Unbearable Remembering

It was a disaster waiting to happen. The heavy oak door was firmly pressed shut, its strenuous groan echoing of the bedroom walls, as if it was hollow and empty. I sought solitude. A soft ‘click’ as the lock was being turned, filled only a few seconds of the desolate silence. It was surely just blind infatuation. We could not have felt anymore for each other. No longing or desire. We are just a fictional Romeo and Juliet. That is appalling. We were more…

Willing his legs of stone to move forward in the already darkened room, placing his rough hands on the ornately carved bed post, he walked slowly, defeatedly, to his mahogany writing desk shoved in a secluded corner. Moving the small, barely flickering candle to one side, his hand fumbled around in the large top drawer until it fastened around a small book bound in bearskin. Placing it with almost loving care on the flat surface of the desk, he drew out the worn leather, high-backed chair tucked underneath and sat. Love should inexplicably fade. Why then, do I still feel this way toward her? His eyes shut for a mere moment at the thought, his eyelids trembling as he opened them. The subtle green of his irises darkening. Following the pale winter-blue wallpaper, flaking off in corners, he took his quill to hand. The Japanese style design, the painted white snow on the dormant cherry blossoms. He allowed his eyes to linger on the candle in front of him, feeling fatigued, before hastily opening the book, his fingers in a frenzy to pass the already filled pages. Soon, the audible scratching of his quill against the crisp, rather yellowed pages filled the silence. Confined by his will to his room, the flowing letters consuming each corner of the page.

I knew this would end disastrously, yet I continued. I completely ignored my head, rational thinking floating away on the cold wind of that day. It seems impossible in my heart to wish this…but I wish I had never said ‘I love you’. Even pronouncing those now sickening words in the safest whisper imaginable would have caused the same irreparable damage. Sitting here, in utter silence, allowing my devilish memories to assume power over me like this, by forcing myself to write, having to remember, is my punishment. I loathe my ghastly self for putting her in danger, for not discontinuing our love. But how could I? She was the one thing I wanted, that I would have happily traded my whole world for, yet, she was the least possible thing I could attain. 

The harsh line of his mouth quivered as he finished the line. Alert and holding himself upright in his chair, he heard large footfalls in the stairwell outside, a quick, urgent knock on the door.

“I specifically told you I was not to be disturbed!”, his voice quite frail, drifting to the door, attempting to make his weakened voice dominant as he brought his fist down on the desk in defiance. The silent man on the other side of the wall turned abruptly, his feet were heard retreating down the steps, praying not to anger his master again. Deathly silence. The man returned to his pensive frame of mind, writing.

I am brooding. Yet I cannot help but recall my selfishness, my burning desire to have her. She was to me, as gold was to a miner. The warmth of a smile to his blackened, dirty face. What he holds in his hands bringing joy, spreading to every fibre of his being. I was addicted to her, she was an intoxicating drug to me. A delicate flower more beautiful than the setting sun, with a sweet, pure fragrance lighter and better than life-giving air. 

He hurriedly left the quill in the middle of the page and almost ran, with a determined gait, to the open window; back at his desk, the pages curling over his recent passage in a neat array. He allowed his lungs to fill with the warm, early evening air. The rustle of thick leaves as they gently brushed his white-washed window was loud in his ears.

Not that I will smell that fragrance anymore, that alluring scent. She is a rare charm I hold forever dear to me, but I will never be able to behold her again. Because of my stupidity. We were so violently attracted to each other but due to the gravity of the circumstances surrounding us, it left us vulnerable. She was taken away from me, by a close friend since childhood, who obviously knew the connection we shared.

His thoughts ceased their relentless surge in his mind as his eyes drifted over the perfect wainscoting of the house directly opposite his. The tidy arrangement of windows on the northern facing side looking over the park between them. The peach coloured curtains with the single embroidered fleur-de-lys in white lace he so clearly recognised were drawn closed, enabling not a shred of daylight to enter her former bedroom. He desperately sought to rein in his eyes, to return to his desk where his book lay waiting, his succinct way of organising his thoughts. Using both his weary hands, he pulled the window closed and turned the latch.

Our love was not forbidden, yet it was unfair that fate could not grant her to me. She caused a drastic change in my life. My first and only love. I remember her full red lips, her dark chestnut hair that cascaded in ringlets to her slender shoulders. Still I dream of her every night, long after she is gone. Though they are nightmares. It seems perfect and harmonious as I cup her rosy face in my hands and place my lips on hers, crystal-like eyes the colour of aqua and clear. Tears begin to brim, clouding her eyes, making them as deep as an ocean, as I pull my face away from hers. I want to wipe the salty tears streaming down her cheeks and reassure her, everything will be as it was before. Before the obstacles. Our love at peace. Only, I don’t have control over my arms to do so, as if an invisible presence behind me restrains my limbs with coarse ropes that bury into my skin and burn as they are fastened around me. I cannot help her. Remover her from here in my powerful arms. Snuff her fear out of those eyes. She soon begins to wail and weep, which wounds my heart, as if a splinter of wood has been forced past my pale skin. Her body is soon wracked with pain as I see the blade of a silver knife protrude from her stomach, as she collapses to the floor. Lifeless. So attached we were I could hear the final beat of her heart…then no more. 

“There, my brother. I have removed temptation from your path”, says a wicked voice belonging to the man whose twisted smirk fills my vision. His eyes flicker and flash with delight. His callous gaze quickly turns to an expression of abhorrent pleasure. Everything then becomes murky and black and I faintly hear my scream, tearing a omnipresent gash in my side. 

This nightmare remains with me. Even after the first light of dawn. Forever haunting me, not allowing me to dream pleasant dreams in my prison cell. 

Wandering back to his desk, he could no longer see the remaining stub of candle burning bright. The moonless evening overwhelmed him. Abandoning the thought of picking up his weighty quill again, he felt the cool, firm mattress come up to meet him.

Our love was of divine provenance. Two lovers trying to remain together, in love, as an escape from the pressing moments of our lives. An excuse to run into each others’ waiting arms. 

Spreading out on the centre of the bed, the silk sheets soft to the touch. Our discretion was our downfall. His subdued mind relaxed further until he fell into listlessness, his eyes boring holes in the low ceiling. Until they drooped and shut, tired from the stress of keeping them open. A sleep so sound nothing or no one could disturb it.

 

*Artwork by Ars Thanea- “The Ash”*

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