Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the wall

It rises tall and cold between them, damp to the touch after a day of rain. It always seems to be raining, she thinks, her back against it, rubbing her arms to ward off the chill seeping through her clothes. How appropriate. In truth, she forgets now, once inside, if this wall was of her making or his, so overgrown is it with vines that the craftsmanship is no longer visible. No matter, I suppose. It is here when I need it. That will suffice. She draws her limbs closer, embracing herself tightly for both warmth and comfort, and surveys her surroundings.

Gray sky blends into gray walls casting gray shadows on gray floors. Dreariness etches itself permanently into the stone, like lovers seeking graven immortality. The imposing gate, some distance to her left but completely within view, is locked from within—the key weighing burdensome around her neck like a yoke to heavy to bear. To her right is the only furnishing, a small table laid with a decanter and glasses. Recognizing her thirst (but not recognizing its source), she pours herself a glass and takes a good, long draw before nearly spitting it out all over the front of her. Ah, yes, she remembers. Self-pity is a nasty, briney drink. Inevitably, it does not satisfy. Biting her cheek to produce saliva, she returns to her post, eyeing the gate warily, if not pointlessly.

There will be no attempts at entry tonight. Of that, she is certain. Despite the fact that words were not spoken in anger, they were received in anger, and retreats had been made and stones had been thrown, one of them nearly missing her head and another bouncing off her shoulder and landing near her foot, only to be kicked to the farthest reaches of the courtyard. No, he would not be coming for a while. Not that she would open the gate should he actually try to approach her—she drops the key down into her sweater, its coldness shocking between her breasts, and folds her arms as if to ward off any attempt to retrieve it.

Now what. She pulls herself in tighter, her efforts to find softness yet again met with frigid unyeildingness. The irony of it all. The key presses harder against her chest, digging its cold form into her flesh, reminding her that the stone wall is not the only thing that does not yield. Ignoring this thought, and all others like it, she begins to settle in for the night, perhaps for even longer. That is when she hears it.

It begins faintly, as if in the distance or as a child would sing to herself under her breath while at play. Curious. Unable to make out the tune, she is only aware that it is music, and she strains her ears to further discern both its refrain and its source. In time, she begins to make out the voice, gentle to the ear, and it grows both stronger and tenderer as the words slowly begin to resonate clearly. Arise my love, and come with me… Knowing fills her, and her wounded heart flutters anxiously within her chest, thumping against the weight of that which binds her. Keeping to the shadows, she edges toward the gate, stopping just short of it. And that is when she sees him.

Crouched on his heels, back against the wall, he leans his head against it with eyes closed and continues to sing to his beloved. You’ve ravished my heart with just one glance—my Beautiful One, arise and come with me. She is at once undone. Back to back, separated by stone, she begins to weep, as his fingers gently find their way through the gate to her own. He came for her.

He came for her.

She is redeemed.


Julie Morrison said...

You have told my story!! How absoluetley breath taking.Loved the imagery too.

lorie said...

Thanks, Julie! I wrote this, obviously, for Tom, but there is also (I think) and obvious spiritual overtone to it as well. I felt like it was one of the best things I've written in a while. Who knows?