Lady, my lady..it was not so long ago that we'd sit here in my ill-kept abode, chatting about fine wines, where we would go, what we would do…dinner plans and always meaning to walk around the sea wall; but never doing it. But somehow, within my grim walls, we kept the demons away; ecstatic in each others company. All the impossible plans we made, all the talking. Sleeping late, drinking espresso's tasting of grit and bitterness courtesy of my pathetic cappuccino machine. In the end, we'd do nothing…nothing except love each other; somehow it was okay. It was enough. Dark wraiths dogged our lives, shadowed our thoughts….though we both tried to pretend otherwise. Your drugs; the escape the needle promised but never delivered. My shadows…of a lost lover; creeping off the walls, straight into my heart. And now, with your mind damaged near to death, but falling short…unmercifully short, do you ever remember our mornings? Does your heavy curtain ever lift? God how I miss you! But I catch myself. God cannot exist; or if he does, has demons all of his own; devils he makes deals with. Leaving me as a witness; leaving you brain dead, a cripple.
Was it your fear, your devils that kept us pressed close, searing our fears into each other's frail and trembling flesh? You called them monsters, telling me the world was full of them. I think of them as phantoms borne out of fear, like furtive branches knocking hard against the windows of our tortured souls. How I miss you; our wonderful mornings, the few we shared.
Too late, I shout. "I miss you! I love you!" Why did you think I wouldn't. The night I came home, so very late; the scent of young Kat still on my body. You laughed at the expression on my face, laughed harder at my guilt; not even asking what I'd done with her. Laughed. Forgave me for being just a man. I'd crush a glass and eat it if only I could have that night back. I wonder…did you laugh when we were not together? I sit here, you….so much in my thoughts; your laughter echoing in my mind.
Do you…can you, remember? Our mornings; your glistening skin, porcelain with just a hint of peach. So clean, so fucking white! How you would come out of the shower, lean over me…dripping, laughing into my still sleeping face. Our lives somehow cobbled and battered together, as later we would huddle in front of Starbuck's, sipping our coffee, plotting. I didn't know those times were the beginnings of memories, cast forever in the morning's pallid light. How I took it all for granted, the precious times we had together. You were so white…so beautiful. My coffee is as cold as my soul; for the first time in my life I am old.
How desperate we both were, knocking ourselves against each other; our bodies in frenzied embrace. Yet our heart's could not collide—mine still in the clutch of another, your's numbed by the needle. So connected in our lovemaking; losing ourselves, trying to ignore the needle and the shadows. Why did you go? Heroin taking you too early in our timelessness. It crept through your body, shredding your soul….and if I had been paying more attention, tearing my heart to pieces. And like I said, I feel old. Losing you has staggered me, dropped me into the abyss. I think of you lying in your bed, connected to a cold, neutral machine; and I weep.
I've told myself; lied to myself that your going was not my fault, not really. Yet sometimes I hate you for picking the needle over me. I hate myself for still loving another, but not for driving her away. But most of all, I hate myself for not standing beside you. For together, we might have done what you could not do alone—defeat the devil invading your soul through your arm.
I had a visitor last night, or at least I thought I did. She came to me; fragile as she sat outside my window. Gently, she pushed both her tiny hands against the glass. She almost spoke, whispering instead about how I pushed her away. She's trying to tell me that she too is leaving me; out of my heart, off my walls…never to return. Do I care? No. All I could think about was you. "Why couldn't you have left earlier." I asked her.
She didn't answer.
I feel alone. I miss you.
About the writer in his own words:
"I'm fifty years old and have written a few short stories, one play and a sorry, sorry attempt at something larger. I can't in all honesty call it a novel, but... This story is part of a short story collection all about the last city on Earth. For convenience, I've used Vancouver, B.C. There isn't much of an order to the various stories. Something along the lines of 'Martian Chronicles' if I could be so bold as to use that as a guide.
Oh..I guess I could tell you that my very first story ever written found a home on the second submission. "Harsh Mistress" in Illinois bought my 1992 near-future story and also did me the honor of making it their cover story. I've only recently re-read that story and blush at how incredibly klunky it is. I'd like to re-write it (for my own satisfaction) and see what I can do with it."
Larry can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
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