Snowflakes;

Fragile

yet elegant coat her,

nonchalant and magical.

How far

before

her legs give way and her blood turns cold?

One step

and her boots sink deep into the icy field of white.

How could I?

She smiled and in seconds, my heart was stolen. She held her hand out to me, beaming from ear to ear.

She had the cutest gap-toothed smile. Brown hair cascaded over her shoulders and a thick fringe hung over her forehead. Giggling, she took small steps towards me.

“I’m sorry.” She said, her voice clear as a bell.

“Do you know why you’re saying sorry?” I interrogated her as I bent down to get a close up of her beautiful eyes.

“I pushed him. It’s not nice to do so. I will give him my cupcake so he feels better.”

I sighed and a flicker of a laugh escaped my lips. How could one stay angry at a grade school student? It was an impossible feat.

Drifting.

Like so many times before, you welcome me with open arms. I give you a firm hug, a hug that says I’ve missed you. You laugh and smile, but I know that it’s not for me.

It doesn’t reach your eyes. It’s the smile you give to strangers, to people wheeling past.

Remember the times when we laughed about how our professors spoke with a weird voice? Or that time when you slept over at my place and we talked about deep topics? You had opened your heart to me back then.

What about now?

With withering hands, I hold on tight to the jewel that has been my life’s treasure; with politeness you throw it into the horizon like a skipping stone.

In the dark, midnight sky, I watch as it falls like a shooting star.

Here.

“Do you remember me?” I asked and stared into his eyes. His beautiful, double-lidded, hazel eyes.

He shook his head with an expression of both confusion and recognition. It was just after lunch. I couldn’t help but notice how his dark brown hair became an amber halo in the afternoon sun.

“Why do you keep asking me?” He frowned, his eyebrows arching in a questioning stare.

It was day fifty-one.

To him, I was probably this weird person whom he saw everyday, asking if he had any imaginary memories of me. If he did have memories of me, it was probably of me popping around randomly like a lost bunny.

He liked bunnies. He also liked draping his arm around my shoulder and I liked it when he did because it felt like home. I love you so much, he would say, his lips brushing against mine. He loved steak, sausage dogs and shadow boxing too.

Everything seemed surreal the night I received the call.

“There was a trauma to his head,” said the Doctor after the surgery. He had this clipboard in his arms and he was cloaked in white, like a messenger from God. “It’s fortunate that he’s alive. Give him some time.”

Give him some time. The words echoed endlessly in my head and I took in his blank, curious eyes. Part of me wanted to give up, yet part of me screamed for him to remember. It was weird, almost as if I had this split personality inside of me. Sometimes, there was this rage, this unstoppable anger that was like a wildfire. Then there was the deep pool of sadness.

I stood, plastered a smile on my face and waved goodbye.

“See ya tomorrow.” He said, his large hand waving goodbye.

The familiar phrase rang in my ears like a fire alarm; I couldn’t get any sleep that night.

It was day fifty-three. Like always, I went to the hospital for the daily visit. I caught him looking out of the mirror, his eyes moving from side to side as he watched cars drive past. He was so much like his old self that I almost ran into his arms. Almost.

“Hi.” I strode into the room and placed a subway bacon sandwich by his bedside.

“Is that for me?”

“Yup, thought you might like it more compared to the bland hospital meals.”

“That’s for sure.” He flashed his trademark lopsided grin and I stared at him, wide-eyed. It was the first time I had seen his old grin, the first in fifty-three days.

“Do… do you,” I paused and gulped hard. “Do you remember me?” A tiny speck of hope fluttered in my chest and my heart hammered against my ribcage.

“No.”

My heart sank. What was I expecting? Of course he wouldn’t like all the other days. If he did, he wouldn’t be looking at me like that with those sad hazel eyes.

On day fifty-four, I broke my old traditional routine. Instead of visiting that stark white building that placed the old houses beside it to shame, I switched shifts with my co-worker. It was her anniversary. She beamed with happiness that shone through the dark clouds in my mind.

It was day sixty. It’s been six days since I last visited him. I wonder how he’s doing in that place that smells of medicine, chlorine and disease. My nose dripped and I blew it for the twentieth time. Damn colds.

It was three in the morning when the phone rang. I groaned. I didn’t want to answer it since it was all the way in the living room. I pulled the blankets tighter around my shoulders, cocooning myself like a caterpillar.

It rang again. And again. Exhausted and sluggish, I made my way to that damn phone on that damn coffee table. I swung myself onto the sofa and sank into it. It was the hospital. They probably needed more paperwork from me and they couldn’t wait till the damn morning.

“Yes?” I answered, an edge of anger to my voice. It probably sounded like I had a slug down my throat due to the cold. An all too familiar baritone rang in my ears and my eyes went wide despite my drowsiness.

“Hey it’s me… Sorry for calling at this hour.” His voice was apologetic and I could easily envision it squirming a little awkwardly in the palm of my hand.

“No it’s alright,” I smiled despite myself. It was hard to control. “What’s the matter?”

“Yes.”

“Yes?”

“To your question.” There was a long pause and all I heard was his ragged breathing.”I remember how much I love you Violet.”

Haunted.

Oh little one,
why didn’t you flee?
Why didn’t you let your legs
carry you far and free?

Oh little one,
keep running, don’t look back–
Remember my golden curls in all its glory,
not this bloodied, lifeless wreck.

Oh little one,
’tis is a rough and gravelled road.
“Take the road less traveled,” they said
Ha! It has stolen precious empathy,
a cursed, beloved abode.

Oh little one,
in the years to come,
will you come to loathe and
loathe,
holding love

for none?

Soloveiko

Her eyes are glassy.
Her scrawny hands tremble and she watches the nightingale flit
through the green shadows of nature
its angelic feathers beautiful in movement–

No! She searches the sky wildly, eager to capture a glimpse of the small, agile creature
its flapping wings and small beak
the tuft of blue and orange that spreads from its breast;

Clear, sweet birdsong breaks through the rustling of leaves
the melody warm despite the chill of the season.
The blue-throated nightingale whispers soft words:

Come home love
Come home.

Slowly, then all of a sudden.

Life brushes past me, its serene existence sending ripples through the air. A light breeze, smelling vaguely of leaves, caresses my cheek, and the rugged surface of the park bench presses into the back of thighs. Slowly, I stand. Strange. A quietness fills my mind as I watch the scene before me.

I start thinking about what I did today, what I ate for breakfast, what I said to Mom before I left the house. What I didn’t do in the past month. My gaze focuses upon a couple, their bodies leaning upon one another’s, their fingers entwined. A smile creeps across my lips as she leans in for a kiss and his ears turn bright red. Cute. He runs his fingers through her shoulder-length light brown hair, the way you used to do it. He pulls her towards him before planting the kiss softly against her lips. Confusion bombards me momentarily as memories start trickling into my head in a steady stream. His silhouette uncannily resembles yours, with broad shoulders and a slight lean towards the right. The way you placed your elbow slightly behind your back. How you liked to wear white, light shirts on a sunny day, and the way your biceps bulged slightly from your sleeves.

“Hey, been waiting long?”

I tear my eyes away and look over my shoulder. A young man places his arm around my back and guides me to the park bench. Apparently I seemed to have wandered quite a distance away from it. The leaves of an old oak tree rustle overhead, and I remember, for a moment, of a special summer. But it slips away from me and I feel the odd texture of the bench pressing into the back of my thighs once again.

“Taking a stroll?” The young man sighs and wipes my forehead with a damp towel. He has light brown hair that curls slightly upwards, and deep, dark eyes that look strangely familiar. I like the way his skin glows in the midday sun and strangely, I feel secure. Something I hadn’t felt in months.

I stare at him for the longest time and he fidgets a little uncomfortably under my gaze.

“Is this a staring competition?” He asks, his eyes glimmering with amusement as he laughs and places his hand over mine.

I am reminded of a time long ago. Of myself before a coffee maker, and of an older version of the young man standing behind me. He calls out my name and I turn, smiling. He gives me that same look with his eyes, and I am filled with a sense of belonging and warmth.

But all too soon, it starts to blur and fade. Afraid and confused, I clutch the young man’s hand tightly as if I am hanging on the edge of a cliff and holding on for my dear life. He strokes the the back of my hand with soft, rhythmic strokes and I am reassured by his warm smile and gentle touch.

“I’ll be right here.” He pats my back in small, smooth strokes with his other hand, and I feel my breath deepen and fall into harmony with the rustling leaves. I hear a ringtone, and he puts his hand into his pocket and retrieves his mobile. He gives me a “wait a moment” gesture and I nod quickly. Parts of his conversation slip through and it vaguely registers in my head.

“Yeah, it’s getting worse… Mistook… think she’s forgetting more…Yes, dementia.”

Dementia. That word rings in my head as I stare absently ahead.

The sky burns a deep, orange-red, and the clouds look like puffs of red explosions, like they did during The War. Birdsong entwines with the sound of soft rustling leaves. A sense of urgency and fear engulfs me and I remember.

“Jack! Where are you?”

“Right here Mom.” The man beside me clutches my hand tightly.

“Thank goodness. Where’s your Daddy?”

Silence fills the air as that moment of clarity drifts further away.

“I love you Mom.”

 

—-

[timed writing!]