Friday, October 2, 2009

This Spirit, Uninvited

She haunted me. That was one misfortune. I played her devilish game. That was the other.

"Do you believe in the spirit world?" she asked me that night, as she stood beside my bedroom window with a satanic smile on her face and the shadow of the fluttering curtain at her feet.

"I don't know. I've never thought about it, I guess." But that was a lie. I had thought about it. I had thought about it when I was on a flight back to Amsterdam, three weeks after it had happened, not because I needed to be there, but because of the memories that burned like acid rolling over my insides, because I thought that by going there, I could somehow open the door and let the pain in all the way, hold my breath and walk through its poisonous cloud, and then walk out, close the door, and leave it at that. But instead, I had walked the streets of Amsterdam like a drunk, homeless wino, staring vacantly into shop windows, not seeing inside, but seeing instead the image of Miranda, seeing her angelic face smile at me, as if she knew. I wanted her back, if only for a moment, to embrace her one last time before I let her go forever. Miranda, everywhere. And I, in Amsterdam. But that Amsterdam was not the city I had known with Miranda.

And she continued. "Did you love Miranda?" If I didn't love her, would I have fallen so deeply into her melting brown eyes the first time I had seen them, fantasized so obsessively over the silk tassels of her chestnut hair, worshipped so devotedly the evasive dip in the middle of her chin? And her voice, which I still hear ringing in my ears when I sit alone, in the stillest stillness. And the endless days waiting to awaken from this coma. And the dreamless, sleepless nights. And the dreams, when they do come, always of Miranda. Was I to blame for having broken down, no longer wanting to pretend, while peace evaded me like marbles rolling down a steep hill? How else to face up to the gravity of this? A carefree life, without thought, without memories, without the irrational obsession that came with knowing I'd never see, never breathe Miranda again - that was what I sought.

As if hearing my thoughts, she said, "It's not the loss of Miranda that's grieving you, you know. It's your loss of her. This is hardly about what she will never have. It's about what you will never have. It's about you. Not her." Her voice had a disturbing quality about it. It was disturbingly truthful.

"Why won't you leave me in peace?" I said, realizing the futility of the question even as I asked it. This wasn't the right time for anyone to be poking holes in the logic I had barricaded myself within. So who was she to just come along and violate my security?

"I want you to know what you don't know about yourself, Jason. Or at least, what you tell yourself you don't know." When she spoke my name I felt a muscle twitch in my face, a nerve flicker in my eye, an invisible hand grasp me by the head and squeeze. Every inflection of her voice fell on my ears like a thunderbolt.

She smiled at me, now. Half-smiled, actually, so I could see the faintest blur of her teeth. There was a wicked twinkle in her exotic eyes. Her lips also were wicked. And they were dangerously inviting. "I need time alone. Please go back where you came from and let me be?" I begged.

She laughed cunningly. "I'll relieve you of me if you take this. It's so sweet. And you're so so sweet. And I'm so so lonely."

And she came toward me with a perfect red grape held out by two fingers with perfect red fingernails. She brought the grape to my lips. And as I opened my mouth to receive her offering, her exotic eyes became exotic empty sockets, festooned with gems of purple and orange and blue, her beautiful lips, a gateway to oblivion, her face, an abandoned carnival mask. The cold grape touched my tongue and rolled slowly into my mouth, its sickly sweetness oozing between my teeth.

I spat out what remained of the grape, rubbing my lips with the back of my hand, as if to remove an indelible smear. And I heard, as if from far away, the grandfather clock downstairs strike the hour of midnight.

"Come with me," she chimed, her voice shimmering like a million crystals, echoing in its madness. "Let me show you how mellow pain can be." She glided out of the window. "I will never leave you," she chanted as she floated across the horizon, graceful as a butterfly.

I awakened in a sweating frenzy, crying out for Miranda, grasping in the darkness, scrambling for the light. I looked at the window, which I was certain I had closed and locked before I'd gone to sleep. The window stood wide open, the curtain fluttering in the wind. And the sky was purple and orange and blue.

35 comments:

  1. Is this an independent short story or is it linked to something bigger?

    It's brilliant. You manage to concentrate so much information into this passage and it makes me want to know more. The menacing quality of this female was vivid throughout.

    You talk about so many subjects, grief/pressure/love. Being unwilling to let go. I really enjoyed it.

    Jai

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  2. Very romantic and nice to read, Thanks.

    Secretia

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  3. I was completly swept into the story.

    Love Renee xoxo

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  4. Such a good read, I enjoyed it very much...thank you~...Roan

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  5. JAI - It's independent. Ah, humans... always curious... and want to know more. She's a bit of work, this one, isn't she? I had fun making her up, and hanging out with both of them as they chatted and got to know one another better.

    SECRETIA - I'm happy you liked it.

    RENEE - Thanks for coming back. And it's great you got involved with it. I'm always happy to know that.

    DARK WINGS - And thank you for your comment.

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  6. Love this, it made me think of BLACK HAIR, BLUE EYES by Marguerite Duras...have you ever read her? If not check her out, I have a feeling you will love her writing. Along with Jeannette Winterson, THE PASSION is spellbinding and right up your alley.

    much love!

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  7. Marguerite Duras. It took me a moment, but yes, I've read this in French: Les yeux bleus, cheveux noirs. That brings back some memories, very old memories. Funny how being reminded of a book we read a long time ago can have such an effect. I vaguely remember the story line... very obsessive and dark, like many of Duras' works. And I'm familiar with Jeannette Winterson, although I've never read The Passion. I'll want to check that out. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  8. wow...I truly got lost in your words....I want more;)

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  9. You write with an exquisite attention to detail and a powerful emotional flow. Just beautiful.

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  10. STEVEN - Sorry! No more (I love doing that)! At least of this story. Getting lost is such a wonderful thing, though. I'm happy you enjoyed it!

    TRISH AND ROB - I try to enter the minds of my characters as I write, to become them for a while, and then to just step back a while and watch. It's emotionally taxing, and I'm glad to know it comes out in the writing. Thank you for your always wonderful comments!

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  11. Have a good weekend and Nevine, I love your name.

    Love Renee xoxo

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  12. The unwillingness to let go: of memories, of love, even of self. I think you made an excellent point in your story which makes me wonder when we grieve, is it really about the absence of a loved one or our own loss of connection with them. You have amazing description. Beautiful writing.

    Stop by and pick up your blog award :)

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  13. RENEE - Thank you, Renee. That's very sweet of you. I'll be sure to pass the compliment on to my wonderful mama, who chose my name for me! And you have a marvelous weekend, yourself!

    SHE POET - In my mind, when we grieve, just as when we do almost everything in life, we tend to do it selfishly. Thank you for your comment, and for your kindly granted award. I'm humbled!

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  14. Nevine: I have a surprise for you, please go check it out

    http://noexcusenoexplanation.blogspot.com/

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  15. STEVEN - Now I'm really overwhelmed - with joy, that is! Thank you very much for this, and for that wonderful blurb you wrote about my blog on your award post. You're incredible!

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  16. I was enthralled until the very end. But what jumped at me the most was the assertion that it was not someone's loss we mourn but OUR loss of someone. So true, yes it is. It might even be construed as a selfish feeling, this desire to possess that person and not even allowing them to disappear, or die.

    Excellent post. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  17. At first, I thought of her as a more sensuous, whispering Raven. To flit and flutter above his chamber door. A fatal pain.

    But then, no, she is his own warning, he is his own knowledge that he must break the pain before it consumes him. He has heeded the warning, I think. He'll feel the pain, but not be cremated in its fanned fire.

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  18. CUBAN IN LONDON - Yes, you got the point, exactly! And it is absolutely selfish, as are the majority of our emotions toward others. It's usually about us, if we really humble ourselves and think about it objectively.

    JASON - He got the shock of his life - a real wake up call - triggered by his own subconscious. But disengaging from the grief is exactly what he needs to do, yes. Now he knows!

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  19. love how you steep us steadily into this - laying down one card at a time, letting us absorb the scene you're setting - from the foreshadow of "satanic smile" through the final transformation, a wonderful job of maintianing suspense even in amazing detail. "This wasn't the right time for anyone to be poking holes in the logic I had barricaded myself within." jumped out at me, too - so often our condition - poor but precious defenses. great piece.

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  20. JOAQUIN - Slowly pulling the reader in is something I really like to practice with certain types of stories that attack particular topics. With this story, I felt like the slow lure was more appropriate than the quick pounce. Thank you for visiting my site and reading my work, Joaquin.

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  21. I really enjoyed reading this. I always look forward to seeing what new things you've written.

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  22. I too got lost in your words....
    Found you via La Bellete Rouge. You have a wonderful blog!
    Warmly,
    Stephanie

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  23. COMEINALONE - Your encouraging comment and those of others keep me dedicated to my writing, which I always enjoy sharing.

    STEPHANIE - Thank you for your kind words, and I hope to see you back soon!

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  24. Nevine, this piece is fantastic. I would have to quote most of it to point out the passages that truly sang in my heart...

    I must quote this, though.
    "It's not the loss of Miranda that's grieving you, you know. It's your loss of her. This is hardly about what she will never have. It's about what you will never have. It's about you. Not her."
    I often think of this. How true it is, how human, how sad...

    I'm so glad that you visited my blog so that I could discover yours. It is so beautiful, in an intricate, exotic way... I'll be back to explore more.

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  25. VESPER - It was a pleasure to visit your blog; I'm always seeking the work of other writers, and your writing captured me. Thank you for your comments, and for joining me!

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  26. A never ending dream. That was some story, Nevine! I was on the edge, didn't want to rush and yet wanted to know the ending at the same time. For a minute I became so engrossed, you know the saying, I felt like I was there. I loved the mask, it floated alone with me as I read. Need I ask, or should I beg; will there be a part 2?

    I have often said, if I am reincarnated, let it be in Amsterdam.

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  27. AMIAS - Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world. So much personality, so laid back - one can truly find oneself there. As for the story, I always hate to do this, but no, there won't be a Part 2. I'm finished with this one and on to a new adventure. But I'm happy to know you enjoyed it and lived with it for a while, as did I.

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  28. My favorite line in this piece and what all relationships really do, they inform us who we are and that is why we often leave, :"I want you to know what you don't know about yourself, Jason. Or at least, what you tell yourself you don't know."

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  29. BELETTE - In many ways our relationships define us, which can sometimes be good, but can sometimes come with devastating effects. When we allow for our relationships to dictate who we are, as Jason did in my story, we lose sight of ourselves when the relationship ends. Jason is lost having lost Miranda, and is searching for himself. But I think he might have just found himself...

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  30. Sometimes in our naming, in our being recognized, there's a greater significance. I like how her naming him throws him off that bit.

    She was an interesting character although, I can't say I liked her. She gave me the willies.

    erin

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  31. exquisite - and i must agree with vesper above in terms of favorite passages of favorite all:
    "It's not the loss of Miranda that's grieving you, you know. It's your loss of her. This is hardly about what she will never have. It's about what you will never have. It's about you. Not her."
    beautiful - and, as if you've been outside the window of "me" -

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  32. Wow did I get sucked into that one. Totally.

    I'm a new reader and soon to be a follower.

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  33. Gypsywoman - I think we can all associate with some of the experiences in this story. Thanks so much. I'm very flattered by your comment.

    Rick and Monique - Thanks for dropping in, browsing around, and following. I hope you will always enjoy what I so love to share!

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  34. Nevine, words are your instrument, and you play them like a harp...strumming each one into it's own concerto. You are brilliant. You are a precious spirit indeed. Again, bless you for sharing yourself...you could bestow no greater gift, sweet friend!
    Much Love,
    Deborah

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  35. ERIN - Our inner voices are sometimes that haunting, as to give us the willies. But they speak to us of truths that we sometimes don't realize, truths we need to hear. Yes, she did identify him, and that was the wake-up call, I suppose. BTW, sorry I missed your comment in my earlier responses... And thanks for stopping in again!

    DEBORAH - Thanks for always coming back, and for sharing my innermost thoughts and dreams. You're awesome!

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.