Living Ghosts - Eclipse

This story has been sitting on computer for years. So, i may as well post it somewhere.

I silently walked beside her footsteps along the long water's edge of that beach. I could say, I suppose, it was another just another lonely day, amongst many, finished nearly at sunset. The only existence there being the sounds of waves gently reaching this Atlantic oceanfront. The saline scent of that ocean keeps the good memories. Whether it was off the coast of Massachusetts or Florida. The Atlantic was there at some, any, and all points in time. To tell me that beyond that water lies so much undiscovered. That it’s reflection of the sky itself is the reflection of the depths of the universe. On the surface of waves are millions of galaxies.

Just like those in her eyes under the far-off moonlight. And the dreams they tell me of my place. That what we were, is what we are; what we’re going to be. Who I was is, who I am, and everything she loved about me and all that circularity. Or perhaps it was clarity. It was that day in 1882 when I arrived to realize life. It was clear that all the moments are less about how they’re spent and more about whom you spend them with. Oddly, I came to realize this when I was alone. When I looked back, her footprints were never there. Apart from those I saw within my mind; footprints washed away by the waves and winds over 100 years ago. My soul is much older, by far, than myself.

drifting moon after midnight

----

One day, she told me, that she’d only be a ghost in my memory. She knew He’d come in the night like a thief. With each passing day she tried to ease me into the unavoidable eventuality; the prediction of her death. That He’d come to take her away in the silence. The story of my life reborn and it’s why I care so much now in this life. I've been here before and the flashes remind me. The dreams remind me. The memories remind me.

It was somewhere around 1877 and in Iowa. A small town, distant from "civilization" by today's measures, though even back then it was in the middle of nowhere. Yet it wasn't the desolate nowhere that you may imagine. No, it was the closest you could come to heaven. The main road sparsely decorated with small bushes of carnations and flowering cherry trees here and there. While massive oaks created tree lines some dozen yards behind the buildings.

All those buildings, the restaurant, the merchantile, the businesses, all the long-gone homes themselves. Visions of these things, the details have become fuzzy over the years I was alive, though not born yet. Still, I have slight glimpses of faces of people I once knew, in others greetings.

Yet she's the one that hasn't faded from my memory.

She and I used to sit under that starlight, cycling natural verses through our minds. Best defined, reading them off the ridges of the falling leaves in autumns. That and within the hopes in prophecies, telling of those who will speak words which will restore the hope.

And here I am today still waiting and wondering. Is she still there, in that past life, still living her days with my former self, who I’m not now, as if time never went forward. The hours dropped, the clock has stopped, nine past never. Perhaps another dimension of myself, I am still by her side in that paradise pondering the days and their meanings. Still frames.

And there were the stars. In the night sky, does she see the same stars i do?

Or has enough time passed that they're taken for granted? Like you, would you only notice them when they’re gone?

Under that starlight way back then, that was our home. I didn't feel at home unless I was with her and she with I. Yes, I suppose, she was my home. The depths of which she had in her soul were especially more protective than that aged cabin that I lived in on the edge of town way back then. I was living alone at the age of sixteen, doing small chores for neighbors, going through schooling and having thanks what appreciated charitability i received from others in that town.

Yet, my most enjoyable moments were with her in the still of night. The two of us making wishes on those falling stars. One after another after another. Running through the tall grass, spotting fireflies like we were children. How the scent of the summer air changed as the sun went down. As the grass became dewy. Imagine it, that scent of moisture after a semi-humid day that becomes comfortable in the light of the pink sunset.

The places of dreams you wish you could capture to live again when you’re down.

You run through the grass in your bare feet as the it scrunches beneath them with the softness of feathers. It’s a sound you usually ignore. Yet, it has a calming effect after a sunset. Nature casts its spell and we'd unknowingly adapt to its magic where time froze forever; to capture what we knew one day would be our fading light together.

It was in those times that i would be in her company. Everyone would tell us that we knew nothing of love at sixteen. That we were too young but maybe they were just too old to remember. We’d sit against the western side of the merchantile watching that sun dip below the horizon, night after night, and just lie on our backs. We'd spot stars until, worked up towards the liveliness they delivered and stayed up until we crashed into sleep. Within the dim life-light of the oil lamps lining the streets, was our home.

The most amazing nights would be those of late June and early July as the moon was low in the sky with its dull orange tint. We'd stay throughout the night, after our active days of work, close under that wide sky. Staying close, it was not for the warmth but just for the comfort. That comfort I've hardly felt since then. It was the comfort with her that made me feel so damn alive. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I miss those days with her. That life with her. One that I held on to as long as I could.

And I gladly remember the fact that our flame never burned out.

A couple years passed with us doing what’d we’d always done; staying young. Yet now here we were at eighteen and at the beginning of our long-since-started adulthood. And everything was expected of us, as it always had been. Yet, no one had ever been there for us our whole lives. Other than our own strength. So all we expected were each other; nothing less and nothing more. Nothing more would be the truth though.

That last night she and i stood outside in front of a campfire and made the most of the conversation. All i could do is hold back sadness, for i knew what the sunrise held. She’d be gone just as the sun sparkles' danced in the dew on every blade of grass. We didn't speak much of anything, especially not of the arrival, and instead just held each other close.

Hour after hour went by and I began to tear up just as the light began to form from the horizon. The fire was burning down to nothing and all we could do was to have our final dance. I remember whispering into her ear, “I’ll never forget you” and seeing that smile upon her face and the twilight hue'd blue of her eyes. And I wanted to hold onto her tighter than i ever had to prevent her from ever leaving. Yet, I knew deep down that was not possible. No matter how hard I held onto her she’d never be able to stay.

Then came the last moments still hanging in the air, captured in a recording within my mind, of her final moments. We stopped dancing and she simply just looked at me and fell from herself. That was it and I couldn't help but let all the water bleed from my eyes. The salinity that welled up throughout the night was now soaking my face. And i knew that her weakened heart had failed.

I had no choice to move on after spending lonely years in that town; unaccepted and unexceptional.

And now 100 or so years later I’m here in what seems like social desolation once again. Following illusionary footsteps on this beach at sunrise; only within. Nothing’s hiding my scars of time. The ones i was born with and the experiences with tragedy. All in all it’s those things that have shown me life is worth living. Even in the moments of late night salinity and fragility that we all have. When you’re in bed tossing and turning, sometimes teary-eyed and frustrated, with a static mind having thoughts full of them. It’s natural to try to find the face behind broken smiles. The one most like us inside.

With these thoughts, I look up to the total lunar eclipse of this night, the moon fully illuminating again from its shadow. The rust-red fades out and those visions of her, alive in this time and place, also fade. Was she truly here?
Until the next eclipse, Abi, until next time. 

Write your own story based on a prompt: Eclipse

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