Monday, February 2, 2009

Letters (Part Nine)



(Letters is my series exploring a war-
time relationship across the miles.
Find the beginning here.)

Dear Hannah,

I hope you can read this. My hands won’t stop shaking.

Thank you for being my lifeline to him. Thank you. I received your letter some hours ago. It is cruel to recognize that your words are only an echo of last week’s conditions, but they are something to hold onto during this tireless winter night. Patrick meant for me to know the truth. If not like this.

I want to be there. I want to hold his hand. I want these tears to slide down his fingers, and ice the fever under his skin. I want, I want. And it’s not right. No, it’s not.

But I need for him to get better. So find a way, Hannah. Please. Find some way.

I couldn’t bear it if

You should not confuse my gratitude with blindness. It is apparent to me, from your letter and Patrick’s before, that you love him. At the very least, you are disturbed by the possibility. I can see how it would happen. But I cannot despair over that. Not now. I refuse. Instead, I ask you, as humbly as I know how, to use your love to make him well.

Will you read this scrap of poem to my husband? I wrote it months ago, but never shared it with him. I wonder why, now. I understand his grasp is fleeting, but I want to touch him somehow. I need for your hands to heal his body, but if my words can kiss someplace deeper than foreheads, fingers, cracked lips, I will settle for that. I have to. He will not be lost to me.

Read it softly, Hannah. Slowly. Against his ear.


I wear your heart,
on a chain,
tucked inside
my blouse,
where it pumps
like a pedal, on
the world’s oldest
piano, stretching our
song, a single chord
of love/pain/desire,
long after fingers
have surrendered
their right
to press
such fallen
keys


Thank you, Hannah.

It is daytime for you two. But darkest night here. That is the smallest comfort to me.

Take care of him. And yourself. I hope to find another letter from you tomorrow. Telling me everything.

And now, to wait.


Yours truly,

Elise


--

Part Ten is here

17 comments:

Catvibe said...

Oh, the agony! I'm actually sitting here in tears, I'm right there with Elise. The poem is exquisite, the way it uses music in the imagery. Does she really want Hannah to whisper it in his ear? Oh...

Catvibe said...

By the way, the photo makes me think of the line 'branches hung heavy in frozen tears' from my recent allegorical poem. Gorgeous image, and it works perfectly with the letter.

David Cranmer said...

The poem within the story is marvelous and LETTERS remains riveting.

jason evans said...

A great deal of power in this. It's almost a sacrilege to delve into it further or analyze.

The emotions are there. Elise has poured them. And they've flowed right across the night. Bridging an ocean.

Really well done.

Sarah Hina said...

Cat, I think she does, and she doesn't. But the desire to reach him, through any means possible, reaches much deeper than jealousy.

I'm touched that you're so touched by this letter! Reactions like that make this series worth it for me. :) And thank you about the photo. It was taken during the ice storm that I wrote you about. At least something good came of it! ;)

David, thank you for following it so devotedly. I enjoyed trying to work some poetry into this format, so I appreciate your comment.

Jason, I think we are at our rawest during the dark, desperate hours. That's what this letter embodies for me. So if that flood of emotion felt huge and authentic to you, then that is all I need to know. :) Thank you.

Aine said...

Wow. This is brimming.

It is daytime for you two. But darkest night here.

Elise is truly a saint...


(My verification is "insin"... weird!)

Jennifer said...

Sarah, this is perfection. All of it.

I fear that after whatever is going to be between Hannah and Patrick, he is going to he dropped to his knees by guilt in the face of the purity of Elise's love.

Sarah Hina said...

Aine, I don't know that she's so much a saint, as just stricken and desperate. I do think she knows how much Patrick still loves her. That can go a long way toward inspiring sacrifice. In theory, anyway. ;)

(the Blogger god strikes again! :P)

Jennifer, thank you for the lovely words. :)

It will be interesting to see what develops between Patrick and Hannah (yes, I'm still not sure!)). I'm probably too sympathetic to all these characters, because I hope guilt doesn't weigh too heavily on any of them. We do make the choices, of course, but circumstances can really stack the deck, too.

Thank you, everyone, for sticking with this series for so long! :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Sarah - this is riveting.

When I got to this part -
"It is apparent to me, from your letter and Patrick’s before, that you love him."

I gasped audibly.

Oh, so many emotions coming from both directions. Your poem is perfect here. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Fine writing. :)

Karen said...

Sarah - This story becomes more heartbreaking with each letter.
We can see the whole situation leading to something cataclysmic for them. It's as if we can watch it coming, but we're helpless to call them back to the time BEFORE.

The interweaving of the poem and the letters is so in keeping with Elise's personality that it feels real.

You have us all waiting for the next letter.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's very effective to bring in another letter writer here. It helps deepen and broaden our understanding, and creates tension because we're not hearing from one of the people we want to know about.

Sarah Hina said...

K, I love that you had a physical reaction to that sentence! :) I decided that Elise would be brutally honest and direct at a moment like this. All pretense receded, as Patrick zoomed into sharpest focus.

Thank you for being so invested in the series, K! I always look forward to seeing your reactions. Audible or not. ;)

Karen, they are locked into a trajectory here. I feel so entwined with them at this point that I'm feeling a bit blind about that ending. But yes, it will land heavily on at least one, and maybe all.

Thank you so, so much for your warm words, Karen!! You're always so perceptive, and I love that you're eagerly anticipating the next letter. Such enthusiasm gives me more reason to write it. :)

Charles, you've pinpointed exactly what I was thinking, too. The danger of this series is a kind of wearing tedium, and lack of narrative movement. I did hope Hannah's involvement would up the ante a little. Thank you so much for confirming that hunch. :)

Chris Eldin said...

The pain and the beauty are so delicately intertwined. If one emotion begins to tip the scale, the fabric unravels.
This is heartbreaking, yet you keep drawing me into their world.
The poem is masterful.

Chris Eldin said...

(I think I need to dress better when visiting you.)
;-)

Sarah Hina said...

Chris, you put it just right. Such a delicate balance. And emotions have a bad habit of forgetting that. Maybe they can rise above that internal chaos, though.

And don't you dare cover up, hottie!! I need some smokin' pics for my coming Valentine's post. :p

Vesper said...

True love...
So heartbreaking, so dignified, so uplifting...

Aniket Thakkar said...

'long after fingers
have surrendered
their right
to press
such fallen
keys'

Though it is Patrick fighting for his life... My heart aches for Elise... Such is the power of her words (which I tend to forget are actually yours :))