Monday, December 08, 2008

The Magician's Grave

I stand here, waiting. Waiting for what, I don't know. Magic, maybe.
I stand where his grave should be. He has no grave, but here is where it would be, on a hill, looking away from the city, looking up at the sky. There's a tree here instead; just starting to bloom. Ten years old.
I planted it here. When I was young, too young to really understand who he was, what death meant, who he could've been. To me, he was a friend. A mentor. A refuge, a shelter, a listening ear, a caring voice. And again, he was a friend. That meant so much to me, young though I was.
I didn't really understand what it meant to die; simply that he was gone, he was gone, he wasn't coming back ever or ever again. I couldn't see him, I couldn't speak to him, he couldn't speak to me. He was just gone; a few brief days of silent twilight until he at last slipped away, vanished into nevermore.
I remember how he died. I was there. I saw it, I remember it. I don't count those brief days of halfness in the hospital, sleeping, barely breathing, barely living. He didn't die there, that was just when the last little bit of him stuck around while the good part, the living part, the part that made him him checked to see if he was done. Had he kept all his promises, settled his affairs, fed his doves and said his goodbyes? And then he was gone, vanished. I'll never be able to explain quite what it was, just that sitting there, my little hands wrapped around his thin fingers, I looked at him, and he almost, almost, seemed to smile. Almost seemed to laugh, halfway, as the magic came to take him to be with it, his magic, my magic, the world's magic, what little of it still showed through. And then he was gone. Gone-gone, not halfway, not leaving anything to chance, not leaving anything to ordinariness. Just gone, with that last hint of laughter and the frantic panic of the machines sent by doctors and nurses to guard what little of him was left.
The others were with me, then, just as they were when he really died, for real, the first time when he stood and saved me and gave his life for mine, not twilight died in a cold white room with silent machines to watch over him. They cried with me, and took my hands, and held me, and rocked me to sleep as I cried for him, cried because I couldn't see him anymore, and I couldn't see him ever again, and that was all I understood. I didn't understand that they were crying too, and they were as lost as I.
It is doubly sad to be lost when you're a grown-up, because then there's nobody to lead you home.
But he was gone, one hundred and a half percent and never coming back, no matter how much I cried. All I have left to me are his words, his words and his scarves and his doves, and a little book with golden pages, which I gave to the inventor. But I know, somehow, the magic, his magic, my magic, is still here, in golden pages and doves and dancing stars. In the colors of the sunset, in the silent whisperings of twilight, in choice and in belief. I am not afraid.
But that's never stopped me from standing here, in front of a tree just barely in bloom, and waiting for something that I can never name. He has no grave, no gravestone, no great monument like they gave to the others. This is the only place I have to mourn for him. This is the only place anyone will ever mourn for him; I and the others who knew him. This tree is a gravestone, a living monument, sheltering doves and freely dispensing fruit and being draped in all different colors as the seasons change. Stone is dead, and he was alive, so it's alright.
It's alright.


Written while listening to this song.

2 comments:

ivy said...

"But I know, somehow, the magic, his magic, my magic, is still here, in golden pages and doves and dancing stars. In the colors of the sunset, in the silent whisperings of twilight, in choice and in belief. I am not afraid."

Sorry for the long quote, but...well. This hit something inside me; the piece was both profound, sad, and lovely. Thank you.

Dana said...

"...a few brief days of silent twilight until he at last slipped away, vanished into nevermore."

A beautiful line for a beautiful story. Very sad, but very very well done. Your writing is getting better and better, and your ability at character depth is amazing.