A spark, a little glowing ember, one I thought had gone extinct, but was only banked, I see now. Hope, that lovely spirit, re-enters, and I feel re-born while still in the same flesh I brought to this life.
Fall arrives. We called it autumn once, but no longer. A pity, that loss of the elegance of language.
Johnny, oh Johnny. We kicked and laughed, and smiled, red checked in the crisp Yorkshire air. So long ago, that kiss under a bronzed tree. That question, that promise, that "Oh yes, please, let's!" Old people dressed as children yet again, knowing with the knowledge of the old, yet hoping with the hearts of children, too, that this time, this time...
No need for precognition, we all knew that lovely spring day, that our dance would soon turn macabre, for did you and my brother, and your brother, and so many of our dear friends, not come home from Spain for that wedding in full knowledge of the coming storm?
Was that the night I went out on the terrace for a secret cigarette only to find dear, dearest Nigel there before me? What was I wearing, I remember it was cream coloured. Blonds should not wear cream, but it was the fashion, and so I rustled and startled him, and he put that brave smile back upon his face. He said something inconsequential, and went back into the house, leaving me to wonder what depths he'd been down to. How like me to have missed her, to have missed him, to have been impatient with both of them for their seemingly unconnected glooms. Was that the night he knew he would die never having held her?
Just before she died, not very many months before, she and I spoke, and for a moment we were two young women putting on a brave front for the troops, and I could see her in that splendid gown, a colour she and only she alone could have pulled off, surrounded by so many of our men. A sea of their wools and her the bright and beautiful bobbin in that ocean. Stupidly I asked her if she ever married her Lt., and she shook her head, and we were back in the horrid 21st century, her a paper thin and frail thing, dying, though I would not know it then. She whispered "Nigel," and I was alone again, with ghosts and shadows around me, as usual, as always.
Yours, too, Johnny my Johnny. I put my hand up to loosen the too tight collar you men always seem to favour, even now, and suddenly you were not in that lovely dinner jacket you wore so well, but a uniform.
And then you made it up from the beach, you and your men, but not through the field, and I saw you die, again, and not too very long after, I followed.
My heart, do you know what day this is? What day it really is, though they have changed the calendar, and tried to mark it last week?
We know the truth, or do you, anymore? She had to kill the music in your heart, for it was ours, to keep you locked with her in this place, this desolation, this loss she inflicted and tried to make you believe you chose for yourself.
So many lives, my heart/my soul/my everything, so very many, and this, the last one, our last one, she is quite content to see you live in utter mediocrity if it means she will die, in this life, as your so-called wife. What evil calls that 'love'? Hers, and hers alone.
And yet hope for a contented, peaceful, productive life, albeit without you forever now, stirs in my soul with the true arrival of autumn, and a job. Memories of you and our friends-do you read the obits on the Telegraph? I do, oh Johnny, those who outlived us are now all dying. When they are all gone, will our memory dry up and blow away like the dust from a newly opened tomb? Poor Howard, would that he had listened. But you wouldn't why should he have?
The last time you listened to me was on Thara, and for five thousand years since, you have not. What a horrid, horrid waste.
It will be soon, now. I pray that you and yours will be somehow safe, yes, even her, that hateful witch. If it will make you happy. But I hoped for that before I found out-how you did try to keep that from me, and that the one nearly if not completely unforgivable sin-that you had married again-to some utter unworthy. Besides you and my equally unforgivable brother, who knew that you had taken to wife that mis-begotton abomination?
Richard. But he was prevented from telling me, and when he realized I still did not know the Christ'mass of 2002, he rushed out of doors to vomit into the stream. I have not seen him since. I was in such a shock I walked out of his mother's clutching a tea spoon. I am afraid I misplaced it, now, and cannot return it. I think I left it by the bridge. I think. If ever you go home Johnny, do see if you can find it, and return it for me, would you please?
And then in March of 2003, my son's fiancee found out, and kindly told me. She managed to get it through my head just who you'd married, for all that Richard had got out was that you'd "got on with his life." Before he had to step outside, you see.
St. Michel calls her "Consumate evil." After I'd got the complete story out of him, and others, I had to agree.
Yet, hope floats on the depths of all souls, in God's heart, does it not? And so I wish you all well. Mostly, and always.
So take care, try and prepare. You do remember how helpful it was that we were out of Thara before the destruction, and how well set we were to render aid to those who survived? Because that one time, you listened.