And so it now goes that once again there is an ocean between us. You have your island and I have mine. We’re simply drifting into the sunset, not knowing where we go.
But I will remember this partially as the summer where I had one magnificent day with you, and even if it comes that this was our only day together for the rest of our lives, I’ll cherish it always.
And still I just can’t help but feel it wasn’t enough …
Nothing ever is.
but now we must pack up every piece
of the life we used to love
just to keep ourselves
at least enough to carry on …
- Neutral Milk Hotel, “Holland 1945″
I find there’s an excitement brewing deep down as I quietly peek through the cracks at it with a childish curiosity, quietly contemplating to myself what it could all mean. The days start sliding by so fast with the force of an avalanche, racing to that point in time where the line takes a sharp turn off into another horizon.
And I must not — I cannot — hold on to the past, even though those days are now wrapped in a hazy, warm blanket of nostalgia. They’ve created yearnings, pinings, wishful thinkings for what oncewas. Regret is in the desire for change, the need for solace, the memorisation of the thousand “what-ifs” that plague your dreams when you sleep. And remorse? Regret that bored a hole through the heart, manifested into the soul.
How can it be that these things live in me? The girl who lived with no regrets, now in the heaving waves of a remorseful sea.
I look at the lovers across the room and I can’t help but feel envious of their affections towards one another. I wish that were you and me caressing one another, holding hands, gazing into the other’s face with eyes full of love and wistfulness.
That could have been us. That could have been you and me, together. But we were just too much like luna moths — all we had was one night. One beautiful, sacred night to flap our wings and dance together before the sun rose to our demise.
And still … I haven’t heard your voice in so long. And I find myself wishing mournfully that would have been us …
What is this languor that has settled over my heart? This rocking, hushing quiet that pervades my being? In my waking moments I am taken back to the days when the sun didn’t set, when the fires burned by the lake throughout the nightless night. I remember the scent of the tar, the susurrous of the wind through the birch leaves. The birds didn’t sleep — and neither did we. Hand in hand we loped down the hill to the water’s edge to dip our toes into the cool depths.
And when I dream — o! do I dream. No matter how hard I try, some memories simply never fade or die with time. Such are the memories I have of you, of us, sharing our last happy moments together during the time of the midnight sun, in the land I once called home and meant it.
The wind rustled through the dead trees and blew up dust and dirt from the ground, a great, heaving sigh from the belly of the world. The dying sun lit the sky on fire as meteors fell from the heavens. The land was giving its last breath, starkly beautiful even in its final throes of death.
“Don’t leave me,” she whispered into the fabric of his shirt. “I couldn’t bare to live a day without you …”
“Soon there won’t be any days left for us live,” he whispered back. “We’ve reached the end.”
She clung to him with a lover’s desperation. “Lie with me one more time — just once! — under the stars,” she pleaded.
“Darling,” he sighed against her cheek as he stroked her hair, “our stars are dead. They’ve passed into the nether. Our stars are dead.”
And so I awoke, cold and distressed. I looked over at your sleeping form beside me and wanted to seek comfort from you. But when I leaned in close, you were cold.
The stars inside of you were dead.
How different you look when my heart is no longer blanketed in hope, the fog of idealistic notions has cleared away from my dreaming head. I find myself reflecting on the ability of my heart to overlook your flaws, to ignore the things that make us so obviously wrong for one another, all because I had hope.
I’m uncertain if you could love me. You can’t appreciate the sort of person I am (the kind that makes special trips through the rain to bring you medicine when you’re sick simply because they care), you mock my gentle, sensitive nature. You say you’re playing, that it’s all a sign of affection, of flirtation. But you’re only fooling yourself — I know better. You hate it when I sing, think it’s strange when I stare off while daydreaming, can’t admire my love of languages and the ease in which I pick them up. You mocked from day one all the little things that make me, me.
Still, I don’t know which I prefer: the days my heart was shrouded in hope or the days following when you tore that shroud to pieces? Should I yearn for the halcyon days or be content with the stark knowledge that comes after the downfall?
How long can a heart live without the idealism of the dreamer, without its shroud of hope?
So I settled down with blade in hand, ready to eviscerate this fragile heart from my body. I lost myself in the lines dissecting love, in the words that cut to the bone.
The nights have rendered themselves silent to me, the days devoid of meaning. You and I, we reflected on life — is it better to live long and old or go out young? What is the worth of one life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little, we die. We come and go like mayflies on the water.
Is it really so horrible for me to say I’m tired of coming and I’m ready to go? My footprint is etched in water — it’ll surely disappear from memory with the next incoming wave.
I remember well the day I looked out to the horizon, out towards the vast sea, and wanted nothing more than to throw myself onto those jagged rocks, to become the sea foam that laps against the shore.
Freedom of the soul never felt so close as it did that day.
I try to fight the countdown in my head. “Just don’t think about it,” I whisper to myself. “Just keep it from your thoughts…”
But I can’t. The numbers and words come crashing through my mind with tsunami-like force.
I feel so small against these emotions, these magnanimous feelings (for you).
And if you didn’t realise it, I’m made of moth wings and glass.
I break ever-so-easily.
Please handle me with care.
Sometimes you say things that send my mind whirring down a path of endless possibilities, and it takes much willpower to say nothing of it. The small voice of reason in my head tells me to take this slowly, breathe, don’t get ahead of myself.
Because you know better than anyone, Rowan, just how easily things don’t work the way you plan.
And so I do. And yet … And yet …
I still can’t help but dream.
While curled up together in the middle of Mr Brightside’s bed, he said, “You know, I once dated a girl who’s uncle had a heart attack from Viagra.”
“Yeah. Strange old man — I met him only once.”
Laughter and then a short string of silence.
I turn, look him dead in the eye with an impish grin on my face and say, “It makes you wonder how things were when rigor mortis set in.”
“Ooooohh! Why’d you have to say that? I KNEW you were going to say that! Gaaaah! You have such a dirty mind! And you just can’t turn it off or keep it to yourself, can you?”
“Nope. Can’t turn it off for one second. But really now, what do you think…”