum. Yet he is determined to make it, especially on this day. December 23rd. The day he said, “I do.”
Four hours later, police respond to a call claiming that an elderly man slid off the road in the Cleveland Metroparks and collided with a tree. Upon arrival they could see through cracked glass, the body of Mr. Mire, clutching the remnants of a bouquet in his right hand. His radio still quietly playing his cassette.
From that day on, people began finding bright orange tulip petals on the side of the road, where Mr. Mire had passed. Sometimes, if the wind is calm and the trees stand still, you can even make out the soft gentle hum of his first dance. Some even claim to see an apparition resembling the man, trudging along through the “snow”, even on a hot summer’s day. Eternally trapped within a passing thought.