One Last Waltz

He came up to the assembly plant, with its’ abandoned look, and broken windows.

This had been the scene of so many bad memories, the months on the picket line in the cold and rain and snow, the arguing with plant guards who were just trying to do their job, the tears of hopelessness at night as the world seemed to crumble and a way of life passed them by.

He had broken a few of those windows himself, in anger and desperation, and now could see the construction rigs sitting in the extensive parking lot, waiting for tomorrow morning when this monstrosity would come down, and they would not mourn her one bit, not one second…

He moved to the door, and reaching though a broken pane of glass, opened the lock, held out his hand for her, and entered. She was plainly worried about this, and he came close, held her as he always did, brushed one gentle kiss onto her forehead and told her “One last look around before we condemn this place to hell”.

They walked to the changing area where they had shared a quick embrace before going to their separate stations every morning, past the cafeteria where they would have lunch together very rarely as they worked different stations in the plant, out to the paint shop where she had gone every day.

At times she had hated the repetition that the job demanded, but now she missed the security of the paycheck at the end of the week, the voices of her friends every morning, the bridge games on Saturday night with co-workers who had long since moved away. She would not miss the work, but she would miss them.

Out to the line where he had spend so many years on so many models putting the finishing touches on each car.

There was a light in between the hanging chains, and she pulled at his hand fearing a security guard who would think they came here to damage what was to be destroyed tomorrow morning. He assured her that any guard would be in the same position they were in and would understand completely.

They went towards the light, and coming around the corner she saw an assembly stand with the checkered tablecloth from their kitchen thrown over it.

Two chairs were stationed around the stand, raised on wooden boxes to provide a convenient height. On the table was the storm lantern from the garage, casting a yellow light on the two plates, the good silver from her mother, and the two lunch boxes they had carried every day, two cans of coke beside two wine glasses, and one red rose, her favourite.

He turned to her, and putting one finger under her chin, gently lifted her lips to his.

“This is the spot I was working when I first saw you, the day you did replacement work on this line. I have never forgotten that moment, and I never will. I am not sure whether I fell in love right at that second, or whether it took a minute or two to sink in, but I just knew that somehow we were meant to be together.”

“You have been with me through the thick and the thin, through three wonderful children who will never have to work in this hellhole, and one wonderful life that makes it all seem worthwhile.”

“I just wanted to come here one last time, to celebrate you, and the ceremony of our life that seemed so humdrum at the time, but was just the fabric on which you sewed the pattern of our love.”

“I adore you for each stitch and will continue to for the rest of my days”

As he reached out his hand and led her over to the table, soft music came over the crackly P.A. system, the waltz that they had danced to at their wedding. Now she realized how he knew the security guard would understand. It must be Johnson on duty tonight.

She reached over and held his hand very tightly, the steady support of her life, and looking up realized that he had turned hell into a palace just for her.

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