It is more than the mustiness of old, familiar furniture having graced many a tired photograph… more than the tinge of floral pattern curtains so often romanced by evening pipe smoke… more than the huddled, dingy hues of decorative gourds in their baskets, or the unpolished brass of various equine statuettes that garnish the place with a love of horses.
It rests in that room like an ottoman cat, or a fireside hound, content in slumber at the end of its journey. It is the mark of fate having completed its duties, satisfied with the pairing and parting of a couple that at least fulfilled their promise to grow old together.
It all started with so much park bench romancing, such quaint eye-to-eye entrancing, so long ago in a world claiming immunity to change. It was a time when chivalry was alive and well, and frequented the sidewalks and cafés despite the looming shadow of economic hardship or the occasional presence of war in posters and monochrome television screens.
Baseball heroes echoed their triumphs across the amber waves of grain, reaffirming the confidence of soldiers returned, and petals were pulled as young men in love counted their chances. One man, I am sure, tested his chances… handsome with the reins of a horse in one hand and a soft spot for crooners latent in his throat.
He knew the keys of a piano… the inner workings of a car… and he painted more paintings hung in that house than he would admit to his grandchildren before they reached a certain age. She knew the beauty of God beyond the rhetoric of the Bible… the strange wonder of owls… and the importance of books even beyond the premature demise of her schooling.
A pyre of steaming tea between longing eyes of crossed lovers’ gaze… An arm-in-arm stroll over elfin bridges on days of wind and raining flowers… A lingering, statuesque kiss on a park bench amidst sparkling fountains and puddle-tramping geese… these are the images that celebrated a shared, sunlit youth, now sealed and tucked away in velvet-lined jewelry boxes, sepia photographs and scribbled poems on soft-veined paper.
To me, there is no sound more majestic than bagpipes at a funeral… I would have liked to have heard them that day, but there was only the ambience of birds, cicadas, and a calm spring breeze. But I am always okay with that shade of silence… those are the kinds of sounds that go with anything; universal like the color black. Oddly enough, we did not wear black in attendance, though our solemn respect was unmitigated.
Now, in this elegantly comatose room, clocks tick from nearly every wall and shelf; echoing to each other, diligent albeit entranced. Many of them have stopped and started through the years, either resurrected to rejoin the race or left to sleep ornately in a silent conversation with the eye. There are porcelain teapots and shelf-banished china, propped up and glistening even in the dull light. The light is warm as the soft crackling of a vinyl record, and every conversation over coffee seems to mumble just as quaintly… only a little more thinly in timbre, now that one familiar voice is missing.
Peace arrives with parting kisses between a ghost and a woman’s beating heart, sugaring the sadness so that it may never ill to misery. There was destiny with hello, and closure with goodbye. Two hearts were introduced, fulfilling betrothal and igniting parallel paths, and this leg of their journey is now boastfully complete. Love was created… and fate has done all that it set out to do.
Taken from Dreams in the Womb
© Brandon Gene Petit