By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
HE sat on his chair, blued, like the walls. He remembered his wife. He remembered the women with whom he had fathered his children. He remembered all his women. He knew bits and pieces of them. He remembered the peculiar tastes of intimacies, and tried to capture the memories which began to intensify with the rising of the moon. The moon waxed his memories slowly, like a ball of cheese dipped in beeswax, preserved, but unable to breathe.
He had, in his mind, and to the best of his memory loved them all. Like a gardener who appreciated the quality of each flower, he loved them all. He gave his full attention to each one of them, most often in the degree that fell short of the escalating desires for exclusive attention. He truly believed he gave them happiness, which, in his rough arithmetic, was more than the sum of the unspoken sorrow of inevitable parting.
So that, in between meetings, in between the official discharge of his duties as a public official and in between all other unofficial but equally important concerns, he looked at the green carpet of foliage by his window. Something in the vast space of green, something in the trees, stills his soul. He remembers a feeling, a feeling of intimacy that he has yet to define, an attachment that continue to bind him, especially at a time of great stress, uncertainty, and the reality of the passing of all things.
He looked at her like he wanted to say something. There was so much he wanted to say, but all the words collided as they exited in his mouth. The coherence with which he planned to lay out what he wanted to say became snarled as the words tumbled out racing each other, jammed in a bottleneck surrounding his tongue. He wanted to touch her hand, but he hesitated, and when he prevailed upon his hesitation, she was gone.
He juggled his memory on how she came to his life, or how he came to hers, the confluence of events that precipitated a very long engagement with fate. It seemed only yesterday, when they were counting flowers, which could have yielded fruits had the ground been given enough care to sustain its growth. Despite this neglect, some flowers bore fruits, reminding him that a tree could grow from a seed, in between the cracks of a rock, at the mercy of harsh elements, by sheer will and the innate quality of its origins, and the string of destiny that awaits all living things.
She was gone, but never left. In between the words, spaces of silence, distance became a bridge. She was always there, a soft breath weaving among the foliage of trees, a lyrical psithurism sang by the nymphs.
This song he recognizes, a comforting union with his own breath, in the rare moments of his solitude.
There, stay there
in between the spaces
small spaces to breathe
the scent of a flower
from a bridge
visible in between
the rustle of leaves
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