sometimes it feels like it was yesterday, daily prompt: 21st-century-citizen.
sometimes it feels like someone else’s memory.
an air of purity had surrounded her, when she first noticed me. i was sitting across the fire, and through the flames, i looked over to her, from time to time
wondering where she came from
wondering how many people were in love with her.
and then she noticed. i was embarrassed to stare at her, but her rather tragic face lit up when she smiled, and i couldn’t turn away. she reminded me of sophy gray, who once sat for millais, as a young girl.
oh god, she was hautingly beautiful.
all of a sudden, melancholy washed over her face and took that wonderful smile with it. cautiously, as if not to wake anyone, she got up from between the happy people, took her things and walked away, somewhere into the dark.
i had to find out who she was.
she paced across the low grass, almost running, and i imagined her in a long white gown – like waterhouse painted ophelia – its sheer layers repeating her every movement like a wavering trail of light. she ran fast, as if she were afraid. i feared to lose sight of her, so when my lungs could barely breathe anymore, i called out the stupidest thing that came to mind.
only after my words finally reached her, i realized that i actually meant them. she slowed down and, hesitatingly, turned around. once she figured it was me who had called and it was her who i meant, she stood silent, stared at me through eyes filled with tears – and her radiant smile returned.
“you’re crazy!” she shouted from afar.
“why did you follow me?”
“you looked so sad and i wanted to marry you.” my sudden bluntness really surprised me. people don’t get married just like that. not anymore. “what were you running from?”, i asked, approaching her.
“reality, i guess.”, she sighed into the pondering silence around us. “it’s just that i don’t think i belong here.”
yeah. i figured.
“this world is not for me. it’s convenient, but numbing on the senses. i don’t want to pretend that all is fine. those people there, they’re lost. they drink away, washing out every memory from their past. they shout, as if to scare off the future. they kiss and dance to at least enjoy the moments in between. but they’re really just afraid.”
“i’m afraid, too”, i erupted, “everything goes by so fast. and no one really listens, anymore. we’re basically alone.”
she smiled, knowingly. “i wonder if people always felt this helpless.”
i asked her why, but really didn’t have to, to understand. maybe we both didn’t belong, i said. maybe we would have been better off in a time when people lived together, died young and got married just like that, because they found clarity in a single face.
“you know, if this were 1850, i would marry you, right away.” she quietly admitted and in that moment, i could swear she looked like sophy gray. “but this is not our time. we would lose ourselves.”
and with that, her radiant smile died down. she turned around and walked back to the fire.
“but what if i want to lose myself with you?”
as if she read my thoughts, she replied: “you don’t really want to lose yourself. you don’t want to die young. you think you want to, but you really just hope for peace of mind like me. we need someone to make us belong, because this isn’t 1850, and it will never be.”
that feeling that you get at 17 or 18 that no one in the history of the world has ever been this close, has ever loved as fiercely or laughed as hard or cared as much. sometimes it feels like it was yesterday, sometimes it feels like someone else’s memory.