This week's warm-up exercise asked for a vignette, using the phrase, 'We meet again' as our prompt.
Never having written a vignette before I consulted the all-knowing deity of Wikipedia, which states that a vignette is, "a short, impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment, or gives a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, a setting and sometimes an object."
In for a penny... :)
We Meet Again.
I'm exactly where I want to be and falling heavily into selfish sleep, as if encased in the densest of iron armour. Deeper. Faster. Yes...just there. Now come the wine-sodden images I've recently come to enjoy and embrace; almost to depend upon.
Complete and utter nonsense. Well, of course they are, but as I bask in the sudden lightness of fluffy, ridiculous visions, fuelled by three bottles of finest Spanish red, I sense my distant, sleeping form unload an uneven smile and release a relaxed sigh into the pillow.
Chocolate horses, smiling at the window. That's a new one. I cheer wildly as an immaculately-dressed marching band waltzes up the path to serenade my house. Yes boys, louder please! Not a house any more, now a proud Gothic castle. Fine suits of armour bedeck my columned Great Hall, where medieval minstrels perform from their purpose-built gallery and Georgina Johnson from 'Human Resources' is regaling an entranced audience with a belly dance which would make wizened kings weep joyously into their ale.
Before I can blink, I'm holding a steaming mug of tea and arguing with the seven foot tall Viking who's appeared just in front of me.
He wants to go to the opera. I prefer the ballet. Voices are understandably raised. Entire villages will soon be flattened and raised due solely to differences in creative expression, but there's no backing down now. I'm still yelling into his pitted face about inspiring pirouettes, plus the full technical wonder of the 'Pas de deux', when I sense subtle movement behind his right shoulder. Curious eyes life slowly from my opponent's wrinkled, bearded visage and fall instead onto the face of another. In a single heartbeat, Olaf's foul breath vanishes from my nostrils and my fantasy castle evaporates around me.
Eyes locked only on hers. I'm acutely aware of the overpowering stillness, yet the all-consuming knowledge that somewhere a cruel, celestial clock is counting down priceless moments.
Some clumsy words stumble from my lips.
"I...I've been thinking..."
"I know you have, darling. I've felt every thought. Every word."
It's her. I know it more that anything I've ever felt in my sixty-three years of awareness.
"Sara, I went to the garden yest..."
"I walked every step with you, sweetheart, and our sunflowers have never looked more beautiful. But, you mustn't cry there. Not any more."
"It's not a question of fair, my love. It is what it is. It's simply how things are meant to be."
A dull, heavy pain rolls through my chest and I sense that time will soon release itself from whatever temporary, delicious spell that has it caged.
"I love you too, my darling Peter, and always will. Remember this, here and now. Remember us. Hold these moments as tightly as you can manage and draw whatever strength you need from them. From us. No matter what your mind tells you."
I smile deep into her eyes as our fingers meet, causing spiralling sparks of shared sensations to momentarily dance freely around us; memories finely crafted from over thirty-three years of blissful companionship. my best friend in the universe. Always.
"I promise, Sara. I'll remember."
For a glorious, luxurious second and three quarters, I hold her entire face to my memory, until her ever-loving smile is the very last image to fade from my sight and I find myself sat upright in bed; my arms locked around my torso in a protective, healing hug.
Dear God, my soul had missed that smile.