I stayed and watched him for hours wondering if he even knew I was there.
The soft breeze blew through the meadow grasses and wildflowers at him, softly grazing his body. He sat cross-legged, gazing at the bright sky, sometimes blue or a pale yellow-white — like his life, his future. If he could, he’d sit there forever in his field of grass and flowers, looking upward thoughtfully, sometimes thoughtlessly, at the sky. He thinks the sky tells all to those who understand it, for, he’s said, it understands unlike any… except the forbidden, the untouched, the fruit that remains sweet only to the eye but shrivels to his touch. If he could speak or sing, he might not always have to gaze at it — but its power is that of being perceived.
He sees in his sky, he feels in his meadow of grass and sweet scents of clover, the image and soul of his deepest loss. A loss never to be replaced, its uniqueness made all the more unbearably painful. Gazing upward in total stillness, he sees the image of his own face, the face of his twin brother, taken away by the most destructive bullets imaginable. His beloved twin shot from a stranger’s gun in the land of sand and poppies. As children, they used to love poppies, he and his twin… the bright red color of them as they played and laughed together in their garden. Now he thinks only of the bright red blood that flowed into the sand as his brother’s flesh was torn and burnt, forever destroyed. Not even his spirit could be released in the fog and utter chaos of the putrid violence of another stupid war. It killed his twin. And it killed him too. For he felt he could never survive the loss of someone so dear, a part of his own flesh, his own spirit. He knew he could never recover from that loss.
There is a small white butterfly that often keeps him company. It flits about, then alights upon his shoulder and stays; for it, too, is aware of the sheer beauty and the gentleness of him. The sun casts shadows upon his face, softens his features, then suddenly hardens them. His eyes are often hard, intense, angry, but they can also be filled with love, warmth, tenderness. His love for life, for things in life, are now locked within those eyes, and somehow that love no longer escapes the boundaries of his soul to spread itself to others. Occasionally there is a glimmer of it. It may escape in his field, with his sky and his butterfly, but all else is locked, hidden safely away in the lines of his face, the uncertainty of his hands, and the tears always in his eyes.
The afternoon fades into dusk, which somehow brings sorrow to his sky — and to his face. It becomes very quiet. The cooler breeze ruffles his hair, its color reflects the tawny afternoon. The sky is his now, in a different sense, waking in him that which he never knew he could feel, making it difficult for him to remain still. A restlessness settles over him, though he is still a gentle man, he becomes biting, sometimes cruel, hoping to extinguish the rising flood of emotion buried within the planes of his face, within the depth of his eyes, now dark gray. It’s the sheer rage at his senseless loss that keeps him alive. It’s the anger which allows him to feel anything. Anything at all.
If I dared approach him now, would any word I might say reach him? Could his pain, buried under indeterminate depths, manage to free itself if I reached out… If I stayed with him forever, next to him with his sky and meadow and butterfly, it seems we would always remain in silence, never speaking of that glimmer hidden between the forest and the meadow, slipping through the trees. Fear and uncertainty would keep the glimmer hidden to all but the sky and the butterfly, for what he hopes for… will never return. Our years together were blissful and as close as two people in love could be. But the death of his twin changed everything. He pulled away, disappeared into himself. He’s been gone a long while now.
Should I somehow reach him, I would be unable to say what I feel. I would only sit beside him, feel along with him through my tears and my own fears of loss… of losing him forever. I want him to know that I, too, sit alone in my own meadow of clover and mist, with only the stars and sun to bring me peace now. I would hope when he gazes upward to his own sky, he sees that the man in the meadow has altered my life and made it richer, has increased my power to love. If I never share again this feeling, the mere knowledge that he knows it exists will have to be enough.
Now I think I must walk away. Leave him. With his meadow and his sky.
© Joan A. Evans 2018 All rights reserved