So another week and another wonderful guest post. I feel blessed that people are being so generous and contributing to my humble blog. I also feel a bit challenged and guilty that I haven’t contributed myself for a while! But when quality is offered who am I to refuse?
Today’s post is a thoughtful piece of short fiction from another of my great twitter compadres, Krystal Wade. You can contact her on twitter – @krystalwade or read more of her writing at her blog – www.krystalwade.blogspot.com or on Facebook Krystal Wade
Thanks to Krystal. As always all comments are highly welcomed…
Mark and Lilly
A chill crept its way into my sleeping bag, drawing my eyes open. I’d fallen asleep next to the fire and it had long since died down, leaving only a few cracking embers. Night fought against the first dim-gray lights of dawn, reminding me so much of my favorite time spent on this mountainside with Mark.
But now I found myself alone, sitting in the very spot he’d proposed.
My love was killed long ago. He lost his life in a senseless war, fought for reasons no one could possibly understand. I’m not even sure those who started it understood.
I breathed in the fresh mountain air, allowing the smells of pine and freshly fallen oak leaves to fill my weary soul.
Our children grew up without a father. I refused to remarry, refused to replace him in my heart. How could I? I promised to love him forever, in life and death. I couldn’t open my heart any wider than I already had for him. There wasn’t room for another love.
This place reminded me of who we were together. Who we dreamed of becoming together. When I sat on the rocky earth covered in slick dew, I felt connected to him, at peace, whole.
Being old made the trips to our spot more difficult. The children—if I could call them that anymore—tried to convince me not to come. Begged me even. Being eighty-three shouldn’t stop me from being me. Shouldn’t stop me from doing what I desire in my core. But the thin air must have played tricks on my mind. In all the years I’d hiked to Turk Gap, I’d never heard him speak to me before—and never had I wanted to speak to him so badly.
My organs gave out on me often, landing me in the hospital with my children and their children around me, exchanging worried glances, hugs, tears. But they didn’t know how much I welcomed my passing, how much I needed it. Those damned doctors brought me back every time, stealing me away from my hope for Heaven, for my hope to see Mark again.
“Lilly you old fool. Stand and face me.”
I closed my eyes, picturing the face that went along with the voice I kept hearing. Fair skin accentuated his high cheekbones and striking-blue eyes. His short brown hair is what I loved the most and how it complimented the rest of him. His jaw was chiseled. Mark’s lips were perfectly pink and never pouty. In our fifteen years together I never caught his gaze on any woman but me. Never saw him cradle a hand the way he did mine. We had love. We had hope. We had the world in our grasp, but then he was gone, and I had everything he left behind.
“I’m sorry, Lilly.” A warm, strong hand clamped my right shoulder. The touch, just like Mark’s, sent an ache to my heart, matching the pain I felt on the day of his funeral.
Giving into my aging desires, I looked up to face whoever it was disturbing my solitude. “Mark . . . ?”
But how could this be? He appeared the same as the last time we were here. The man before me couldn’t be my Mark, couldn’t be my love, could he? I pat his hand, feeling for the ring, for some sign this was anyone but him.
He smiled, genuine, loving, wide. “I know you don’t understand, Lilly, but take my hand and we can be together again.”
I glanced at my cane lying on the ground next to me. “You may have to help me up. I am nothing but an aged old woman now, Mark. Look at you . . . .”
Trembling, I broke down and cried. I was going crazy—losing my marbles as the grandchildren would say. My stomach stirred, agony ripped up my chest and escaped my mouth. “God, why? Why did you steal him from me? Why are you playing games with this old woman’s heart? Just end me. Let me be with him again. Let me be free.”
The hallucination gripped me under the arms and chuckled. “My dearest, Lilly, I’m here to bring you home. Please, take my hand.”
How could I say no? I couldn’t. Grasping Mark’s hand with my knobby fingers, I stood and walked with him through the forest. My breathing calmed. My aches and pains of age diminished. The world around us grew bright. Trees blended in with the light. Leaves and rocks no longer crunched under our feet. Night was replaced with nothing but soft white and Mark.
The way we were meant to be.
The way we would be for the rest of eternity.
© 2011 Krystal Wade