BREATHING ON EMBERS
He stood in the lashing rain. Thunder roared at eardrum-shattering decibels, while mountains fell. Beautiful, dark, rich, soil churned all around him, crawling to escape the descend of no return.
He turned his back to the sight. Ignoring the hills and valleys behind as he faced the seas with waves rising as high as the tallest peak that had previously skewered stunning cloud vistas. The water seemed as angry as he was that this place had stolen their solace and time.
The fool’s gold, they’d called it. When all of them ran to attain the coin, she’d ventured forth for a story. A chance to be given to someone whose work was enviable. While the rest of them went to enrich their own pockets, she’d gone to enrich the life of an individual who would shine in her universe.
How were any of us to know?
That silent scream came from the brutal part of him that wanted to destroy the destiny of those that sent the whispers.
Good comes of all the bad.
Easy enough to say, to reason, to believe. If it hadn’t been his wife, his woman, the one constant he’d counted on in his every reality.
Where was the end for him? For their children, the children, and loved ones in other realities they’d lived in, shared, enjoyed.
He steadied himself on the jetty that was solid and unwavering, as the seas warred within the basin that contained them.
Should he watch the images again? The small glimpses of an impossible hope that could lead him back to the reality where he’d lost her?
Waves lifted and crashed to furious foam on his platform, seeming to crawl as if on bent knee to beg him to try. To take the chance.
He dropped to his haunches, picked up the sea foam and tossed it in the air as the image appeared. So vibrant and clear, but this time he’d paid attention to all of it, the background surrounding his woman, the time of the night, and the other woman lying on the bed.
Had the ailing woman written the book? Was that why his wife stood in the shadows watching her?
The second he wondered this plausibility, a man strode in with a clipboard in hand loaded with paper, and a pen behind his ear. He pulled over the chair that was off to one side, and then adjusted a small light that looked like a bendable twig with a small bulb on the end, that hung to a bounce over the page.
The man didn’t see into the shadows. All he appeared to see was the woman on the bed. He was more concerned about getting comfortable as he shifted the clipboard on an angle to and fro. When he made the last adjustment, and the light flashed, the woman in the bed was illuminated.
Almost on cue, the platform shifted beneath him, but he didn’t care as he stared at the woman.
It was his wife. Not as he knew her, that part of her was standing in the shadows some distance away. A sister perhaps?
He eyed his wife in that corner and noticed her concern. He could almost feel how her heart ached in that moment. Verily, he felt everything she was feeling, and it was almost unbearable. A sense of loss, grief, and a loneliness that swept over him in gladness.
He reached up a hand to touch the image, to better understand what he was seeing. Feeling. Experiencing.
The minute he put his finger to the picture, he was pulled in. Gone was the stormy ruins of a world in final decay, into an exotic, dark, and winding trail to an altar of days of old, to a time and place that had no meaning to anyone, but him and the version of a woman he’d loved well.
There was no speaking between them. Words were impossible, but thoughts? They raced over him like the hands of time spinning out of control. So many things, lifetimes, avenues, streets, skies, children, animals, buildings, bridges, oceans, lakes, and seas, and the only thing he heard when the words finally intruded, was her whisper.
“I knew I was dying. I saw myself and then you came...”
He had no idea why she’d think she was dying she was a stronger force then the other version of her that he’d known so well. He wanted to comfort her even still. To assure her that she wasn’t the one who was gone. He took hold of her hand, and the moment they touched skin-to-skin, it was electrifying.
The need, want, and desire, was a thousand-fold what he’d ever experienced. He didn’t question the force. He went with it, as did she.
It was an unrecognizable reality. There was an abundance of colors—the heat—the speed, it was an erotic symphony. No playing out to music, more to the sounds and the vibrations of energy that swirled around them. Protecting and carrying them to a place that transcended the seas, the earth, and the sky.
Out of the caves of their ancestry, they flew through a night that welcomed them back to a time in space, or simply to the home where they belonged. There weren’t two of them in this moment though, only one. A sharing of personal space, in space.
Flashing in a kaleidoscope of crystal colors that burst to new life as they crashed from one cloud to another. Sailing from one star to another, lighting up a universe he’d never seen before because he’d never been with her. Not wholly.
She put her hand on his face, or was it her own she was looking at? No, she was there, a beautiful fairy, princess, queen. A glowing testament to the worlds they’d built, the places they’d visited, the people they’d loved. It was all there.
Written in the face of the one woman who was meant for him alone.