Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goodbye, My Love

“Hey, baby… Sweet baby, where are you?”

His voice is distant, woven with static, a broken whisper, so close and too far from her ear. The phone is tiny, lost in her clumsy glove. She’s suddenly scared she’ll drop it. and then… and then…

The youth closes his hand over hers, helping her hold the cell to her ear, somewhere in her wet hair, his eyes beads of fear and compassion. She doesn’t want to see this stranger. Especially not now. Now it’s only for him.

“Where are you, baby?”

“In New York. I took an early flight. It’s snowing…”

A tiny bird chirps in her voice. Wide pale feathers descend floating in guise of cold crystals, linger on her brow only like furtive kisses. She allows them to sing on her eyelashes, blur the blinding city lights, whiten the night.

“I’m coming to get you. I can’t just sit here and wait for you.”

His voice carries the warmth she’s always seeked, always found in him.

my darling, my beautiful one

A flutter of panic wakens. Come and gone.

“No need… I’m in Times Square… I wanted to… I was going to the Central Station… I…”

warm and cold, warm and cold

“I can be there in an hour, baby. Go to Starbucks, wait for me there. Just stay warm.”

She wants to imagine herself being nestled next to him, watching him drive her home.

“Yes, you’ll come…”

“We could eat, we could do whatever you want… I won’t let you come home alone.”

i’m not coming home

His voice is fading, maybe on dying batteries.

“I can’t hear you so well. The cell…”

“You’re on a cell, sweetheart? You’ve never used a cell…”


“Borrowed it… They’ve coloured the Empire in red, and green, and white… Like when we first saw it… ”

The youth is crying, his hand shaking so badly it hurts her ear. The sky is a grey sieve, sifting a furious wet flour, but she still doesn’t close her eyes. not yet… not yet…

“Where are you, baby? What’s the clamour?”

He doesn’t know. How can she tell him.

my darling, my beloved

“Times Square… You know how busy… Even now… I so wish you were here…”

“I’m coming, baby. I’ll drive you home. I want to be with you.”

“Without you-“

without you i couldn’t live, how can i die

Her lips are numb, the snowflakes too heavy. The sky turns, and turns, and turns. She has to rest, just for a little moment.

The teen’s voice rises, sobbing, sobbing. Louder than her whisper, closer than the voice of her beloved. He presses the cell to her head harder, painfully, uselessly. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I’m so sorry.

A wailing grows, from the earth, from the sky.

“What’s that, baby? An ambulance?”

She abandons herself to the snow, to the night, to the turning sky.

“Hello? Hello? Hello?”

“Sir, are you a relative?”

A man’s voice, neutrally authoritative. A stranger’s.

“What? Who’s there?”

The voice turning to unwanted, uncomprehensible compassion.

“Sir, I’m terribly sorry, there’s been an accident. Your wife… has been hit by a car… we couldn’t get here in time… a blockage… she wanted to speak to you… I’m sorry, Sir… Sir, can you come and…”

yes, I’ll come


laughingwolf said...

oooooo powerful!

Charles Gramlich said...

Excellent! I could tell there was something going on behind the dialogue but it wasn't clear what until that powerful ending. Well done.

ChrisEldin said...

Oh God, this gave me chills. Really well done. I was confused at first, but this was a necessary beginning. I love the fading in and out.

Vesper said...

Thank you, Laughingwolf!

Thank you, Charles. I was thinking it was going to be too obvious, title included, so I'm very glad that you liked it. Thank you.

Chris, thank you for your kind words. I felt bad about the ending but it was the only way I could've done it.

BernardL said...

A grim, icy rainwater down the neck type of scene, Vesper, done just right.

laughingwolf said...

with yesterday's weather around here, everyone's surprised there were no scenes like yours....

Sarah Hina said...

I loved the overlapping voices--like a fragile convergence in a swirl of white chaos.

So heartbreaking, Vesper. And told with your usual tenderness and beauty. I'm very glad his was the last voice she heard.

Anonymous said...


I'm a bit awestruck.

Excellent job. Excellent writing.

When I realized, it hit me hard.

(Word verification is "chill." Hmmm.)

the walking man said...

Excellently done Vesper, the tie up at the end was neat and precise resolving all confusion. Wonderful piece of flash.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Oh my, Vesper, that's really something...

My heart is still in my throat!

Very well done!

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Ello said...

Oh my god, I was feeling terribly tense and bewildered and I knew something terrible had happened and then the end, I just teared up because it was so powerful.

Vesper - this was so awesome! Really excellent! My favorite piece of yours to date!

Ello said...

Vesper - I had to read it again and I teared up even harder sooner this time. This is such a good piece. I really love it.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Excellent from beginning to end. I was holding my breath - It is so perfectly written and skillfully executed. A psychological thriller in flash form! Bravo!

Oh, and, yes, it was very disturbing and saaaaad!

Aine said...

I just don't know what to say. This was brilliantly written.

And, my heart hurts.

Rick said...

Hello Vesper, I'm back from another trip. What a delight to come back and read this. The experience was like watching a snowflake form and melt back into itself. Joy in the beauty of its appearance and sweet sadness when it disappears. A lovely piece of imprisoned passion.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Powerful and evocative writing, Vesper and such beautiful, almost poignant, imagery.
Wonderfully done!

Miladysa said...

I *LOVED* this!

Fabulous! Read it three times :D

"A tiny bird chirps in her voice. Wide pale feathers descend floating in guise of cold crystals, linger on her brow only like furtive kisses. She allows them to sing on her eyelashes, blur the blinding city lights, whiten the night."


Vesper said...

Oh, my dear blogging friends, I feel overwhelmed by such a response, I am amazed by the beautiful words you wrote to me… I don’t know how well I can answer you, but I thank you all from my heart.

Thank you, Bernard! Icy water down the neck… Well said. That’s why, maybe, I can’t easily reread this; I am lying in the cold wet snow everytime…

I’m glad there weren’t any, Laughingwolf.

Yes, many voices there, Sarah… Of things we can say, and things we can only think… Thank you, Sarah.

Oh, Jason, a chill… maybe the computers do know something… Thank you for your words of appreciation.

Thank you, Mark, I’m very glad you liked it. I hesitated long about this “neat and precise” or an open, somehow hopeful, ending…

Scarlett, I’m so glad you stopped by just now… Thank you!

Wow, Ello, what can I say… I wouldn’t want to upset you but I’m very glad if I did… Thank you!

K, thank you so much! What can I say… I’m very pleased by your appreciation… Thank you.

Aine, you found the perfect words to say and I thank you for them.

Rick, welcome back. What poetry you write… Thank you so much!

Vanilla, I’m so glad you liked this. I ached when I wrote it. Thank you, my dear Vanilla!

Oh, Miladysa, three times?... I’m somehow afraid of rereading it, because I get to live it again just as when I wrote it… Thank you so much for your words!

SzélsőFa said...

Wow, I did not know what was going on here and had to re-read it again to understand. When I got it, I read it once more again. Great writing, Vesper.

Vesper said...

SzélsöFa, thank you, my friend. I'm glad you felt drawn enough by this to read it and read it again...

L.A. Mitchell said...

Another perfect treat. Sara's description of your writing as "tender" is exactly how I would describe it. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece :)

Vesper said...

And thank you for reading it, L.A., and for your very nice comment. :-)