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Friday, March 30, 2007

Dennis Son

She was dark haired with smooth, shimmering skin that was pale and pearlescent. Her admirers compared her to the tall lily and the white iris, because of her delicacy and her radiance.

But her favourite suitor called her Lotus.

She liked it because of the way he said it, his lips shaping the round vowels like kisses. She also liked the cheeky way he would refer to himself as "the future Lotus-eater". It was thrillingly naughty, and it made her giggle and blush.

He looked into her dark blue eyes and told her that she was his Lotus, and she was intoxicating. He wanted nothing more than to be with her, and near her always. The longer she was with him, the less he wanted to leave her.

In the evenings, he would visit her at her mother's house, and they would sit in the garden. He would read her poetry from a small volume bound in brown leather, and she would sit on the bench with her hands folded. Like a proper lady. Their favourite poet was Tennyson, partly because of her namesake poem, but mostly because they loved the flower in the crannied wall.

Her nickname for him was 'Dennis Son', but she shortened it to "Dens".

He was eighteen years old when he died from terrible wounds in a terrible crash. She had made it to the hospital just in time to hold his hand, one last time. He called out her name before he died. She was sixteen.

And from then on, it was Lotus and her mother, just the two of them.

"Would you like to see his picture?", Lotus asked me.

She rifled through her wallet and brought out a small photograph.

We looked at it together. Smiling out at me was a dark-haired boy, with hair combed neatly back away from his forehead. He wore a jacket with the collar turned up, and his eyes were laughing. Lotus looked at me and sighed, "Isn't he beautiful? He was so proud when he had this picture taken." She touched the picture lightly with one finger, tracing the line of his cheek and chin.

The photo was slightly worn around the boy's face.

"There was no one to replace him. I tried going out with other boys, but it always felt wrong. There was only Dens for me. In the end it was just Mam and myself, and we looked after each other so we were never lonely. I think Mam would have liked me married, but it's better this way. I've been content."

She sighed and looked at her feet.

"I think it was good he died so young, loving me and remembering as I was, his own Lotus blossom. I wouldn't like him to see me now, the way I am, so tired and ill."

Her hands were no longer smooth and the pearlescence of her skin had long gone. Her dark hair was white-streaked and stringy, her blue eyes were filmy and dim. And her voice bore the faint creaking sound of senility.

But Dens was forever young in her mind's eye, beloved and beautiful even after sixty long years. He would come for her someday soon and reward her years of faithfulness, he would come with hands outstretched, smiling in his roguish way.


Blogger Never That Easy said...

What a touching story; and so well told.

12:23 am  
Anonymous Sheryl said...

Now you've got me crying...

1:24 am  

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