Monday, June 20, 2011

his absent presence

It is my regrettable habit to come here and remember.
Every morning before mother wakes up, wanting my company and her breakfast, I come to this field that lies a short distance from the house I fear I'll live in forever. There is nothing outstanding-looking about this field. One needs to have past memories to see the extraordinariness of such an ordinary place. The field's plethora of clover holds no lucky four-leafs that anyone has ever found, but rather memories in soothing, green abundance. The sharpest eye on earth couldn't spot the two entwined souls that once lay in the clover; they're only a remembrance now.
Even the lone tree in the upper right corner of the field holds no man-made scars, outward crude initials on its bark; the backs that together leaned against its trunk left no imprint.
There are birds, ever present, though not always noticed. Sometimes I hear echoes of past conversations as if the birds were parrots and mynas instead of robins and wrens.
"Many don't come back." I hear him say.
He said it so many times and my mind repeated it back. Sometimes I think it was just a lesson I memorized to mindlessly drone in reply to those who asked what my knowledge amounted to. Yet at the same time, I did know it and feel it and taste it. It felt like a punch, tasted like blood in my mouth.
Still, it did not prepare me for this outcome. I expected black or white... not this disconcerting grey.

Every time I go to see him echoes from the field follow.
"I will love you forever."
I look into his eyes and search for that forever in their blue blankness. Nothing is there.
"It is okay to move on when... if I am gone." His voice in my mind says.
I look down at his pale hand I grasp. "Why didn't we ever define the word 'gone'?" I ask, though he never notices or responds. "Your body is here, but your mind has folded into itself as if it never existed. If I should lay my head upon your chest your heartbeat would pound underneath my searching ear. Does your heart still function in ways besides its task of pumping blood?
I prepared myself to love you without an arm or a leg; I don’t know what to do with someone who has lost everything except their outward appendages. I was ready to love whatever havoc guns and army life would wreak on you. Without second thought, I would have stayed by your side always, stopped the nights from tearing you apart with unseen claws.
You were mine, that was enough. Now I don't know who you belong to. You're lost in a land they tell me you will never return from."

Whether I cry these things aloud or just think them makes no difference; he doesn't hear either way.

Somehow my remembering of the past and how we once were always turns into an inventory of my present. I must go in soon and get mother her breakfast. My skirt is damp from the dew-stained clover. Mother will look at my soggy skirts disapprovingly, as she does every day. Perhaps she knows the field is where I keep my memories and each morning I sit among them as they roam around me. She thinks I need to move on, she and her friends plot together and introduce me to men deemed suitable who are all wrong. (They aren't him.)
She doesn't understand. For now I must, I must keep coming here. But I feel... and am more than reluctant to admit that there may come a time when I won't come anymore; I will have moved on and will want to forget. Though I admit this, it still frightens me; I don't want to become someone who wants to forget.
I almost get up to leave, but I decide to surrender. I lie down in the clover and stare into the blank sky. I shut my eyes and let the memories close in on me. Mother's breakfast will have to wait.

(This story was inspired by a character in the Maisie Dobbs mysteries by Jacqueline Winspear. A character "...whose terrible injuries in the Great War had rendered him incapacitated in body and mind." [from the third book in the series "Pardonable Lies".])

{Painting is 'Girl in Field' by Eric Hu.}


  1. I love this exploration of past and present...longing and love...remembering and forgetting...body and emotion. Powerful story. <3

  2. What a wonderful story. I love the provocative descriptions and the mood of love and loss(?) expressed in poetic proses.

  3. Gypsy: <3 <3!!! :)

    Jade: Thank you so much, dearest! <3 I have to admit, I thought it was a throwaway after I finished writing it. But when I read it again the other day, I liked it more.

    Shopgirl: Oh, thank you! I appreciate your comment so much.

  4. I don't want to become someone who wants to forget too. <3

    This story makes me tear up, my melee. What made you think it was a throwaway? Well if it is, i will pick it up a thousand times and one just to put it in a book.

    I don't know anything else to say but thank you. for this. And please, write a book! :)

    (p.s. my little kitty is playing with his tail right now. and he's getting my attention away from your words. you are beautiful!)

  5. This is haunting and beautiful, dear. Absolutely amazing. You're a great writer :)

    (ps. I don't know if you remember me or not but I remember you. I used to have a blog, black feathers. I could say I'm back now.)

  6. haze: Thank you, darling. You're the sweetest. <3 I don't know - sometimes I write things and don't like them very much. But, as with this one, I grew to like it once I typed it up and made a few changes.

    And be assured, I am doing my best to fulfill your desire for me to write a book. ;)

    (Awww, your sweet little kitty! Give him a hug for me. *blush* Thank you. You're mighty beautiful yourself!)

    Jessica Alena: Oh, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    Of course I remember you! I thought that's who you were (on goodreads) but didn't ask on the minuscule chance I was wrong, heh. I'm delighted you're back. :)

  7. Heartwrenching, and perfect. I love those words that make my heart ache so terribly that it's all I feel. We musn't forget, for what have we without our memories? They truly are the biggest thing we could ever give up.

    xx and hugs


  8. Thank you so much, sweetest Jhordyn. <3
    Memories are so terribly important, indeed. I have a fear of developing a disease in my old age that will make me forget everything. It is a morbid thought, so I do not dwell on it. Still... *shudders*

  9. That is my dearest dream and it comes closer to happening every day. (Though it is a frightfully slow process.) Having the encouragement of others regarding that means so much to me - thank you. :)

  10. This is hauntingly beautiful, my love.
    Would we know when we had not memories?

  11. This is such a lovely story, Melee! And I think the picture works beautifully with the piece (good choice!).

    You gotta love slightly creepy mothers - they always add something to stories. But I identified with the girl as well, because I too like to drown myself in memories. Sometimes I daydream too much to remember the past, but it's nice to look back at your childhood, or to some important moment, and take the time to think about it.

    Great job, lovely post :)

  12. this is so wonderful and thought-provoking
    please never stop writing <3

  13. Heather: Thank you, dearest.
    I do not know. <3

    CloudyKim: Thank you so much! I'm glad you like the picture; I was abolutely euphoric when I found it because it was simply perfect!

    Oh, good! You got a "slightly creepy mother vibe" - I was definitely going for an unlikable character, but wasn't sure whether it was evident or not. Hehe.
    I am quite guilty of that as well!

    not wendy: Thank you, lovely.
    I would have to die first. <3

  14. This is touching. I love the moments of remembering, and how it ended plays my mind some tricks of thought. Lovely, Melee!

    p.s., i was sooo away, i missed reading your posts a lot, it's refreshing to visit your blog today ^_^

  15. Thank you so much, Goldimyrr! I love those too.

    Awww, thank you! I've missed you as well. :)

  16. Oh, this is so lovely and haunting. <3 It perfectly captures the mood of a person who lives in memories.

  17. Thank you ever so much, sweet Lumina. <3

  18. Melancholy brilliance.

  19. Thank you, Jenica. You're lovely. <3


Silhouettes of a secret. A story told over a cuppa. Or perhaps just sitting on that stone bench, basking in the moonlight... and not saying anything at all.

("I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks." -Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)