Closer

ii

What pleasant dreams carried me through fields of eternal green, among the flowers countless and sweet, to the vineyards and orchards. Even the grumbling of the gray sky could not diminish our time. How we pressed together beneath those great limbs and emerald leaves, seeking shelter from the rain. Oh love, I have found thee at last only to wake unto this wretched life again. But there is more I must confess, as I search that happy memory. How sadly I must ask, have you been gone so long that I can not recall your lovely face?

Such a wretched thing I am to fail you so. I vow, my love, there is none but thee. Though your beauty is unequaled, it was in your heart that I found my hope reflected. Perhaps the face I wear now, so marked by time and tears, might be unrecognizable to you as well. But my heart, dear love, is everlasting in its yearning to know you and only you and for all of time. Let the centuries grind me to dust and my heart will still burn for you.

I stood beside the harpsichord. I did not know that you could play. I recall your love of music, should I be so surprised that you have learned? I sat where you must have sat the night before. I swear that I could feel you there. The silent air compelled me to touch the keys that knew your fingers and to imagine that I have thereby touched your hand.

If I feel you close, does that mean it’s close? If I see you, will you show me the way? We are star-crossed for now, but the stars in their course follow a cycle. They shall become right again. Then, I will know you in more than dreams, in ways that death can not challenge.

I walked the grounds. Each step upon the lawn, beneath the sun, felt wrong. It is because you are not with me. Without you, the trees become grotesque sculptures, vulgar in the writhing wildness of chaos pure. The beautiful home, without you, is but an effigy crumbling beneath the weight of ages. The flaky dust of its foundations seeps into the soil and from that primeval muck raises its voice in a wordless tribute to the blasphemy of time itself.

I feel you walking in the halls. I race along the floors to find you but, time and again, I find nothing. It wounds me to know you are so close. Better that you might walk with me, that I may tell you of its history. Yet, I feel that you could tell me more than I may ever know. Somehow, you seem as much a part of this place as the stones it is comprised of. There are, I sense, reflections of you hidden in its features. Centuries have prepared it for you as I have waited eternally.

Tell me love, what more must I understand? Does this fog that has arisen cloak thy perfection from mine eyes? Would that I could join you in that ephemeral, swirling dance. That our footsteps scatter the fallen leaves, that the trees would sway in time and with the grace we shared. May we dance until the sky itself becomes exhausted, for, in all its haunting vistas, there are no two lights as bright as yours and mine.

I ask again, what more must I understand? What secret keeps you from me?

 

Joe Stanley

Story by Joe Stanley

next part

The Ghostly World Fictional Ghost Stories

back to previous episode

back to list of stories