posted on Dec, 31 2011 @ 02:20 PM
He awoke with a start. The dreams he’d had were many and extremely vivid, as had been the case with all his dreams since entering this last phase of
life. As if his mind was now preparing him for the final transition, the graduation ceremony, as it were, from what had so long been home for him. All
of it, once so critical and so momentous, and now, so fleeting and insubstantial. Like a dream itself, nearing that awakening to the dream that holds
all dreams within itself as brief flashes of joy, pain, wonder, and endless drudgery. Life cascading into life and on into new life, as passageways
open to hallways that lead on to tunnels that, then, loop back around again, bringing him back to the start each time with new revelation, new
perspective, with which to see it all fresh and vibrantly new, as yet again, the journey awaits.
Of course, as he lay there - his head resting against the pillow - he was oblivious to such a pattern. To any patterns of any sort. She was dying,
and all he knew was that she'd finally admitted that she loved him, that she'd always loved him, and that she still loves him after all these long
years. He'd so often played the maudlin fool, with those hideously syrupy confessional letters he'd written - each serially ending their life-long
commitment to each other; so many times she'd broken his heart with her absentminded disregard for his brittle ego. Even through the long string of
romantic partners that each of them had gathered over the years, only to leave twisting in a cold black wind once the novelty had worn off. Again and
again, it had been the two of them, staggering back to the center with harrowing tales of duplicity and transgression on the part of those villains
who’d sinned against them by accepting their crippled affections. As if the two of them had contracted a study on the limits of human emotional
endurance, and were required to periodically meet and assess the carnage before launching into further field work.
He smiled as he looked to her, lying next to him in her tiny fetal curl. Her hair was still thick and flowing, even as its deep rich ebony had been
supplanted by a December's clean, fresh blanket of white. She was still beautiful. Her skin, as soft as he'd always imagined it might be. Her amber
eyes, still as fresh and aware as they'd been the first time he noticed their flashing brilliance, finally emerged from beneath the unruly mop that
had hidden her from the world until the age of fifteen, when at last he'd seen her for the first time ever – as if he hadn't grown right next door
to her since his earliest memory – and realized that this would be the only one who could ever matter to him from that moment on. Her tiny, delicate
frame, curled into him, so perfectly formed into him as they whispered their love for each other just a few hours before. It was all so perfect, and
so worth the many years of miscue and disastrous serendipity that brought them both, finally, to this moment of inevitable rendezvous.
He reached to touch her hair, and suddenly noticed the faint tone that had replaced the incessant beep, beep, beep of the night before. A wave of
anguish washed over him, as he allowed his hand to move along her perfect cheek and rest against the smooth flow of her neck. She was ice cold.
He allowed a tear to roll down from the corner of his eye to tickle his ear as it made its way to the pillow that had so recently cradled his head
during his life's most perfect moment. The defeat was absolute, and he bowed to the masterful irony of it all as he lifted to turn off the monitor.
It was hospice, and when the staff finished their rounds, they’d be in to clean the room. No cause for emergency in any case. People came here to
die. They didn’t come here to be saved from death.
He lay back down and pulled her to him once again. He lifted her arm to lay across his chest as she'd done just a few hours before. He pressed her
head to the same part of his shoulder where she'd told him of her regret that they’d never married. Of how she’d suffered in his absence, even as
she'd willfully denied her own longing for his presence, his touch – his love in her life. He felt her tears once again as that beautiful moment
came back to him as more than a dream. More than a vision of what would never again be for him. More real than the cold, dim room that held the last
lost chance for happiness in his life. A life filled beyond capacity with lost chances for anything resembling happiness, or even contentment. And
this, the final loss.
He settled back and allowed his mind to wander through his life with her. Each smile, each perplexing glance, each momentary yes followed by the
inevitable no, as she played fox to his clumsy hound through meadow and thicket, over miles of forest and open field. She - always pulling up just
enough to allow him vicinity, while denying him capture, and always – always – denying him the failure he'd need to call off the hunt. A fox in
love with the chase - in desperate need of the one hapless hound that faithfully gave her that chase - running both through the lives of so many
His quieting mind lingered briefly over the women he'd given away to aloneness, and, in some cases, to blistering grief, on her behalf. As if
they'd been only a series of meals to sustain his pursuit of the one who would soon, once again, draw him through life with such relentless
dedication. And yet, if the chase is truly own by the fox and the hound, then they’d wed through that chase long ago, and had remained faithful to
one another until the very end, with all other lovers merely streams, barns and fences littering the landscape as the pursuit unfolded from year to
He thought of her string of lovers, and how he'd always been the chink in their armor; the knave beneath the petticoat as their ignorance of who she
was and why she was such an enigma bonded the two of them against each and every one who dared enter their circle. Ravishing and maddeningly sensual,
she'd wrapped one after another around her life in brief torrents of domesticity, only to shred each of them in her mania for that which only he
could provide. That forever freshness of tortured devotion. The madness of an unrequited love drenched in a passion denied through circumstance;
certainly not through disinterest. As an eternal Juliet to his Romeo, she lived lost forever to the brutality of fate, even as the tragedy of it all
was allowed to play again and again. And all the while she'd staged each scene and directed every action.
And he, in his blinded love, played his part with heartbreaking sincerity over and over and over again. Thoughtlessly accepting the failure that had
been written into the script long before, as if it were a torturous revelation each time it rolled back around again to achieve that same familiar
despair that she'd coaxed from him the last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.
He felt his thoughts begin to slide into new areas of wander, as the comfort of holding her swept through his frail, aged body and lifted the weight
of the last 87 years slightly. He contemplated the whole of life, and the value of existence. What had been lost, versus what had been gained in his
own life. Had anything been lost or gained? Had any of it accounted for anything at all? He'd only succeeded in one thing; in loving her until she
was no more.