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assignment for a class that i wrote and decided i liked
The stream had been clean one time. Abbey remembered the days when bass, bluegill and the occasional catfish could be pulled from the stream. But that was 80 years ago, and progress had dumped one of its many monstrosities upstream, a paper mill.
Abby had been thirteen at the time of the mill's construction. She remembered all the adults were so excited for the jobs the mill would bring. But it wasn't a week after the mill opened when the smell set in, and any further celebrations were held behind handkerchiefs or raised sleeves. Abby never got used to it. The smell changed too much with the season. Only if she was indoors would the smell fade, but it still clung to her clothes and shoes, and didn't wash out.
Abbey slowly eased herself down onto the log bench her father had made for her when she was nine, back when the stream was clear. The bench was well constructed, showing the signs of aging and the weather, but still sturdy enough to support her in her old age. Her grandchildren had carved their names into the seat, and she had given them a stern scolding upon discovery of the names. They were grown up now, headed off to the high school, looking towards college.
Abbey leaned on her cane as she ran her hand over the names. Her eyes could no longer see them as she decided to let her sight fail, preferring to disappear into a world of vague shapes. She chuckled to herself, remembering her childish promise to herself that she would never go blind like her mother. This brought on a coughing spell and soon she was tired from the fit.
Abbey heard sounds of children walking to school, but could not see the children. Although her sight was failing, her hearing still remained. She looked at the ground, listening to their heavy footsteps on the sidewalk and cries to one another echoing off the surrounding buildings. But soon they too passed. Was it that time of year already? Abby couldn't remember, chuckling once again at her failing memory before this brought on another strong coughing fit.
The coughing was a reminder of the short time she had left. The note had sat on the table for days now, it's finality shared only between Abbey and her doctor. Two months, that's all they said she had. Abbey was more afraid of telling her son than anything else. She had been trying to work up the courage all morning to call him, but instead decided to sit outside, enjoy the sun, even if the air was rather putrid this time of the year. Abbey didn't want her son to worry about her. But when her time came, she wanted him there. Isn't that what every parent wants? To be surrounded by their loved ones?
Abbey listened to the wind roll through the trees, the sound still able to send a shiver down her spine.
Abbey decided to wait a little longer...
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