On the winds off to the West sent by courier on 42-cent postage travel a mere two-thousand words. Tapping fingers on the crumb-coated counter-top, she waits, sure only that it had to be said.
Could seven years prove anything more than what has since been left undone?
With each stroke of the keys, one night, she poured out certain truths only the counterpart in the story will ever understand. The value in each syllable, forethought and cause for lost sleep; her heart escaped through every single word, much as a willow stretches its branches, begging to feel the cool of the grass at its roots.
Bent branches, mostly, but firm grasp held tight into the dirt – leaves plucked thin by raging winds but never more bare than in this moment – she waits here, whispering to answer all that is yet unknown, nearly at a tremble now, wondering if the soul of this endeavor will even be received. When life grants no alternative but what could be most difficult, where else may one go but straight to the heart of it?
Pure denial in the pain, or at best under-appreciated, were these lost years; others listened to the vague cries of a woman barely clinging to the hope of truly requited love. Alas, could they really torment her so? To grant that life is better served forgetting the past than to forgive it – some may argue it is no wonder seven years have lapsed with her not feeling anything more than regret.
His face, in dreams, a drastic opposite to the reality of life lived apart from him; lovers came, lovers vanished… And yet his eyes the only glint of love in dreams silently cherished under cloak of night. She choked it down, no more than this, the thought of love, for none quite could compare…
No. Not to youth, radiance, and the tender whims of romance felt as a warm flush in the face of a woman feeling it for the first time. Lest, then, she was a newly planted tree staring up into the embrace of the warm sun, whereas the years, they faulted the tree for not reaching the azure of the expansive sky, up the stars where they beckoned her love to go.
She could not have grown that high, at least not in the arms of unworthy love. Feigned then, at best when, on most days, her aim was to find a strong wind, uproot, and sail across open land until something more familiar again attained. Back to her roots, wanted, but more than that, forgiven for ever having left.
Back to the plot now, she remembers the letter. Every last word read to her heart so many times now it brings a surreal comfort; her thoughts peaceful in the notion that the placement of each sentence dances in harmony with the intention to open Pandora ’s Box. Not for fate’s sake, but for the hands of time to rewind enough to make the memories count for more than sheer loss.
Across space and time he dwells, un-expectant surely for how could he foresee, the shadow of stored and forsaken yesterdays will soon present the opportunity to change. Change for what, one imagines, but perhaps simply to let go what has long been held in vain: The beautiful surrender of forgiveness, and an absolute regard for what was once the hardest moment in his life. How to grow from this apart from the one whom shared it? Impossible.
So, there wrote a proverbial pen to paper… the quill to parchment… the labored chisel to stone in the bellowing halls of a cathedral. She challenged the convention of others, and perhaps some best intentions, for the well-wishers and nay-sayers alike have not even the slightest comprehension just how important this work will be.
Her work that of honest reverie to love’s lingering embrace, for every moment since those days marked with the towering sentinel of things undone. How must one cherish the fortune of all things ahead when eagerly grasping what has faded into dust? Yet again, an impossible feat, so alas to the hearts that would otherwise forbid these candid words; woe to those who would oppose such a triumphant gesture of resolution, at the expense of their tendency to forget the past!
One life, that is all I am given. One splendid, honest, momentarily painful, and humbled life I have been given. One body, one mind, and one heart… To waste another fleeting second on burying what I need would be worse than the potential for hurt this endeavor may cause me. The pain – brushed free from cobwebs and unearthed from a vault – it will surely be brief in comparison to a life lived nevermore haunted by the ghost of things undone.
I challenged myself to let go of convention, albeit at the cost of total vulnerability and the possibility that it will hurt, to endeavor beyond what I settled for too long. I tear myself open, unsure about the looming structure of this process but hoping for closure, at last, if only to whisper into the heart of someone I once loved whom loved me, and tell us both that life is worth more than mere regret.
Some if not many whom may ever read this may fret and offer, aloud or just within, that life is not meant to gaze at backwards. To you who believe this, perhaps it benefits the intent behind your concern to know that I agree. Wholeheartedly. Which is precisely my motivation… I am just, suppose it to add a glint of guilt on my part where none should be placed, seven years behind.
Yet, my dear well-wishers and nay-sayers, imagine love. Purely young though we were, innocent to the furrowed-brows of society, we loved greatly. Now, venture into the realm of tragedy for a young woman and her soon-shattered lover. Add to this an unmentionable, tumultuous twist of fate wherein every single bit of reality is broken, instantly. No, not the wayward eyes of a seductive man, merely, but the cruel demons of another, supposedly most cherished of all in the life of a girl, and piece together the trappings, even just on the outskirts, of why seven years have done nothing but scratch the surface of true healing.
A bended branch you see now, swaying by a fibrous bit of bark, ready to detach at the whims of the wind. Place beneath it the cool of the grass, weeping willow ever-reaching, willing to break apart at the slight chance to feel the dirt beneath her.
I have lived this way for many years, unsure and unsteady, but for the truth that, someday, I would be brave enough to finally seek and attain what was rightfully mine all those years ago… Absolute and total peace of mind in the beautiful embrace of release. In the surrender to destiny, as I could have done but was not strong enough to do when I last saw his face.
I imagine he is sleeping now, yet, if not, perhaps strumming the chords at the mention of long-vanished days. His eyes sparkle as they once did, maybe now just slightly less affecting, because he holds onto the pain of the belief that he is not worthy of love. Not like he once believed…
Would I not offer my hand, extend my fingers outstretched through the years we endured apart from healing and give him, and myself, what we craved but never sought? To help him find his music again, to help him find his heart in the midst of all he still hopes he can forget.
Lest we not forget, but instead, forgive. Die to the regret, but instead embrace the lives we have lived apart all these years and truly, finally, find our meaning beyond the pain of all we cannot change.