This is a serialized writing prompt, explained here: 7 Steps for the Lonely Writer.
Today's prompt is: FIND THE GOOD IN "GOODBYE."
Step One. Ten Thousand Steps.
His eyes watered in protest, but he refused to blink before the last edge of her dress was gone, flicked up and over the stone wall. The wind surged into his face; her custard-colored fabric disappeared; he blinked, but it wasn’t enough; he squeezed his eyes shut, knocking tears from their perch.
Ten thousand till I see you again, he thought.
The stone wall filled most of his sight. Its gray was in stark contrast to the brightness of her dress, of her smile. He felt as if all the color in the world had been bleached away, leaving that gray stone wall. He reached out, his fingers just able to brush it. The wall’s skin felt awfully rough. Abrasive. He was already forgetting the smooth cream of her skin.
He turned his back to the wall and took a step.
One, he thought. Two. Three. Four.
He took a fifth step, and a sixth, and it was no relief to have the wall to his back and out of sight. The hills that rolled before him, the clouds that churned above him, seemed just as gray. She had been the color, and now the color was gone.
Nine. Ten. Eleven.
Why must he live like this? Who would call this living?
She made him promise. Promise me, she said, that you will count.
Promise me, she said. I promise, he said.
You will understand, she said, not at first, but with each step you will get closer. So you must promise me that you will count to ten thousand. Ten thousand steps. And then you will understand.
And I will see you again? he asked.
Promise me, she said again.
He could not see how counting his steps could bring understanding, or bring her back, or bring anything but fatigue. He had already been so tired when she left. But he promised. He looked up as he stepped his careful steps and saw a light. The sun, hiding behind the clouds? Maybe.
For now, he counted.
Seventy-two. Seventy-three. Seventy-four.
To be continued...
THE COMPLETE STORY:
Step 1. Ten Thousand Steps.
Step 2. A Companion.
Step 3. A Drunken Detour.
Step 4. The Hills Have Eyes.
Step 5. Her Graven Image.
Step 6. The Earth, Flattened.
Step 7. Back to the Beginning.
Step 10,000. Colla Voce.