JoshuaPaulGreene

Strange ramblings and inquisitive whimsy

Category: Literature

Then She Was Gone

I First saw her when I was making my way to my table.  She was beautiful and natural and had this familiar, simple smile on her face.  She was done up in a southern casual way and looked pretty enough for church on easter sunday, but she didn’t see me and just kept on smiling and talking to the man standing beside her table.

I found a seat a few tables down and sat with my back to the wall so I could watch her over the top of my book.  I always like sitting in corners because it makes for the best people watching: You can sit there and watch folks go about their business and not get all tangled up in it.

Anyhow, I sat there watching this girl across the room and I’m pretty sure she was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.  I noticed the little things about her face – about her mannerisms – that reminded me of old friends, even of old lovers.  In a way I wanted to figure out what it was that made her so freaking attractive, but at the same time I was fine leaving it unexplained.  It somehow left a bit of the mystery in the whole thing.  Over and over again I found that I had stopped reading completely just to stare at her and over and over again I would start reading again half hoping she had noticed my awe-struck glances and half praying she hadn’t.

Everyone else in the room seemed to vanish as I stole peaks in her direction; at least until the tan, southern housewife-like woman sat down between myself and my dream lady.  She was strange-looking…  She had that look as if she had never even thought that maybe things weren’t quite right in this world we inhabit.  I guess you could call it complacency?  Yes.  She looked like a complacent oompaloompa.

I think she may have thought I was looking at her because I caught her eye a few times.  That was admittedly a bit awkward.

So I went back to reading, but I was too busy thinking about the girl a few tables down to really take in the words of the page.  So I gave it up again in hopes of seeing a few more seconds of her elegance.

But when I looked up, she was gone.  It was as simple as that.  The table was empty, the chairs still pushed out and she was nowhere to be seen.  Almost as though she had never been there at all – as though she was only another dream in which for me to find solace and then disappointment.

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What Came Next or, After The Letter

I don’t even really know why I’m writing.  I suppose the tone is dark, suppressed, almost as though there’s someone else in my head that I’m speaking softly to in order to work out my own feelings…  I feel like I’ve been in my own strange movie these last few days; like I’ve been in the kind of movie I love because it’s so starkly different from my own life.  In so many ways I feel different from myself.  This is new to me – detachment is new to me.

I knew the most likely outcome of her receiving my letter.  I realized as I was writing the letter that I had to be ready for whatever answer she gave, but I wasn’t prepared for this

Her words were like a knife coated in sedative – numbing the wound as it cut.  There were no feelings of pain, but when she was done – when she was gone – I could see the wound.  I could see it, but I still didn’t feel it.  Everything she said made so much sense, and the way she moved her intention smoothly across my heart left me with no option but to agree with her.  As she was telling me that she couldn’t let herself love me, I sat listening to her, getting drunk on her words – just another thing to ease the psychological effects of watching helplessly as she cut me open.

I’ve heard that waking up in the middle of surgery can change your life – you find yourself laying there, helpless.  There’s no control in that.  You don’t realize what was done to you until it’s already done, and then there’s nothing you can do.

The only question left is, “How long will it feel painless before the sedative wears off and the reality sets in?”.  Or maybe I can just stay drunk on her poetry until I find another drug…  Or there’s a whole new story that involves the drugs becoming useless and irrelevant – a story that stands firmly on the concept that my own strength and power of resiliency will heal the wound as the intoxication recedes.  I think I like that story.  I think I like that dream.  In reality, that’s my real, natural path.  I’ve never been one of addiction to the power of people, but somehow that addiction, that particular incarnation of my life seems a bit more romantic.

Which brings us to another strange concept:  Love is extra-worldly, however romance is firmly rooted in this perception of the world.  The object of my search is to find an appreciation for love – an obsession with love and a simple and respectful disregard for romance.

The Transformation

Transformation is the only applicable word to describe the nature of that night – transformation and coincidence so perfect it should have been planned. The whole thing had been the direct result of an accident involving money but the outcome would clearly transgress even the slightest hints of anything corporate or worldly.  Out of that night was born a fusion of history and legend; of new and old; of purity and truth.

The silence was louder than the music pouring from the speakers and with the dissipation of the sound, so went the air so that when true silence took over, it seemed almost impossible to breathe.

The Rain Song

The room was big.  And though it was not empty there was space to allow distance and separation.  Muted tones penetrated the cool, damp air and finessed the thoughts and contemplation that made them both feel the same hints of solitude.  New melodies floated in a raw state of limbo as words tried them out to see what gave way and what held strong.  The two of them stood apart – he was at the window staring blankly at the street below and she was at the desk standing with eyes closed trying to feel their next words.  It was gray.  Not a bright color could be found anywhere in their world and their silence reflected the light.  There were feelings in the air, too, even though they didn’t dare speak of them.  They both knew they were there; they had seen and felt them, but to talk about them would make them worldly and they both knew that the world was too ugly to have them floating around unguarded.  So they kept to themselves and stuck to the love-song that was unfolding before them.  In reality, they were writing about that very day; those exact instants, but they distanced the subjects so as to avoid looking love in the eyes. It was a song they wrote to each other and for each other and when they sang it, the truth of it was clear.  But even that didn’t crack the locks that were on their hearts – locks that were put in place by their mouths and minds.

It was pouring rain outside and cars drove past the building on the street below.  He couldn’t have been happier and she seemed more content and sweeter than usual.  It was such a strange and wonderful setting that they both would remember for years afterwards, each time revisiting every little aspect of the hours that gave them the song that should have changed their lives.

But it didn’t change their lives.  He kicked himself for missing it – for ignoring her eyes when he sang to her how he really felt.  And she resented herself for not realizing who she was really singing to.  It was a simple case of confusion – it could have happened to anyone.

The Spanish Veranda

It was an early September afternoon and the summer’s stifling heat had finally subsided.  She sat at the vintage, 1920′s table out on the veranda of her Spanish cottage and wrote letters long over-due to family members and long-lost friends.  Just as she had almost lost herself in the words she was scribbling to her childhood sweetheart, a small and simple leaf fell on the envelope beside her.  It acted almost as an alarm set off by nature to warn her of the miraculous display she was missing, and just as she looked up towards the leaf, she understood the meaning of its arrival.  The spanish sun broke through the haze of the late-summer day and illuminated the trees in a way she had never seen before.  The golden lining on the intricate, rich green leaves was an image that seemed too beautiful to be created intentionally.  The waves of light seemed to be flowing over the neatly planted rows of the vineyard to craft a painting so flawless that even a master artist couldn’t find a single shortcoming.  But despite the utter perfection of the moment, it was the transient, short-lived nature of the overwhelmingly exciting experience that made it so wonderful.

She had grown up in a world where nothing had been uncertain and everything had been easy.  She had never known struggle and yet she craved it; she had always known everlasting comfort and yet she often wished it would subside, for she was of the opinion since the time of her childhood that it was drought that made water delightful.

And so when the simple leaf caught her attention and threw her head-first into the surreal moment of that September afternoon, she was delighted not by the magnificence of the instant but by the elegance of its non-permanent existence.  That is not to say that she wasn’t a bit disappointed when the light from the late-afternoon sun dissipated and the transient emotion of pure, unadulterated simplicity disappeared, but for an instant, she felt the thrill of being out of control.  For the first time in a long time, she could be discontented and there was nothing her father’s money or her mother’s charm could do about it.  To be perfectly honest, she felt a bit embarrassed that such a childish rebellion could weave its way into a moment so spectacular, but she wrote this guilt off as just another meaningless artifact of her proper upbringing and paid it no more mind.

Without a thought she stared excitedly out among the rows and rows of nearly ripe grapevines and allowed herself to become completely enraptured by the moment.  She listened to the heat, to the birds, to the wind, the grapes and the dirt and much quicker than she realized, anxiety and frustration disappeared from her soul.  By the time she realized that the afternoon had turned to evening, her entire being was as still as the hills she gazed upon and she remembered that the very reason she was sitting on the veranda in the first place was because of the letters.  The letters that, according to her mother, simply had to be delivered by Thursday.  But having just parted ways with the simple magic of the waning afternoon, she also parted ways with the letters that equated to her waning interest in the past.  And so she walked from the vintage 1920′s table on her Spanish veranda out into the fields of grapevines that she had, until this point, only admired from afar.  The letters and envelopes lay on the table while in the distance she hummed quietly.  And it seemed it was at that point that she had learned what was truly important in life.  It wasn’t fine or fancy things as her mother had said, or success and eternity as her father had taught her, but rather taking simple and innocent pleasure in transient perfection.