by Canis Lupis
The past is best left behind.
|Contest entry: Short Story Lair
word count: 1,036
Prompt: "Don't let yesterday take up too much of today" Will Rogers
The springtime field runs wild before me and is laden with multitudes of blooms and blossoms each unique and beautiful in their own way. I am a gardener of the heart, however, and am seeking that one prized flower amongst the masses. She is there somewhere hidden in plain sight waiting on a loving touch, a gentle rain of kisses on her petals, and an inhalation of the sweet perfume of her thoughts and desires. I have yearned for her, dreamed of her, and yet am, admittedly, frightened that I will only find her to lose her as I once lost the other.
Doubt, like a faithless demon, plagues me and triggers my fight or flight response. Fear, that archdemon, rears up inside my mind attempting to keep me both sightless and deafened so as not to discover my true love or hear her calling. I stumble about the field as if ignorant but am, in truth, both anxious and reluctant. I recognize the symptoms of panic as my breathing quickens and my pulse drums in my ears but not like as passion, no, for this devil is more insidious and serpentine in it’s machinations. I am seeking but I am also hiding and therefore little of consequence is being accomplished by this lonely soul so caught in such twixt state.
I realize then that I must calm myself and that I need to accept my anxiety letting it simply pass through me. I soothe myself by remembering that the worst that can happen is not that I love and lose again, for that is the false and misleading thinking that so frightens me, but that circumstances would befall that I never find love at all. This internal conflict is not one that I can simply steel myself, fortify my mindset, and thus armoured, defeat. No. I must surrender to this human condition having faith that it is a natural part of my nature to fear loss and simply welcome it as just another step in the journey of life.
Sagely I think that trust makes one vulnerable even as it also makes them stronger and that is the great paradox of love. One cannot rise until one is ready to fall. Placing my faith in this newly learned wisdom brings reward, for suddenly the path through the maze becomes obvious, and I see that which I have so painfully sought approaching me from across the field.
Preordained she appears and on feet barely touching the ground, she draws nearer as if carried not by body but by her spirit. Her gossamer hair billows and the sunlight plays within the luxurious tresses until they glow about her head as if she is haloed. In truth, she is a sight to match even the "Angels" to my eyes. I could almost expect wings to sprout from her delicate pale shoulders.
I stand mutely gawking and mesmerized until at last she is close enough to speak to me. She asks if I know from whence this wondrous Garden has sprung, and her voice seems as melodic as the sweetest of rain songs to my thirsty ears. I explain that the Garden was simply here when I myself had first awakened long ago. She laughs and smiles and I, the starving man, gorge on her effervescence until I am sick with love. It is so good to no longer be alone.
Immediately a shade takes hold and I hear that demon inner voice remind me that this might not to be everlasting. It creeps unbidden into my thoughts but I stalwartly decide to pay it no mind, for I know that dark path leads to depression and into such Hell I will no longer willingly tread. Mistakes of the past must remain behind me while I keep the powerful lessons that were learned. I promise myself to endeavour to put them to good use, and so I will relax now and take this new relationship step by step, day by day, with today being only the auspicious beginning.
She twirls around in place with her hands held high above her head and shines with joyful, heavenly, exuberance.
“It is just so beautiful!” she exclaims.
With gentleman charm I assure her that the entire Garden pales in comparison to her own majesty. She blesses me with a beatific smile and then suddenly folds down to sit upon the soft grass. She beckons me to join her and holds out her hands invitingly. I take them and settle before her. The skin of her hands is soft, her digits so long and delicate that I am mindful not to hold them overly tightly or possessively, but simply loosely intertwine our fingers.
We stare into each other’s eyes for a short time and then she blushes childlike and looks away. I could weep for the sweetness of the moment as her cheeks darken a lily pink. She is as shy as a doe.
“So where are you from and what is your name?” she finally asks.
“I am just the gardener” I reply. Quickly adding, “I am Adam.”
She tilts her head and a puzzled expression appears upon her visage.
“Then where am I from and what is my name?” she queries.
“You are the most sacred flower of the Garden,” I answer, ”and you are Eve.”
“Am I yours then Adam?” She asks.
“Only as much as I am yours, Eve.” I answer.
She thinks a few moments then looks me directly in the eyes demanding my rapt attention, "Is there just us Adam? Has there been any others?"
I pale but respond truthfully, “There has been one other, I will not lie, but that is the past and she is gone.”
My fear of rejection pounces like a cat and I visibly begin to tremble and sweat.
Seeing the dismay upon my face she reaches out and tenderly caresses my brow.
“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” She whispers.
My spirit soars and the devils vanish. Serenity seeps into my pores and bores into my swelling heart.
She is more than what I wanted; she is what I needed. This flower, so lovely, so fragile, yet with such strong roots.