Friday, June 27, 2008


He couldn’t nap with her hands gone from his skin.

So he grabbed a replacement light bulb—a ladder, too—and followed the path to the gazebo. Past the shore of the lake, where a shameless bullfrog bleated for a mate, and beyond a troop of evergreens, limbs loose with amber light. Wheezing slightly, he stumbled into the bridal structure and planted the ladder’s legs onto the timbers of its floor. He sagged against the metal trunk for a moment, as his heart recollected its rhythm and age.

The crack of an overhead jet rattled the joists as he mounted the ladder's steps. The lamp moaned and swayed, while vibrations crunched the arthritis in his hips. An aftershock jounced him as the heavens ripped open, and, drunk in the knees, he seized the lamp’s chain with both hands. The need to pee was urgent upon him, while something darker licked at his loins. His intention scattered like feathers, even as he detached the bulb from its thread, and paused.

Spider webs whispered under the roar, while shadows stretched and swarmed.

He looked up. Into a splinter of light.

She came to him a little wild.

He was neither wise nor tender.

Their mouths and bodies laid open and panting, like the ruby throats of baby birds.

His hands reached out to touch her hair.

Falling backward, and then down, he glimpsed a face in the pointed gap between rafters and sky.

He smiled as the old bulb shattered like so many eggshells on the gazebo floor. His eyes closed while a man-made bird blazed past sight and sound.

Somewhere, above the clouds.


Aine said...

I hope he has the sweet reunion he deserves.

It always made my heart break, and yet fill me with joy and hope, to hear elderly folks speak of their time on earth after their spouse died. To achieve such a bond with another soul... maybe that's what it's all about. So sad that so many don't. Or give up too soon.

I love the image of the bulb breaking like eggshells.

Anonymous said...

A tender death. It's as if the climb was a meager attempt to reach her. In the time-stop moment of falling, he tears free from the pain.

My favorite line: ...something darker licked his loins. Like a much packaged into five words.

Bernita said...

Weird. But wonderful.

Sarah Hina said...

Aine, I still can't help but doubt the idea of such a reunion. Don't get me wrong: I want to believe, but I'm not quite there. ;)

And yet, there's something about the illumination of lost love, right before that bulb breaks. The mind's last mercy, maybe.

Jason, if he failed to reach her this time, it was only after a lifetime of trying, and succeeding. Maybe in such rare cases, the absence is a weight that won't be born.

I like weird. And wonderful. Thanks, Bernita. :)

Barbara Martin said...

Nice twist to that one. Well done.

Sarah Hina said...

Thank you, Barbara! And I'm so happy you came by.

Anonymous said...

Amazing imagery you are incredible.

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, Ruth. I do love painting a scene. :)