Glistening lips kissing raw,
Beneath pale moonbeam,
Inclement hearts squander love
Glistening lips kissing raw,
Beneath pale moonbeam,
Inclement hearts squander love
She handpicked the last rose of summer; watched the petals wilt into a ballet of depression. The ghost of his apology of deceit had bred in her mind for days. She knew that walking unafraid in a world devoid of him could never equal the burning desire of a restored heart. She crushed the rose in her hand. Someday she would visit his office and attempt to rekindle the love of her lover; a man whom she would always believe to be a raw diamond in the earth.
Crimson rays from the setting sun had stirred life in to the lank, concrete buildings. The glower of taxi headlights had greeted me with their vitality; and had sculpted hopes and dreams inside my heart. I had watched a man limp up Lexington Avenue. He’d asked the world what their dreams were; or had been. I had tried to offer him an answer; but his silhouette had vanished within the towering steam that had emanated from the street’s drains. And, I had known then, that that flash had been my New York minute.
She narrates a passage from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; and her heart simmers as he watches her lips, with his ancient eyes.
‘A tragic story, my love,’ he says, brushing his fingers over the calligraphic text.
He bends to kiss her. She gasps, and feels blood trail down her neck. She watches it drip onto the page and expand like large ink spots.
‘You’re now immortal; and my death will shortly follow,’ he says.
He falls to the floor; and she watches his face turn pastel.
And on this day, every thousand years, she lights a candle in his memory.
My senses are more profound in the spirit world. Today I hover above my gravestone and listen to melodious birdsong. I watch sunbeams saturate the cemetery in ethereal pallor. I suddenly sense the familiar saccharine scent of white carnation, and I turn to see my wife standing before my grave, holding a white bouquet.
“Life is dreadful. I miss you dearly,” she whispers.
She lays the bouquet upon my grave and sobs into a tissue. She walks away. I try to pull her back, to console her, but my hands pass through her. She disappears. And I’m left heartbroken.
I dig my nails into his tattoo, and watch my name Rosa fall to pieces upon his skin. In his sleep, he releases silent billows of air; and I inhale them devotedly, counting one, two and three. I feel like I could consume every part of him. He must feel me digging him, for he awakes startled, tired and bemused. He tugs his arm from my grip, looks at me as though I’m crazy, and rolls over on the bed. His coldness kills me. My head sinks heavily into the pillow. My body shivers with emptiness, and I curl into a comfort ball, pulling my knees, my arms, into my chest. My heart wrings knowing that he’s out of my reach. And my mind cries for just an ounce of his love.
With time, she longs to wither away; like a flower that has succumbed to frost, in the onset of autumn. She seeks solace in quiet corners, in solitude, where four walls assist to extract the misery from her mind, the tears from her heart. She shifts her head to a dry, soothing part of the pillow and stares at the ceiling; her watery eyes flick to a spider that meanders purposefully, and she wonders where it is headed, she longs to follow it.
‘Please find me a new magical world, far from this coldness, this darkness.’ She whispers.
Her pleading words reverberate repeatedly off the walls, and lull her eyes to close, her thoughts to float aimlessly; and then her monochrome world begins to disintegrate.
‘Welcome to the enchanted land of Bali.’ A voice speaks.
She smiles at the hospitable words of the guru. The creases in his forehead express much wisdom; his aged hands would no doubt dramatize many a virtuous story from his past, she thought.
‘You are invited to absorb this beautiful paradise, where people come to heal. Take warmth from the dazzling sun; let it infiltrate your body and renew you. Let the wondrous tropical fish overwhelm you with their beauty, colour and movement. Fix your senses on the nearby orange gerberas and let their fragrance calm your spirit, awaken you. May all of the nature here hypnotize; fill you with joy and wonder. Remember, you can visit this Oasis at anytime. It’s your retreat.’
She absorbs every word the guru offers, and explores the lands in delight. She smiles at his hospitable words once more; before the Oasis slowly disappears from her.
She awakes. She is content. She is transformed. She looks up to the ceiling; the spider has gone. She thanks it for its inspiration. She thanks the guru for her journey. She thanks the world for offering its warmth, its gift. She thanks the world for her life.
The haunting notes of Tchaikovsky satiates the emotions of its listeners; and as the dancing swans pirouette effortlessly and transversely upon the stage, the spectators will gasp in horror as the one I love falls to her death. I have witnessed her demise a thousand times; and my heart never fails to be wounded. Her blood seeps through layers of tulle and feathers, in the same moment that her dark-shaded eyes close and the curtains fall. As I rise from my seat for what will be the last time, I enter the dark streets alone; knowing that her gaze had never met mine, knowing that she never knew how enthralled I was by her beauty.
I stagger along the tree-arched footpath; the bronze light through decaying trees no doubt casting cracked contours upon my face. I take a swig from the bottle. I seek the nearest bench and curl up on its mouldy slats. I eye every passing stranger who looks at me with fear and disgust. I must look vile. I abandon the thought and take out the torn notepaper from my pocket; a letter that he’d left upon the kitchen table for me to find, one year ago. I read it for what must be the billionth time; each and every word causing my heart to bleed, my soul to cry.
My dearest Sally,
I spoke with the doctor today. He said I only have three months to live.
I am devastated. I am lost. I need to run.
I cannot let you see me deteriorate every day.
I want you to remember me for who I am.
I am headed to a place far from here; the sea shall wash away the pain.
Please do not look for me.
I will always love you my angel.
Our love will never die.
Smile your beautiful smile, always.
I take another swig from the bottle, close my eyes, and fall into stagnation.
‘Isaac, shortly you will enter your desired dream. Now you must ensure that your body is in a relaxed state, and that you allow my first few words to sink slowly into the alcoves of your mind. For several minutes my words will introduce you to the setting, and thereafter, the path you take, the characters you encounter, will be of your own design. Should you feel uncomfortable with the dream at any stage, be sure to tap my palm three times, and I will talk you back into reality. I cannot stress enough, the importance of these taps. Failure to react in good time, can lead to violent nightmares, confusion, and more than often, seizures. It can take patients weeks to recover psychologically; while some never do. Ok, are you sure that you are ready to proceed; to pursue your answer?’
‘Yes Dream Maker,’ Isaac replies, ‘I’m ready.’ His body lays stiff on the surgery bed. His dark-rimmed eyes speak of months of sleepless nights, brought on by the frustration, of never knowing who had murdered his dear wife, Irise.
‘Isaac, then we shall begin.’ The Dream Maker places his bony fingers on Isaacs’ forehead, and as he begins to speak, blue vapours spiral from his mouth, and slowly fill the room.
‘Now… relax… breathe slowly… and let your five senses open. You are walking towards the peaked horizon of earths’ circular soul… you see cerulean skies rotate into silver-watercolour-curls in the far distance… they are inviting you… and you step in… you are now strolling towards the end of a rainbow… there you smell the colours of crimson and coral, of cobalt and ochre… and you see that the rainbow is a bridge… that it has a sign… the sign bears an arrow… you are following the arrow… you are walking over the rainbow… you have suddenly stopped at the start of a silver path… and it is here, Isaac, that you make your dream your own.’
Isaac shuffles on the bed. His eyes twitch, as he accepts this new, vivid world; and he continues to dream of his own accord.
Coldness hits me… it’s nearing dusk… time is ticking… I need to find Irise… I’m sprinting along the silver-winding path… insidious trees overhang and attempt to reach out… to touch me… to stop me… but I’m too fast. I arrive at the end of the path… it opens out onto a floral yellow carpet… I walk over it… I can hear weeping… the weeping is coming from behind a tree… I sprint to the tree… there’s a woman with flowing, auburn hair… she is standing in a yellow robe… her face is pale… her eyes are hollow… she tells me she is a lost angel… that she’s my lost angel… she is opening her hands to reach me… to touch me… I am confused… this is not Irise!… this is not my Irise!… I need to escape… to run…
Isaacs’ body twists violently on the bed. His eyes have moved to the back of his head. The Dream Master stands up ‘Isaac, tap my palm three times!’ he urges. But Isaacs’ body continues to distort, uncontrollably.
She tells me that she is my Irise… she is gripping me… pulling me towards her… I try to break free, but my feet are floating helplessly… she is putting her face close to mine… it is Irise!… her face had been distorting into the faces of others… of her family… her friends… I hadn’t recognised her… Please Irise! Stop pulling me! I have come here to help you! To identify your murderer! To kill him, when I return to earth! So we can both be at peace, when he dies! She is laughing at me… she tells me I don’t remember anything… that I am a fool for coming here… that we can never be at peace… she loosens her grip on me… I fall to my feet… my feet are sinking into the floral carpet… she is walking away… I try to follow her… but my feet are grounded… Come back Irise! Tell me who killed you! She looks over her shoulder… she tells me that she will weep forever… that her distorted faces… the ones I have seen… were the faces of the people that miss her… love her, down on earth… that my face will never be seen in hers… because I never loved her… I am confused! I love her! I thought she loved me? She doesn’t love me! She can’t love me, for she is walking away! Leaving me here! Come back Irise! I love you! I have always loved you! Why do you run from me? She is laughing… she tells me I am strange… she tells me how I hated her for years… that I had resented her… for sending me to a shrink… that I had struggled with sanity for many years… that I’d go through depressive states…manic highs… that I’d made her afraid to be around me… that she couldn’t take any more… that she wanted to leave… that I wouldn’t let her leave… that I’d hated her but wouldn’t let her leave… she tells me that I was the one that killed her…
she is weeping… she is smiling at me… she is walking away… she looks behind her shoulder… she tells me that my ears will forever hear her weeping… she is fading into the horizon… my body is shivering… it’s cold… so cold… I am trying to move my feet… to follow her… to tell her I love her… again… but they are stuck… it’s nearing dusk… I am standing here… alone… grounded… and her weeping haunts my ears…
‘Isaac, tap!’ The Dream Master shouts, as the bed flips to the floor. The Dream Machine moves from low-to-high-alert in seconds; its high-pitch deafens the Dream Maker. He flees the room, where the blue vapours have turned into hot amber billows. And in that moment, Isaacs ’heart stops beating.
‘Hello? Who the hell is this? Will you please stop calling me?’
Heavy breathing penetrates the phone receiver, whilst keyboard taps meld with sounds of spittle. Then silence.
Marian’s heart thumps; she drops the receiver, flees the house, stands in the road and stares witlessly at every unlit window surrounding her.
In an apartment, ten blocks away, he hangs up and types.
Be the peace you are looking for
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