Dear, Where is Our Ember?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
"Dear, Where is our Ember" is a short story which deals primarily with the confusion and desperation which necessarily proceeds from a profound loss. Particularly, it describes my own experience after the loss of my girlfriend, and how I experience physical spaces in which we spent much time together. Thank you for reading!

Submitted: March 24, 2014

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Submitted: March 24, 2014

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Dear, Where is Our Ember?

A very short story, By Alex Pandelidis

He slipped his hand into the lining of his corduroy pocket. Trembling fingers grasped at the poisonous rods. He finally managed to slip a single one from the tightly packed grid of filters. The crude foam insulation crept out of the woodwork as if to invade. As the tobacco combusted the ember illuminated an undefined sphere of space. The light was warmest at the source and expanded in all directions, throwing imperceptible shadows across the shapes scattered throughout the haunted place. The singularity of light, punctured only by the first hint of dawn, had a breath unto itself. The young man, as he inhaled the shapeless remnants of the burning leaves, took account of the fact that his emaciated thighs were shaking, as were the tips of his fingers. Memories, as hazy as the smoke which penetrated the fragile walls of his lungs, welled up in the spaces between miseries. There, they ran their insidious course, wreaking havoc on the deteriorating reality of the past. The despair garnished each benevolent memory, corrupting each with the sarcastic sneer of depressed reflection. Only a few months ago, the same human, at least in physical form and societal identity, existed here. Here, where laughter and contentment had frolicked, was where the hole its departure had left was most intimate. The reminiscence of what had been lost, what had passed from life to death, was acutely tangible in this place of all places.

He turned to his left, surveying the empty seats around the aging table. A phantom, though invisible to all, even to God, befell him with a forgotten gaze. She raised her eyes, and he saw his own withered figure mirrored in the cerebral glaze of her deep, almond eyes. It was as if she had passed him in a crowd of thousands, many years ago and had paused for the briefest of moments on his figure, only now connecting him to that instance long ago where their souls had met.  He, among the tortured creatures, was rushed into the awaiting cattle cars. She caught his glance before the bolts locked and the light was constricted only through what could penetrate the cracks in the framework.  She smiled a knowing smile, one that exuded both fondness and finality in equal quantities. Had they been old friends? Had they been lovers? Neither knew, for the instance was too fleeting to capture and analyze. With a trembling chin, his eyes filled with disbelief, he provoked a question.

“My love, where have you been? Have you been in the new pastures, I couldn’t find you there?

“I’ve been everywhere, except here. Here, with you.” She whispered back- a plea for him to understand the incomprehensible.

He retorted desperately: “But love, I’ve needed you here and nowhere else.”

Her figure diminished and any hint of joy left the gulf between the two phantoms, leaving a silence that stretched from the Antarctic and across the sea to a place where even the waves’ crests were unheard.

“Don’t you understand?” She breathed. “That’s the one place I can’t go, love.”

“I miss you so terribly though.” His eyes saturated with denial, as though she was playing a cruel joke on him.

She fixed her gaze at his feet and said, “I miss you too...” trailing off.

Suddenly the calm broke and he jumped to his feet angrily. “Wait!” he pleaded. “You can’t leave me all alone!”

“It’s not me who’s leaving, it’s her.”

And as transient as the cigarette ember’s burning light, she disappeared, leaving the young man standing, grasping at nothingness, in a feigned attempt to capture what can never be captured, what can never be had.

 

 


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