Sunlight touches with tentative fingers crumbling walls that once stood proudly. A square of gold on creamy beige, a pool of light in shadow. Footfalls echo in empty rooms. Here, thousands of shuffling feet once scuffed against packed earth, sending motes of dust into a dance. Nothing dances now, except for red figures painted on peeling walls, their breath forever bated, their feet suspended three feet from the floor. A throne sits in a silent chamber, waiting for the return of a long-dead king. Waiting for the return of music and laughter, waiting for a day when its surrounding rooms might fill with voices again. Just once. Just once perhaps one could call the mass of rubble, Knossos. Knossos of Crete. Knossos of Minos, king of ghosts, for that is all that remains of his subjects now. But if you listen in those illuminated light wells, if you pause and watch the dust rise and settle, you might hear him whisper, “I am not a myth.”
Sunlight blurs all sharp edges, all harsh memories. All dissolves in sunlight and dissipates into motes of gold dancing among shadows. Upon these shadows, leaves fall like flakes of paint falling from forgotten paintings. Red, gold, and remnants of green; they colour the canvas of soft earth. Against these falling leaves, the sky seems bluer still. There is a certain brightness in autumn skies, a certain clarity. A blue so vividly blue, I squint my eyes to watch clouds sail across the celestial seas, though I wish I could keep them open, if only to commit each shimmering detail to memory. Time passes as clouds do: clouds shift and disappear behind trees and shadows, leaving me to wonder if they ever passed at all.
A warm wind sweeps through fallen pine needles as they dance around my feet. The air is kissed with memories of summer, but the night sky is unmistakably autumnal. Perhaps millennia ago, our ancestors learned the subtle difference between summer and autumn, and reminded their children not to long for the sweetness of summer nights when winter was just a few daydreams away. So they remind me still, a child gazing at their glittering eyes through the only bridge of time we know. In a corner of speckled sky, a red star glints at me; the mark of Mars like an insignia in the blue of midnight. I have never wished upon the red flicker of Mars, and surely the god of war grants no wishes to a dreamer like me, but I whisper a wish anyway, just in case he feels a certain sympathy tonight for the race who has forgotten him. Or perhaps my wish is another way of telling him, “I still remember you.”
“Why do you smile so often?”
“Because if I do not, I will forget the part of myself that knows how to smile; I will forget that I ever knew happiness.”
Petals fall from skies of palest rose. If this is a dream, I would linger until rays of morning sun stir me from my sleep. If this is a dream, I would bargain with the gods of illusion for more time. If this is a dream, winter sunlight would warm my fingertips, and winter skies would be bluer than the mornings of my memories. In which realm does happiness last? In which realm do petals blush eternally? If eternity exists, I would reside in its corner of a single hour, the indeterminate hour of spring twilight and summer evenings. Perhaps then my porcelain heart whose gossamer fractures threaten to widen still, might beat again. Perhaps then, my eyes whose glistening sheen renders them an indeterminate colour, might smile again.
Beneath the trembling currents of a lake kissed by an evening breeze, another realm resides. The twilit sky takes a paler lavender hue beneath that shimmering surface, and a separate god whispers across those dimming skies. Silhouettes reflect and multiply; fallen leaves dance in kaleidoscopic patterns between the last muted rays of sunlight. Silence reigns in that other world; if memories could live again, they would live there, just beyond the touch of my fingertips. As always, the further I reach into those depths, the more they fade before my glistening eyes, until all I see is my own reflection with an expression I do not recognize.
Numbness spreads through my fingertips, and in my spotted vision I wonder if this is how Socrates felt when hemlock cooled his veins. A tear falls, then another. People say you relive your memories when you die, but perhaps I am not even permitted that final, farewell gift. My reel of memories stays in this moment, rendering this minute, this second, eternal. Tonight I will not die. Tonight I will sleep and tuck my quilt up to my chin just as my mother used to do when I was too naive to know the wrath of inner demons. Tears trickle like streams of blood; my body does not bleed though my spirit does. Perhaps tonight, a part of my soul will die, and I will mourn forevermore.
If you ever feel the urge to harm yourself or take your life, here is the number of the national suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Please take care and know that you are loved.
Soft rain taps on panes of glass, on dark earth and fallen leaves. A warm breeze kissed with autumn invites me to dance, and in our waltz the fragrance of rain and pine needles envelops me. How many times have I gazed upon this sky, in different bodies with different faces, but always the same eyes? How many years have passed since raindrops drew ripples in my memories, just as they do now? Sunlight streams through silver clouds and trickles into pools of gold. Within these pools my eyes gaze back at me, just as they did some lifetimes ago.
Between closed blinds, sunlight streams down cream-coloured tiles into puddles of reflection. Light and water pool together like threads of gold in silver, and within those ripples my trembling eyes stare back at me. The fragrance of Venetian roses—or so the overturned bottle at my feet reads—envelops my skin and I wonder for a moment if one can bare her reality as one bares her body to the soft mist of a morning shower. Dawn glitters through frosted glass, and in the soft glow, I wonder if I might be in Venice, for just a moment, that the hum of Chinatown might instead be the sound of dreamers awakening. And perhaps it is. Some distance away, a bird sings. My mother knocks. A thousand Venetian roses fade from our overlapped reality. All is still, and the day begins.
Leaves blush under an open sky. Spiced air fragrant of firewood and fallen leaves swirl in currents of bated breath that dissolve to nothing. Drafts drift through kitchen doors, past framed faces, and glass-pressed places drawn in ink. Window panes reflect the sunless sky and fill their depths with deepest grey; step closer and you might touch a silver lining. If painted nudes could shiver, they would to the touch of autumnal air, and fill their eyes with red and gold. If I could rest my eyes on just one day, perhaps I would choose this one and fill my soul with eternal autumn.
Whispers of the wind weave a veil of autumnal grey. Morning mist clings to an evergreen, half in love and half in fear of falling yet deeper in love. Sunlight is their enemy, dawn their spring of tears; but the evergreen remains impassive and the mist clings tighter still. Minutes come and minutes go; denial in time’s constant passing only hastens its flow. The cloak of mist is thinner now as it intertwines through each pine needle to kiss its lover goodbye. Sunlight sparkles through the mist, and crystals of vapour float away like motes of dust. A cloudless sky reveals an endless blue—a sea of tears above a lone evergreen.