Everything melts together as light through a prism twice;
Divergent wavelengths, tribes on a Gaean fold.
Converging tribes through the second prism go.
Motherhood’s compelling strength freed her on the third attempt and Amanda’s instinctual drive propelled her into the fiery inferno to save them. Fate smiled kindly as the mother dog saved all her puppies.
I headed to the hotel with Jeanne to meet my future sister and brother-in-law and their four year old son, Tom. They had flown in from the East Coast for our wedding on the Saturday.
Since it was my first time meeting them, my mouth felt sawdust dry with nervousness. So, I popped in a stick of Bazooka bubblegum and relished its wonderful ooey, gooey, juicy, flavorful experience.
Shortly after arriving at the hotel, four year old Tom and I were left alone in the adjoining suite while Jeanne helped her sister and husband put together a tray of appetizers and drinks in the other room. It didn’t take much to realize this little tyke would be a challenge to entertain.
I decided to blow up the largest bumble I could. Giggling, he looked on with delight as the bubblegum expanded. Then, the little brat punctured it with his index finger. The icky, sticky bubblegum splattered like some ghost vomited pink slime on my well coiffed facial hair.
The rest of that evening was spent attempting to expunge that damn, lousy bubblegum from my beard.
Saturday morning, I gave up and sadly shaved off my beard and moustache.
Proximity which is touchable yet untouchable but not a stochastic encounter ; he, Sunni, she, Shia, look down from their autocephalous ledge into a day steeped in bitterness of yesterdays with dread of tomorrow.
Sylvia stopped half way down the stairs and let the music from the piano flow through her, gently kissing the shores of her soul. Her step softened as she descended to the bottom of the stairs and glided across the floor to the living room where the piano tuner tested the results of his art. Standing in the entranceway she watched Jameson’s hands dance across the keys breathing life back into the Heintzman she had bought barely a month ago at an estate auction.
She had met Jameson at the party of a friend around the time she had bought the piano. Unable to explain how she had known or how it had happened, by the end of the evening she had thrown her practical conservatism and finely tuned logic to the wind and had fallen in love with him.
She watched his shoulder length blonde hair sway to and fro to the rhythm and tempo of the music. Spiriting herself across the floor, she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him. “Oh my god! That was beautiful! What’s it called?”
“Rhapsody in Blue,” he said, separating her arms and turning to face her. “This piano was a steal. I hope you know that? And, now that it’s tuned…well…” He placed his arms around her waist and pulled her closer.
Disengaging his hands, she walked a short distance away before turning to face him. “What I’m about to ask I’ve never asked anyone before. And, quite honestly, I’m at a loss of how to go about asking it?” She took in a deep breath. “But, here it goes anyway. Would you move in with me?”
To stop her from saying anything further he held up his hand. “Shush! Of course I would.”
“You need to know something.”
“We love each other. What else is there to know? Mind you,” she said chuckling, “I’d like to know your secret to staying thin.”
He pursed his lips. “That’s what we need to talk about.” He led her back to the piano bench and sat her down. He sighed deeply before beginning. “I have a rare condition called short bowel syndrome or SBS. Quite honestly I’m as normal as I am because of the Orphan Drug Act passed 30 years ago”
“Let me finish. Every night I attach an IV to my arm for 8 hours to get my daily nutrients since I can’t absorb the ones I need with solid food.”
“But, I’ve seen you eat.”
“Basically, I eat only for the pleasure of it.” He sat down beside her and, resting his arms across his thighs, looked up at her.
She took his hand in hers. “Whatever lies ahead, we’ll face together.” Tears bubbled up in his eyes. “Why don’t you play another tune? Something more lively.”
Turning to the piano with a large smile, he began to sing and play his rendition of the song Nagasaki while watching Sylvia’s gyrations in rhythm with the music.
Christopher and Adam were deliriously giddy in October 2004 as they splashed accelerant onto the floors and walls of the main block of Hafodunos Hall—a residence in disrepair since 1993. The glint in their eyes was nothing short of evil as their lighted matches hit the floor.
Flames licking hungrily at their heels, they didn’t stop running until they knew they were safe. Cheating death for profit had become a ritual as they flopped down on the slope for a smoke to admire their handiwork.
With relish they awaited the police and local firemen and shivered in the chill of the Welsh air.
When they finally slithered over the brow of the hill, a silver-plated lighter with Christopher’s initials was left behind.
“Here my sweet, you must keep up your strength,” Henry pleaded, offering the spoonful of broth.
“I just can’t…please Henry,” Margaret muttered through tightly flattened lips. Gently, she pushed aside his offering. “Don’t look at me that way. I haven’t given up…honestly…I haven’t. It’s just that…today’s…not a good day.” She reassuringly squeezed his hand. “Maybe… later.”
Born in 1812, Margaret had been on a trajectory to fame as a poet until she had been diagnosed with breast cancer twelve years earlier at the age of 28. She and Henry had lived in Hafodunos Hall since their marriage.
Henry waved for the servant to take away the tray. “I heard what you just said…but…might you be up to going to the conservatory? It would only be for a short stay.”
“There’s mischief in your eyes.”
“You know me too well, my sweet,” he laughingly replied. “Well?…Are you?”
Nodding, she shut her eyes and breathed deeply as Henry pulled back the covers and scooped up her frail, feather-weight body in his arms.
Nuzzling into his neck, she nibbled on his earlobe. “You still know how to sweep a lady off her feet, Henry Sandbach.”
“So, I haven’t lost my touch, then?”
“Not in the least, my darling.”
He placed her on the wood carved tapestry chaise in the conservatory and tucked the blanket around her. “Are you warm enough?” She looked up at him with a quizzical expression. “Be patient, you’ll soon learn.”
Her brother, Edward, and their cousin, Charlotte, entered and took up their positions: he at the piano and she standing beside him.
The melodic union of word and song flowed with ease across the room and washed through Margaret. They were her words. From her poem “Lamentation.”
Intent on putting most of her poetry to song, “Lamentation” was the only one she heard before she passed away later that night.
The conservatory and service wing survived the fire. During a routine search of the property by police, Christopher’s lighter was found, eventually leading to their arrest.
Seven years later—like the Phoenix rising from the ashes—the abandoned beauty of Hafodunos Hall was restored to a residence again and Margaret’s poetry was finally put to song by Linda Lamb and Mark Baker.