How long has he been gone? it is impossible for him to gauge. After all that has happened he knows that it is not the future but the past that is incredible. He puzzles over its shattered remains. He'd had just one throw of the lucky dice, who knew it would land this way?
Breath rises and falls. Gravity continues to work. His heart does not forget to beat. This stupid body, doesn't it even know how not to carry on? He longs for the chance to demolish goodbye. He longs for everything to have been different, to have killed her in a rage, to have written her story in code in a diary dull of secrets, to have washed her feet in oil and tears and dried them with his rough tongue. Always a sea-man, his inclination is to salt everything: danger, love, dinner.
Alice, the name rolls in his mouth like a pebble, like the flawed orb of a moonstone. Alice, at the lifting edge of evening, opening her mouth and smiling at him, waving, as though she is the heroine of love's silent film. Then turning and burning all his boats. The celluloid curls as she sets the light to each one.
Still, he wants her. In spite of everything he wants the season of forgiveness. He wants the pure peacefulness of her standing by the bay window, looking out, pouring tea into cracked cups, distilling their lives together into something almost fine and old.
Not this, not this chill longing, this glacial angel at his spine, this long laddered lifetime of desiring Alice.
The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele