NOTE: This has nothing whatsoever to do with "Text of Light," save for some overlapping characters and the same author. I was in a sentimental mood when I wrote this, so be forgiving. It's really just a nice Rogue-inner-monologue sorta thing. Well, I tried, at least.


Snap Shots

O'Shaugnessy

 

It's raining in her head again. Droplets of moisture trace the contours of her face and through the blur of water she sees images etched behind her eyelids. She sees his face,and knows she'll miss his eyes the most.

She wonders why he refused to look at her before she left, though they passed each other in the halls any numbers of times. Each time he looked through her, past her. Maybe into her. She never asked. She could only guess what he saw: the woman he loved. The woman who stole his love, along with all the secrets he so fiercely hid from everyone. She thinks back to what he said the night things fell apart, words that seem a century old already, "... kinda sad, isn't it... they can't even touch, or hold each other... just thought that was sad, is all." In her mind he speaks with her accent.

She remembers the last time she saw him, on the roof of the mansion. His favourite spot faced west, towards the glowing embers of the setting sun. She'd always told him to stop smoking, and now he stood with nothing in his restless hands. He seemed incomplete without a fag dripping from his lips. His breath heaved in the cold air. Perhaps he'd been crying. She knew better than to ask. He made a movement towards her, but stopped short. He looked down at his boots, watching raindrops puddle on the toes. She remembers how she'd faced him, trying to meet his gaze, trying to read his thoughts. He averted his eyes to her feet now, and she realized she was wearing only a cotton shirt. She feels the rain now as she felt it that night, running down her arms and legs, soaking the envelope she'd held in her hand. The rain began to fall faster, drumming against the asphalt shingles. The rhythm of the rainfall had matched the urgency of her mood then, just as the thunder of the train frames her passion now.

That was the last time they been together on the roof before she left. They'd stood like statues, without speaking. After a moment he continues past her. His hesitation was the only indication that he had seen her at all. She heard the crunch of his feet as they scaled the wall and pressed into the soft ground, growing fainter as he disappeared into the ocean of the night.

She readjusts herself in the seat. The old woman sitting in front of her has been replaced by a large Chinese man. He snores loudly, dragging her back from painful memories.

Not all of them are painful, though. She remembers crying in his arms after her father ignored her hundredth pleading letter. She remembers walking with him in the forest surrounding the mansion, telling him the common name of every flower as he whispered them back to her in French. She saw her first shooting star with him, her gloved hand cradled in his long fingers. Their relationship was never defined by the normal trappings of romance. Neither of them spoke about it, but they both knew love was involved. Now she is glad he never said the words aloud.

It's raining in her head again, like it was that last night. She knows she won't be able to see him through closed eyes forever. She looks at the rolling landscape of America passing her at absurd speeds through the window. She could have taken a plane to Seattle, but she wanted to have this time to herself. To think.

It was raining then too, and she wonders briefly whether sun showers are a sign of something larger. He wore his trenchcoat, moistened along the shoulders. She wore a green blouse. This was the first time since the kiss they'd returned to walk through their mountain. He was still weak from so many days unconscious; she was weak fromsleepness nights spent wondering what evils she had inherited from his memory. At the last minute, he decided to take a camera with them. He loaded it with colour film, hoping to capture their time together, hoping for superficial proof of their happiness. They'd climbed a steep hill, grabbing at branches and saplings to keep their balance on the brittle rocks. At the top they rubbed their blistered palms and brushed dirt from their socks. He pulled his body next to hers on the wet ground. She turned in time to see his face leaning into hers. She couldn't help but turn away from him, blinking away the rain in her eyes and she blinked away the image of his lips against hers. She flinched at the thought of absorbing any more secrets from his psyche, and hid her expression behind a wet tangle of hair. She didn't want him to see her cringe. They stood in frozen animation, the silence broken only by the gentle click-whir of the camera shutter open and close once, capturing the moment forever. He got up and quietly walked away, leaving her cringing at the trees and the sky.

It had been a few days later that she saw the manilla envelope sitting on her bed. Her name bled across the front in smeared ink, his name scrawled in the corner. The paper felt soft and worn in her grasp as she gently seperated the gummed flaps. A series of glossy snapshots fauceted onto her comforter, creating a fragmented portrait. Her own face stared back at her, a mocking repititon of the same repulsed expression. Enlargments had been made of her eyes and mouth, twisting in disgust as she had flinched away from him. Captured and trapped in one clink of the shutter. She saw what he must have seen, and she understood why he ignored her. She knew then it was time to leave.

She holds the same envelope now, turning it over and over in her hands as though it's the only connection she still has to him. She knows they may never meet, may never see his eyes again, black as that night when she tried to say goodbye. She wonders if he is still on the roof, thinking of her as she thinks of him. Her head hangs shamefully as it does in the photos she carries. She closes her eyes, and through the rain the only face she sees is his.


This story is indebted to Carol Wang, who will understand why if she ever reads it. I need feedback on this one -- good, bad, and ugly. -O'Shaugnessy, the sap.


BACK