An Unwavering Omission
A dark library, barely illuminated by the lantern, gives refuge to a young dreamer–dreaming of an old lover despite the passing years–rested her head on the pillow of a known bed and scent. After a moment she stopped and observed the way the old lover removed the bags, a few minutes too late, from the steaming cups. She knows she should withdraw her interest. After all, it’s only as real as a dream.
Helena Feignier, with her sleepy eyes, and a hint of amnesia waited for the woman to slip under the covers. She waited and waited until another figure appeared at the edge of the bed. Now there are three women in the library, but only one is real. Helena rubbed her eyes and tried to remember. The woman making tea exists. The woman on the bed…her presence is comforting.
“Who is she?,” asked the woman, the tips of her toes touching the floor.
“Someone I remember.” The words flowed from Helena’s lips to the gnarled fingers on her lap. “Someone I miss.”
The woman moved away from the edge of the bed. She placed one finger on Helena’s knee and drew it down with ease. “Why is she so special?”
“I can’t remember.” At enunciating those syllables Helena’s mouth trembled. Some memory was forcing its way back into her mind. Grainy images of a college campus, the tall trees and passing faces. Her mind searched for a way to place the memory, to categorize its carried emotions.
As the woman handed over the warm cup, an old energy was triggered and there came the story lines, their personal narrative. Heartbreak. Humiliation. The tenderness had gathered to form a large, bruised mass with thorns sliding along the edges. The woman had made tea as she always had–before those summer months of silence. She’d gone to Mexico to study. To forget.
But Helena knew the timing was right. How else would she mend her broken heart?
Helena placed the tea on the table and rested her head on the pillow. The reverie would give her at least a few more hours before changing. She could continue to pine over lost time or settle in next to her lover and willingly embrace the illusory tendencies of the dream.
As Helena ran her fingers through her lover’s hair, caressing her long white neck, the woman at the edge of the bed smiled awkwardly and looked away. She noticed the woman’s small nose and pouty lips. Familiar. When she looked back into her lover’s eyes, the woman vanished. The tiny vapor trails left behind released the scent of wet soil. A well acquainted scent from her real life. The gravity of memories came forth once again.
Sweet delusions are unstable.
Helena drowned the memories in the kisses of her lover. It seemed fruitless now that she knew who that other woman was. But she clung nevertheless and held her close; she said her lines on cue and submerged herself under the surface, just deep enough to keep the dream still.