Red and Blue
I curl up next to the fireplace, rest my head against the surround. A goblet of heavy merlot in my hand; heavy for its body or heavy for my longing, I cannot say. As I stare into the crackling blaze, my mind wanders. So many memories from years gone by, so much love shared here, in this very room. My soul shrieks with grief as I collapse into a ball, sobbing.
The fire now a blur through wet eyes, my head lolls and I glance toward the tree with its twinkling lights, glittering balls and brightly wrapped packages tucked neatly below it. You always were such a perfectionist. My eyes flutter shut as the day you dressed the tree forces itself upon my mind. You were so happy, so blissful to pick the largest one available. I recall joking that one of us would have to move out so the tree could move in. You kissed me with icy cold lips and a bright red nose. Little did I know how soon I would long to feel that frigid touch once more. Your enthusiasm knowing no bounds, you spent the next week arranging everything just so; making sure that the colorful glass baubles were placed with precision, everything to an exacting measure. I recall jokingly moving a strand of tinsel when you were not watching, only to reenter the room moments later to find it placed back in its original position. The gifts. Oh, how you tortured me over the gifts long before the season began. A sad smile steals across my lips as I think of the hours you spent fretting over the perfect surprise for each of our friends. As I sip from my glass, a slight chuckle escapes me only to end in a sob as I recall your distress over wrapping each gift in the proper color foil. God, how you loved this day.
I think back upon the last evening I saw you. I was standing at the island between this room and the kitchen preparing dinner; you remembered one final detail that you couldn’t do without. I kissed you as you bounded past me, told you not to be long and that I loved you. You grabbed your coat from the hook and turned to me, purse in hand, golden locks bouncing and smiled before replying as you always did – not nearly the way I love you. I smiled back; you left. Two hours later, a knock sounded on the door. I wasn’t worried, you often became infatuated with something or other and lost track of the time. As I moved to open the front door, I noticed the bare flicker of red and blue light drifting in through the balcony doors. Seeing the officers standing upon the threshold, I walked to the glass, placed my palms and forehead to it, and knew in that moment… you were gone. When I came to after passing out, the officers helped me to the couch and explained that there was an accident at the corner – our corner, and a young woman had been hit by a car that ran the red light. You were that young woman.
My eyes crack open seeking a red light on the tree, your tree – our tree. But instead, my sight finds the red fairy lights you used to decorate the balcony. Barely able to stand, I stumble to the sliding doors. As I fumble to open them through my tears, the merlot in my glass pours onto the white carpet. My addled mind tells me how angry you’ll be if I don’t clean the deep burgundy spill right away. Finally managing the lock, I step through onto the bitterly cold veranda. Standing at the rail, I exist in a halo of red light, my long chestnut mane whipping in the wind. Another balcony, one belonging to our neighbor, is adorned in blue twinkling lights. I wonder why I’d not noticed it before now. The blue and red lights blur together as my inebriated mind struggles to adjust. Five stories below, more lights twinkle, cars rush past; the ground wears a fresh blanket of snow. I’m so tired, and the blanket seems so inviting. Please, don’t go without me – words I should have spoken that night. Letting myself lean forward, a blur of red and blue swirls all around me. I grasp the railing, sink to my knees and crawl back inside. Too much a coward to follow you; too devoted to allow your memory to die.
© Copyright 2014 Nina D’Arcangela. All Rights Reserved.
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