With loves, and hates, and passions just like mine…

August 20, 2009

Southern

I found her in a cemetery.  She was sitting against a gravestone, her head buried deep in a book.

‘Excuse me, do you have a light?’ she chimed as I walked past.  Disturbed from my stroll I stammered a lie, eager to be on my way, ‘Sorry, I don’t smoke.’

‘Nor do I.  I want to light a candle for Rosemary Miller.  Well, no matter.  I just wanted to get your attention.’

She produced a small candle, placed it atop the gravestone and promptly lit it.

‘Care to join me?’ she invited me toward the dewy grass in front of Rosemary’s memorial.  I accepted her offer.  Though she was clearly mad, there was something in her demeanour that was unquestionably charming.

‘Do you think Rosemary will mind?’ I gamely enquired.

‘I shouldn’t think so,’ the girl sighed heavily, ‘she died in 1893’.

I glanced to read the inscription.  She was right, of course.

‘So what brings you here?’ I enquired.

‘Oh I adore it here.  There’s so much more life behind these gates than beyond them.’ She gleefully waved her arms to emphasise the point.  ‘Just look at that apple tree,’ she gestured.  ‘Isn’t that the frothiest…blossomest blossom you’ve ever seen?’

I followed her direction.  It was no different to any apple blossom I had seen before, yet all I could do was nod in silent agreement.

‘There’s so much beauty in melancholy,’ she added wistfully, ‘if only people could see it.’

I let out a laugh, ‘Yes, when the melancholy fit shall fall, then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose.’  She looked at me, beaming.  ‘Sorry,’ I mumbled, ‘Keats…’

‘Yes, I know’, and I saw in her eyes a spark of recognition.

A cloud passed over and cast a pall.  I felt the cold gather in the small of my back.

‘What are you reading?’ I asked, motioning toward the book she was holding.

‘It’s Oscar!’ she yelped, ‘care to browse?’

She thrust the Wilde anthology into my lap and I flicked through the pages.  The final stanza of one poem caught my eye.

‘Very good’, I remarked, handing the book to her.  More clouds gathered overhead.  I stood up and wiped the dew from my trousers.

‘I really must be going,’ I stated plainly, ‘work calls’.

‘Oh,’ remarked the girl, a note of sadness in her voice, ‘well, hopefully we’ll meet again.’

‘Yes, hopefully.’

She waved goodbye and I continued my walk.  In the distance I heard her cry, ‘Rosemary says goodbye, too!’ I hung my head low.  There were so many things left unsaid, unasked.  I didn’t even know her name.

As I reached for the gate I sadly recalled the lines I had read in her book;

“It were better we should part, and go,

Thou to some lips of sweeter melody,

And I to nurse the barren memory

Of unkissed kisses, and songs never sung.”

I left the cemetery, lit a cigarette and pulled my jacket tight to my chest against the approaching rain.

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