Friday, September 28, 2007

Ghosts

A little fiction...

He took the book and sat near the fire in the fading twilight. He liked to read Hemingway up here, the way his words flowed, tearing into your consciousness with the force of the Ocoee waters. It was soothing and it was religious and it cleared away the cobwebs of his soul.

Paris in the twenties, Pamplona during the fiesta, it all was so foreign and yet so familiar, as if he were returning to something he'd lost somewhere along the way. Papa's words about Hadley put him in mind of something else, though. Something close, and very real.

After awhile, he put the book down, and took a drink. He sat there awhile, smoking, and watched the light from the big moon ripple across the water.

He remembered how her face looked at twilight, how the disappearing red hues contrasted with the brown oceans of her eyes, and that way she had of looking at you that replaced the memory of a thousand sunsets. The image engulfed him, the waves crashing into the sands of his soul. He tried to make it stop but it wouldn't let him be.

He thought about disappointments, how sometimes the very thing he feared came true, when he was weak and couldn't fight it away. Vulnerable. Tired.

It was part of life, they told him. She isn't worth it. Grace under pressure, and all that stuff Papa wrote about.

And he wanted to believe them, said they were right, but knew he'd carry the memory of that awful night with him for a hundred other full moons and beyond.

He worked at it until the pain eased. Sleep came easily, but he was up before first light, frying bacon, gathering the bait, cleaning his knife.

Her ghost sat there with him, watching, waiting, refusing to leave until the sun found its way into the morning sky.

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