Burning the Loneliness
He hadn’t visited in a while. Not for lack of trying or desire or understanding. It was simply a matter of remembering where he’d first seen her. Was it a warehouse? A cabin in the woods? No, it was Spanish house built three hundred years ago with two rooms and a kitchen perfumed with melted butter, cakes and frosting. She always wore a green scarf and walked around the house barefoot until the bottom of her feet were smudged with dust and dirt.
Having walked nearly fifteen miles through the blizzard he knocked on the door, setting his expectations aside and eagerly listened for the unlatching of lock and key. A crack in the door and the wind carried the strength of his voice away. He asked again. “May I come in for a rest?”
The door opened and the bits of snow on his face dissolved and landed on the floor. She took his things and tossed them over the chair. “Have a seat,” she said.
She disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a loaf of bread and a jug. “Not from around here, I see.” She spoke with a peculiar tone, as though the words were not hers.
“Not sure where here is,” he said, surprising himself with the revelation.
As she cut the bread he noticed the finger where the shadow of a ring used to be. Curious, he studied her face, noticing the deep blue eyes framed by the straw hair. He’d found his old flame, burning the loneliness inside a warm house without windows. She was still beautiful and youthful, but something was concealed in her movements, the knowing glances she gave him as he ate the bread. “Thank you,” he said, as though their time in that other life never was. “I’m here for you,” she said. And this time she meant what she said.
Now that she was here, after all the traveling, the amnesia, he’d finally recovered enough to reach her. But it was too late. He knew that now. She wasn’t married anymore. It didn’t change anything. “I’m moving to New York,” he heard her say. He looked away and the knowledge and love that drove him to this very moment grew heavy with despair.
The kiss that followed served as another reminder. She was his lover that one night.
The lingering obsession was of his own making. When he fell asleep it brewed into a dark stew that simmered through the dreamlike hours of the night. As his visual field grew blurry and the denial pulled down on this shoulders, he looked for certainty in this place and found the illusory traces of broken heart. The bread he’d eaten had vanished. The storm had ceased. The woman with the green scarf stood there, with the tenderness of aged love, and said, “I’m here for you.”
It was a kind of truth. She was there, not for him–because of him– and his unwillingness to surrender the rapture where the instance of love leaves the human heart branded with immutable sentiment.