Write a scene from the viewpoint of a statue in your town or nearest city. – – –
Being the oldest surviving statue in town had its perks. Gustaf (or Gustav, it had never been decided which spelling was correct, he only knew the man who poured the hot bronze into the mold called him that) knew immediately when a new statue was erected and dedicated in his town.
He never moved from his pedestal overlooking the graves of civil war soldiers of course. But he knew when she was placed. She was in an older part of town, behind one of the buildings that held offices. He waited to see if she would wake or stay a piece of shaped metal.
After the usual fanfare she stood there, looking hopeful. And silent. She held a baby in her arm, a little girl clung to her simple dress. The little girl had the bright smile of all children who still see the world as place of wonder and magic. The mother’s face was filled with cautious hope as she looked at the butterfly on her open palm.
Gustaf was startled to realize that she represented the future.
All the statues that had been placed over the years commemorated the past. They were there so that people would remember the past as it was supposed to be. He knew from listening to the headstones he watched over the difference between remembered past and reality. When the dates and battles were carved into the white marble, actual bits of time were stored there. If you had the knack you could read them; smell the gunpowder smoke, the blood … the gallons of blood that soaked into the ground. The screams of the dying mingled with the screams of the living. And the pain. The god-awful pain that filled the battlefield. Pain from the wounded. Pain from the soldiers as they loaded, shot and loaded again, until they were out of powder, out of shot, and moved forward with bayonet and sword among the soldiers still living. The pain from the survivors as the battle ended and they were faced with the tattered remnants of men, with uniforms so bloodstained that you couldn’t tell if they were blue or grey.
She looked to the future. A hopeful future. A unique ideal.
He was watching one night, hoping that she would show signs of awareness when someone broke the butterfly from her hand and ran off with it. If he could have, he would have shaken his head. It had been such a pretty butterfly, adding a bright spot of color to the surroundings. When the flowers bloomed around the building she stood in front of, the butterfly would have looked as if it had just alighted on her hand to rest.
A tear trickled down her cheek.
She had been aware all along. Silently standing there with her children, looking hopefully to the future. And there would only be one tear. As a mother, as a woman, that was all she would allow herself. Even without the butterfly, she would always look hopefully to the future. While she waited for the future she would feed and clothe her children. She would cuddle them, tell them stories that gave them sweet dreams. And even when she gave up hope for herself, she would hold hope for her children, for all children, hope that they would have a future.
As he looked at her empty hand, at the tear drying on her cheek, Gustaf longed to reach out and take her hand in his.
To let her know that she wasn’t alone.