Twenty Years Next June

by Janis La Couvée

At times your presence is heavy on my mind, you come to me unbidden in my fever dreams, provide words of wisdom to problems I never even knew I had.

I hear your laughter, see the quick stride of your vigourous step, the way you rolled your shoulders or stood in quiet strength—a stance that brooked no opposition, that signalled to any person even remotely attuned—‘pay attention, I am not someone you want to mess with’.

You were indeed a tornado, albeit a small one, like the dust devils spinning out of control on the dusty Texas plains, picking up momentum and debris as they hover—then, are gone.

Not that you were out of control—you simply worked fast in a disciplined fashion, intuitively understanding how to maximize effort.

I loved our kitchen ballet, particularly in small spaces—didn’t they always seem to be small spaces?—hips nudging, gently reaching over to grab a knife, madly chopping, closing a cupboard door quickly so I wouldn’t hit my head.

“Don’t worry, everything will work out”, you’d say. It usually did.

Until it didn’t.

Until no matter what I did, you were gone, forever, and while I remember, I long for your touch. I’ve forgotten the feeling of you behind me in the kitchen, reaching over and around to hold me tight in your arms. I’ve forgotten the four of us—group hug—gathering the dog and the smallest in our arms—love spilling out in all directions.

I’ve forgotten a finger slowly tracing the length of my spine, leg over mine in bed, a whisper—“I love you”—your mischievous grin, glint in your eye, irrepressible spirit.

Gone.

Twenty years.

 

Imagine a Mirror

A field, wide, expansive, pastures all around. A vibrant green spring morning, fresh-washed by last night’s rain. Sun slowly warms the day. Birds twitter and trill, hidden in the woods, down in the hollow. Hills roll away in every direction. In the middle of this pastoral scene, incongruous, floats a giant sheet glass mirror, suspended without visible support. It reflects back, in cascading images, this one perfect scene, to infinity.

Gloria approaches, waves her hand, tries to make sense. “Odd”, she mutters, as she moves around behind it. Nothing.

She touches the mirror. Solid—no hand disappears. She’s not drawn in like Alice.

With her back to the mirror Gloria attempts to decipher the message. Is there a vantage point in the distance—a path or direction to walk in? Does this hint at multiple directions or possibilities? Which way should she step?
Gloria shakes her head. The invitation had been clear, “come out to the farm, for old time’s sake”. As small knot of regret balls in the pit of her stomach—a reminder of all the broken promises and empty words, the times she felt like a pawn in Gaynor’s gigantic chess game.

This had all been a big mistake. Lured by a sense of duty, she’d succumbed again to that fatal charm.

Gloria glanced around. There—a perfect rock. With all her might, she hurled the missile. The mirror shattered.

She walked—free of all illusion of perfection.

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