Two Steps Forward by Steve Denehan

I sat on the park wall, blissfully aimless
my legs dangled, not quite reaching the ground
I kicked my heels against the bricks, enjoying the resistance

I saw her front door open and she stepped out
hesitant to close it behind her
short brown hair, light raincoat, black shoes
nondescript
she stood a while, looking downward
she waited, I waited

the silence was interrupted by the door closing
head bowed, she walked to her garden gate
opened it, stopped and took a long breath
she waited, I waited

then, she turned, walked to her front door, opened it
and slipped inside before, mere moments later
she emerged again, this time making it beyond her gate

head bowed, but with purpose, she walked several steps
before, stopping, and returning again

I watched the sun melt downwards as, over and over
she emerged and returned, each time venturing a few steps further
I quietly cheered each little victory until eventually
she turned a corner and was gone

it didn’t feel right to follow so I sat, enjoying the sun on my neck
I was a lizard basking, still, unseen

she was not gone long
I watched her barrelling around the corner
holding a tin, maybe soup, in one hand
and a loaf of bread in the other
I felt my heart shift in my chest but
I didn’t know why

head forward she stormed to her gate
flung it open
burst through
opened her front door
slammed it behind her

she had made it
I was glad
I thought about her for days afterward
fighting against herself
I never saw her again and I wondered
if those steps forward were progress
or the opposite

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