Remembrance


I’m not usually one for nostalgia. Those memories, they feel old and tired like rags that have seen many a baby’s bottom. And yet, sometimes, those same rags feel warm and familiar, like the heat from a fireplace that burns your cheeks on a cold winter night. Tonight, she’s on my mind, and the otherwise invisible barrier that separates my skin from the air that I breathe is pregnant with desire. The contour of her body seems to mould itself onto the empty crevices around my shoulders and the palms of my hands, and I can almost feel the rhythm of her heartbeat as her lips whisper words as sweet as honey into my ear. And just as quickly as I caress the softest skin I ever tasted, the memory fades away and the peachlike skin turns rugged oakwood under my fingertips. But it still feels familiar; the warm texture and hard scent of the wood belong to her just as much as the most innocent of smiles. The memory morphs, and now she’s holding on to me tight. Tears are running down her cheeks and she’s asking me to please never let go of her, for she knows her heart won’t withstand the blow. We’re standing at the edge of the cliff and the salty breeze tangles the hair my hands hold. I bury my nose in the mass of hair and hay and hyacinth. It feels like popsicles in summer and like waiting for the sunrise with a bearskin over your shoulders. I whisper into her ear that I will never let her go, that I will protect her and make her feel safe; but she doesn’t need saving. I learn that too fast, too late. Because she knows she will not withstand the wreckage that looms over us, she leaves before it hits this earth we tread, and as she walks away the air around her body explodes into a myriad blossoms and thus was Easter born.

I wake up and it’s dusk already. The bottle of whiskey on the table beside me is empty and, as I stand up, the creaking of the floorboards echoes the rattling of bones inside my body. I’m an old man now, but I once held her in my arms and her skin smelled of raspberries and wormwood. And we would make love against the oak trees and among the mosses; for our love was the love of warriors. It was ancestral and it was delicate and it was imperfect, but it was ours.

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