I wasn’t imagining it.
Despite what I kept trying to tell myself….
I could definitely make out the clouds on the horizon now.
The faintest color of soft pink around the edges.
I hoped she hadn’t seen it yet…
Our conversation had trailed off.
There we sat, shoulder to shoulder
on the stone of this rampart
The night had been a little on the cold side
The nights, Here, always were.
I wasn’t sure if she made them that way..
or was it me?
Maybe something in my subconscious wanted it
to be cold…so she would need me
I’d surrendered my jacket to her as soon as we got up here
She gratefully, and with a smile I’d not seen since we were dancing earlier,
took it and draped it about her shoulders.
A shiver ran down my arm and I set my glass down with a “tink”
It was still full of champagne
I hated champagne…it was for her
I unrolled my sleeves, so that they hung loose at my wrists
No idea what happened to my cuff links.
They’d be back tomorrow night, I was sure.
My shuffling feet broke the near silence..
Crickets, off in the fields surrounding us, began packing away their violins
I stood up and moved to the edge of the wall to look out over the world
I could make out a conifer forest and ancient oaks off in the distance
The tips of their leaves starting to glow a gentle soft green
“I’m sure we’ve been missed downstairs, they’ll be looking for us soon.”
Her voice, soft and sweet as it always was, just over my shoulder
I turned to face her and put my back to the approaching dawn
“Yes,” I whispered, “I know”
“You always look like you are trying to figure out a way to stop it” She said.
“I know”, I repeated, nodding.
My eyes finally had the courage to look at her face
The face she wore, this time.
Always someone who my heart was bursting for…
She smiled. The tight-lipped smile of resolution.
A lock of hair had liberated itself from the rest of her hairdo
It was the most beautiful part of her in this moment
wild and curled it hung by the side of her determined face
gently swaying and brushing her cheek as she moved her head to look up at me
a dangling definition of her spirit…
My eyes held hers in an embrace for what seemed like hours…
The stones around us were beginning to gain a rosy hue from what was happening over my shoulder.
I knew it was only seconds before the sun spilled over and bathed everything in the bright light of morning.
I sucked in a deep breath and exhaled a soft cloud into the air.
She grabbed the lapels of my Jacket and pulled it tighter against her.
I extended a hand..offering to help her up.
She took it,
her skin…so soft and warm against mine
Mine, rough and sacrilegious in her presence.
She stood up and stepped closer to me
a gentle “shooshing” of her satin dress against her body
I slid one of my arms into the small of her back and pulled her close
I could feel her heartbeat, it was pounding against my ribs
…a distress call that I knew I couldn’t answer
That wasn’t how it worked, Here, anyway
she always came to my rescue
Never the other way around
She was as tall as I was.
With her heels on, She was taller
laying her head against my shoulder,
I felt her forehead
against the side of my cheek
I worried about the stubble scraping her
as if she could be damaged in such a way
My eyes drifted to the hillside behind us
The Creeping morning light making its way to a darkened patch there
The ground scorched and broken
Seemed like ages ago
When fire fell from the Sky
“But we put the fires out and you’re ok.” Her answer to my unspoken concern
“One of a thousand other places like that, Here. And the green has overtaken them all”
Her voice floated visible in the air
small wisps of steam
I forgot from time to time there was no real need for us to speak
Somewhere in the deep forest, a mockingbird began to sing
True to its nature…mocking my inability to stop time.
Anger flushed my cheeks for a brief moment
Why did things like that manifest Here anyway?
I wanted to jump down from this wall.
Grab a shard of stone from it
Hunt it down and smash its tiny little feathered head in.
Her voice, breaking me out of my fury, “because it’s part of your world..and you are waking up.”
I’d been Here in the daytime once.
Went into her room and found a drawing in the top drawer of her roll top desk
A man, tall and handsome.
Like a fairy tale.
I asked her about it
She shook her head with tears brimming in her eyes
Ashamed of causing her grief, I let it go
Her strong arms had encircled my waist
So deep in the throes of my internal rebellion against my forced ejection from Here
I hadn’t noticed
until she squeezed me tightly
and placed a gentle kiss upon my cheek, “You need to go”
I could already feel the warmth of the sun on my back
The air around us was beginning to shimmer with light
This is the worst part….
She let go and slipped out from my embrace
to stand in front of me.
She removed my jacket from around her shoulders and handed it back
I took it,
folding it over my forearm.
“I’ll be here when you get back”
I couldn’t speak…again, I didn’t have to
But I could never muster the courage to make my lips form “Goodbye”
So I let it happen
It was always so strange to me
When I was younger, I always imagined she faded away
But now that I am much much older, I understand the reality is
Much less, romantic and kind
…far more cruel
I understand now….
that I fade away from her
While my eyes flutter open and I have no memory of this place
She must stand and watch as I
cease to exist, Here…
I say I have no memory
that is a lie
in these later years of my life, I am sure
that I remember the sounds
of someone crying