Solitary Lines

Courtesy Xoltan Taso Unsplash.com

Hours pass in endless judgements
Arguments of self
There is no winner
Can be no winner
Just the ticking from the shelf
Reminders from the mantle
Motioning of time
That I’m a sinner
Soul’s growing thinner
‘Cross this solitary line

Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed

Anonymous

Photo by Filipe Almeida on Unsplash

She had no status, no place in this world. She barely had a life. Then again, neither did I. 

#

We met one Easter morning and had married by tea in an unorthodox ceremony involving a stray cat who fussed our feet like catnip. It then peed on the floor. We laughed like hyenas. The pastor didn’t. The next day became our anniversary, and the next, and the next. Not a great legacy but something. We all must have something.   

We left the city for the coast on an empty bus, a move in direct opposition to the latest trends, and got off at the last stop because the driver made us. He smiled as he did so like a man in the know. 

We found a tiny house with a bed, a toilet, a door, and a view. This was all we required. This and each other. 

It began soon after.

#

She forgot my name by Halloween and my face by Christmas. My voice went last. Perhaps it reassured her? A somnambulist by day, worse still by night, she wandered. I wandered with her when I could. It was only a matter of time. 

#

New Year’s Day. I found her mangled body upon the rocky shore. She’d stepped from the cliffs as though them our lawn, whilst the sea fret tickled her eyelids and vindictive gulls egged her on. I was sad, but not inconsolable.  

I buried her deeper than I ought, marking her grave with a simple cross of two bound sticks. There, I scratched the message: To My beloved Wife.

Later, when malicious gossip made the pastor aware of my situation, he visited one gloomy afternoon. 

“It’s untitled, anonymous!” he exclaimed.

“What is?” I replied. 

“Her grave, man. Her grave!”

“As was she.”

“Because she had no name?” he ventured, calming at my obvious heartbreak. 

“Because I never needed it.” 

#

The End


Thank you for reading

Richard

Raven

allef-vinicius-XRLjA9Qq65Y-unsplash

I once watched an artist paint the sky. His brush caressed the canvas like a lover’s kiss. His every fluent movement, poetry in motion. At least, I thought so. The painter did not.

Whether it frustration, or a lack of imagination, who knew? But the fellow grew so incensed, he snatched each sheet from his easel and tossed them into the wind. There they drifted like enormous snowflakes off to decorate unfamiliar landscapes.

The trees provided shade and anonymity. These I used for hours. The painter remained unaware of my presence throughout. And although I couldn’t see what he painted, I took a certain satisfaction in knowing I would.

As the sun evaporated into the river in tangerine bursts, things changed. The poor fellow’s inability to capture what he wished gained momentum until in one shrieking outburst he threw his palette away. It landed upside down in the water.

I expected to see a brief flash of vermillion, perhaps a touch of violet, cerulean or emerald green; there was only black. The paint bled into the river like a cut midnight vein. Spilled ink might have described it, but ink had a purpose and this did not. What a waste. What a terrible waste.

I clasped a hand to my mouth, but too late. The cough echoed into infinity.

The painter turned. He wept. Tears streamed from his old eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I spluttered.

The painter looked right through me, right into my soul. His eyes took in my colours, my personal palette. He refused to stop, swamping me in his sorrows. I feared we’d both drown.

When the sun disappeared below the horizon with a pfft of extinguished flame, only then did he look away. To heaven, actually.

“Ah,” he crooned. “Now I remember.”

“Remember what?” The words left my lips without permission.

“Raven. Her hair was raven. If only I’d not tossed my paints away. Ah, well!”

Head drooped and feet shuffling, the painter packed up his belongings and made to leave. He paused as the moon came out in mercury silvers, turned back. “Never forget what she looks like, young man.”

“I won’t,” I promised.

With that, he departed. I never saw him again.

#

I often looked back and mulled over his words. He’d seemed so genuine. But only as I too regarded her bone white features and robes of liquid obsidian, did I know who he meant. I couldn’t have captured her raven hair either. Her ebony eyes already had me.

An End.

#

Thank you for reading.

Richard

 

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash