When I say I miss you, I don’t just mean I wish you were here. I mean that there’s an empty space beside me where I feel the lack of your presence; there’s a silence in the air where I hear the echo of your laugh; there’s a loneliness within me that now only you can fill. I miss you.
An ache in my lungs. The rotting infatuation behind my teeth.
The loss of love at the base of my heart.
Love is fickle love is non existent in this life I live.
My knees tremble for it I
arch my neck and sigh for it.
I wish and long and scream behind sealed lips.
My hand is empty, too small without another to warm it.
I used to cup my palms around my own soul, a purple white flame that flickered and burnt those too weak to remove it from my grip
now it burns in my chest, alongside the ice in my veins the
cold behind my eyes. No, not the heat of tears but just a heaviness of longing. A glacier in my mouth.
A fire in my breast.
She dances away with another, with others, dragging me in her wake.
She places her hands on my shoulders and pushes me into myself, into vibrant darkness that sparks with
My skin crawls, writhes, aches for more than this. I flinch away because if I do not my traitorous heart would take control and force me closer
Can she not feel the searing heat in my breath, in my skin as she holds me, a hand on my wrist
my spine. The forest fire in my lungs.
She touches and taps and breathes against me.
All while keeping me at arms length.
She’s smiling, laughing, twines her hands through my hair, drags nails down the column of my neck, my throat, chills erupting and giving me away
I bare it for her willingly, my weakness flayed wide open.
She holds my ribs in her hands my heart strings between her teeth.
Oh I would do anything for her, let her do anything just to remain in the embrace of her laughter, the thrill of her entire being. Even if I am never able to touch or hold
Or embrace her
I suffer silently. Heavily.
This love is going to burn me up, if this longing doesn’t freeze me first.
And in the evening
when loss seems
too great to fill that black
empty space between few stars,
I wish to disappear
into the night’s thin vanishing,
try to forget the moon’s
gentle need to hold old shadows.
Greg Sellers, from “Elegy with a Wedge in Wood,” from an untitled manuscript-in-progress
Silly girl, silly girl.
Wishes her pain would go away.
Silly girl, silly girl.
Cries in the nights and sleeps in the days.
Silly girl, silly girl.
Only sees in black, white, and grey.
Silly girl, silly girl.
Silly because she refuses change.
Part VI – “My kingdom for a kiss upon her shoulder”
She didn’t come back after that night – I knew
she had gone back to Boston, to take control over her life. I waited. The phone never rang to give
me news or an explanation, inexplicably silent even though I was certain she
could find the number had she wished to. And
I waited. My mailbox was painfully empty every day, while I dreamt of
letters touched by her fingers, read aloud by her warm voice. And yet I waited.
I waited because I had no choice – I was meant
to wait for her. Our lives were inextricably connected, vessels adrift on the
sea with an intended destination written in the stars. I had tried to forget
her before, to live pretending I wasn’t waiting – and that had hurt more than
the hours I spent awake at night, looking at the spot where she once had laid
by my side. But there was that small fraction of time, that heartbeat, just
before I opened my eyes in the morning, where everything was possible – and I
Sometimes I would catch myself checking the
weather in Boston, wanting to know if she could see the stars in clear skies –
at least I could share that proximity with her. I wondered if she had drank
coffee, dark and strong, while her eyes were still half-shut. If she had
decided on a specialty yet. That was better than wondering about her marriage –
every time I turned my thoughts to Frank, the idea of her being touched by him
brought me to a blinding state of anger and fear. I would go outside in those
occasions to run, as fast as I could for as long as I was able, until I had
fled myself and was somewhat free.
I enjoyed teaching and found great solace in my
students, curious and lively little fiends, always looking for trouble. I
dedicated myself to the task of keeping their spirits sharp and their curiosity
I had my old friends, with whom I shared
whiskey glasses and laughs at the pub – keeping a respectful distance from the
place I knew Laoghaire still frequented. They kept me grounded, even with their
crudes jokes about my bachelor status. While I was laughing, it was easier to
wait – I could almost push Claire to the back of my mind, where she would curl
and sleep, satisfied.
Saturday was born in blazing glory, sun shining
high in a cloudless sky like a treasure’s coin. I accepted the chance to spend
the morning exploring the paths at Arthur’s
Seat, pushing myself to the limit. I reached the summit with a delicious
pain at each breath intake, the air fresh like crushed mint, filling my chest
with the pulse of life.
Back at my apartment, I made plans to shower
and spend a lazy afternoon reading and napping on the couch, while I stripped
off my sweaty t-shirt, heading towards the bathroom.
That’s when the doorbell rang.
I opened it without thinking twice, expecting
perhaps to see Angus or Willie, swinging by to challenge me to watch a rugby
match or play a chess game.
Her hair was a bit shorter than the last time I
had seen her, framing a face that was slightly flushed from sunlight and
anticipation. She was wearing a white sundress and I realized I had been wrong
– my memories would never be more than a pale comparison to the woman who stood
before me. Her arms were bare, with no visible marks, her flawless skin
resembling a painting.
“May I come in?” Claire asked softly, her eyes
quickly tracing the lines of my exposed chest before she looked at my face,
“Of course.” I moved to the side, allowing her
in. I brushed my hair with nervous fingers, desperately looking for an old
t-shirt to dress. Eventually, I settled for the one I had been wearing, smelling
faintly of sweat and crushed leaves.
“I wanted to come sooner.” She swallowed hard.
“I’ve been in Scotland for a couple of days, but had to take care of some
papers to start my surgical residency here and find somewhere to stay
permanently.” Claire searched my eyes. “I’m moving back to Scotland.”
“Aye.” I said in a husky voice. “I’m glad to
see ye, Claire.”
“I’m glad to see you too, Jamie.” She smiled,
more confident. “These past two years, I -“
“Ye dinna have to explain anything to me.” I
interrupted, feeling strangely hollow, fighting against anger which came with a
sense of relief.
“I think I do.” Claire insisted, stepping
closer to me. “I want you to know that I heard you, Jamie. I didn’t want to
make promises until I truly meant them. I had to finish school and decide what
I really wanted for my life.”
“And did ye?” I croaked, folding my arms in a
defensive gesture, pre-emptively shielding myself from bad news.
“Yes.” She whispered. In that moment she
reached out with her hand, offering it to me with her palm down – naked. Her wedding ring gone. “I divorced Frank more than a year
ago – and never lived with him again after I was here.” Claire searched his
eyes. “With you.”
“Then why did ye never wrote or called?” I
asked, hurt creeping into my words. “Why did ye waited two years to show up
“I had to be worthy of you.” Claire said
simply, twisting her hands – her fingers touching the ghost of the ring that
once had been there. “I had to make sure I was coming because it was the right
thing – not because I was wrecked. You offered me everything and I wanted to
have something to give back.”
“I missed ye.” I admitted in a whisper, as her
hand touched my cheek – I closed my eyes, surrendering to her caress. “A Dhia, I thought I’d go mad with the
idea of never seeing ye again.”
“I missed you too.” She gasped, her body so
close to mine I could feel the swell of her breasts, the compelling heat coming
from her skin. “I haven’t realized I could barely breathe until now.”
“Are ye here to stay then?” I asked serious,
our eyes locking. We were gently swaying along some music we could both listen,
too eager to stand still, too afraid to finally meet in quietness. “Because if
She silenced me with her trembling fingers,
touching my mouth, learning the shape of my lips. I almost moaned with the
pleasure of her touch, so sincere and tender.
“I’m here to stay.” Claire assured me, tracing
the line of my chin, where stubble prickled. “If you’ll have me.”
“I’ll have ye in any way I can.” I whispered,
my voice almost breaking with emotion – and yet, stronger than ever before. “Always.”
“Jamie…” She sighed with a smile, her forehead
leaning against mine. “May I kiss you?” I realized she didn’t wish to rob me
another kiss, a thief taking something precious, covered in the night’s cloak.
“I thought ye’d never ask.” I gave her a lopsided
smile and our lips finally met, a kiss eighteen years in the making, hesitant
at first and then all-consuming.
We spent the afternoon discovering each other,
laying in the living room’s rug, slowly and languidly displacing clothes in
order to kiss another inch of skin, to draw shapes of desire with our
I opened the first buttons of her dress,
tracing with my tongue the curve of her breasts; she insinuated her hands on my
shorts, caressing the fine copper hairs of my thighs. I nuzzled her neck,
softly biting her until she moaned, so I could reward her with a soothing
flicker of my tongue. She laughed and playfully clawed my back, making sure I
too would wear medals of our war, marks of the victor. I marvelled with the
roundness of her arse and the feel of her swollen lips, battered with kisses,
ever-wanting. I was mightily aroused – that much was evident to us both – and
yet I didn’t move to enter her. I didn’t wish to precipitate the voyage we had
started together, to hasten something that would come naturally to us, as each one
of our meetings through life had. I would finally get a lifetime of her and
planned to savour each small conquest.
“Are ye hungry?” I asked eventually, kissing
her shoulder. She looked dishevelled and wanton, pure lust and love in the
shape of a woman – I’d never seen her more beautiful or desirable.
“I’m starved.” She laughed, nuzzling the hollow
of my chest one final time. “Will you feed me then?”
“Ach, I’m too knackered to cook.” I admitted,
playing with her curls – already sorely missing her lips on mine. “But there’s
a fantastic Mexican place nearby – I’ll buy ye dinner.”
“If you’re planning to intoxicate me with Margaritas,”
Claire sat up and started to compose her clothes. “I have to say it’ll probably
work like a charm.”
We left the house walking hand in hand, like
two loved up teenagers, giggling and teasing each other. I’d pull her against
me once in a while to kiss her again, to the general amusement and surprise of
people around us. I didn’t know such happiness was possible – I felt my chest
so full that no space was left for regret or doubt.
We were talking about plans to spend Sunday
together, when we heard the commotion. A loud crash, someone screaming – the air
was thick with tension, harder to breathe in. I felt Claire gripping my hand
one final time before she let go, prepared to face what was certainly coming
around the corner.
A man with a black ski mask emerged from the
sizable jewellery store, which had imposing diamond rings and golden necklaces
peeking through the window displays. He carried a dark sports bag at his
shoulder and in one hand sported a menacing revolver, while the other grabbed a
shrieking shopkeeper by the hair. Blood dripped from the side of her head, where
she had probably been pistol-whipped, her eyes blank with shock.
An alarm went off inside the store, an unnerving
sound that made me shiver, the hairs on my arms erecting in fear.
The robber shouted something – a car was
waiting near the curb, another masked man inside it. He forcefully pushed the
woman against the sidewalk, her head bumping against the edge with a nauseating
sound of crushed eggshells.
I think I screamed, trying to stop Claire from
moving – I knew she would go. She had healed me times enough for me to know
that she wasn’t capable of witnessing suffering without trying to interfere.
It happened in a second and yet I saw it in
slow motion – how she kneeled next to the woman, trying to stabilize her neck,
to evaluate her wounds, calling for her with the lips I just had kissed moments
before. The man in the ski masked turned and looked at her, laughing at the
sight of her unfruitful gestures – she held his gaze in defiance, insulting him
with her sharp tongue.
I was already screaming before it happened – I could
see it so clearly and yet I was powerless to stop it. The gunshot that
announced the ending, loudest even than my heart breaking.
I ran to her, trying to catch her before she
fell on her back. For a moment I thought he had missed her – but a drop of red
appeared on the white of her dress, spreading quickly across her belly like a
net of poison, a cloud of blood drenching the fabric.
She looked at me with her eyes wide open in
painful shock. I sobbed and cried for help, trying to keep her with me through
a stupor of despair, my hands pressing the wound as my heart’s blood left her
“Jamie.” Claire whispered weakly, searching my
eyes. And I started to pray, as sirens wept around me.
Note: I know it’s angsty but - hey- it’s canon! :D