THE WOMAN OF THE MIRRORFranc68
'Amor animi arbitrio sumitur, non ponitur'- 'We choose to love, we do not choose to cease loving'.—Syrus
I do not know exactly the hour when I first met Margarida Godoy, but she was beautiful and had a brisk esprit of the halcyon days of yore. Her winsome smile of gaiety and her fain expressions had sheltered her angelic eyes of Aidenn, and her osculations of her palpable lips, like tender rose petals, but a callous murk had engrossed the enervate slightness of her frail form that bore her languor. Verily, I can hear the haunting sound of the music box play in such accordance and recognise her image in the mirror, as I am reminded of her indefatigable spirit.
Upon a saturnine day of spring her captivating exhilaration had ended, as she stood with her eloquent dress by the shores of the ocean, with the surging lament of guilt she had endured unwillingly. I had loved with all my heart this quondam, vibrant and jovial maiden, but upon one ghastly and memorable night, my life would be altered forever. Upon that terrible night, Margarida Godoy fraught with the austere daemons of her depression had drowned in the cyaneous suicidal waters that condemned her. She could not bear the unnecessary suffering any longer, and the days of laden anguish and apprehension had abated, when I did not suspect the forthcoming cessation of her pain. We had spent the day before, in the company of the waves of the ocean, and the warmth of the sun she had anticipated with pleasure. I would never see Margarida Godoy in flesh again, and the culpability of her action would haunt me for years.
The year was 1810, and my name is Antón Lugo, a Galician by birth. I was born into the local aristocracy of Galician Society, and my parents were worthy members of the nobility, but I had considered myself to be a private person in nature. The times were indeed less propitious, since the country itself was in a very precarious position. I had thought of taking an adventure to the exotic Americas anew, but the situation in The Americas was very volatile and there was too much uncertainty of the future.
Thus, I had remained in Galicia, as I sought to escape the dour and merciless encumbrance I felt strongly. My heart and soul were forever faithful to the lasting memory of Margarida Godoy, and my devotion was unquestionable and undeniable. For many days and nights I spent weeping at the shoreline, with such sullen transparency. The island I lived was in the ancient province of Galicia, Spain. It was located in the edge of the western part of the country. The island’s population was reflected in the very loyal inhabitants that had remained, after the threat of the French sanguinary incursion into Spain. A flickering lighthouse from the nearby island of Areoso could be seen often through the blurry fogs, when the oncoming ships had passed the harbour and village. The countless gulls and the sound of the ringing of the bell of the church could be heard and seen early in the mornings, as they would awaken me in my lethean slumber afterwards. I had been troubled since the day of the death of Margarida Godoy, and with the fact that I could not bury her, within the sacred rituals of a proper Christian interment I waymented.
Instead, I had erected a marble statue of her in her semblance and divinity. It was influenced, by the imposing statue of the Greek Goddess Arete, the Personification of Virtue. I could not abdicate my obligation to maintaining the purity of her behoveful memory. Therefore, I kept her majestic pulchritude alive, in spite of the macabre overtone that could be interpreted by many observers of the village. Perhaps I had extended through the realm of darkness that mere mortals do not comprehend plausibly and had deviated into the peril of my obsession carelessly. I had inscribed on the statue the inscription in Galician the words of, 'Velaí a beleza eterna da señora Margarida Godoy'. (Behold the eternal beauty of the Lady Margarida Godoy.) I undertook the task of resolving the reasons that had caused Margarida Godoy to take her life suddenly. I had pondered and pondered, until I concluded that these reasons would never truly be understood by me. Thus, I had resigned myself to the tenacious torment that would rack me with such grievous guilt, as the spirit of Margarida Godoy persisted in the lingering vestige of her soul.
One day the heavenly representation of her marble statue had crumbled into tiny fragments of stone. I was extremely surprised by what had happened to the marble statue that I immediately ordered the mason to construct another statue. Something odd happened that would dissuade me of that wanted possibility. One night whilst in my room, I had heard an unfamiliar sound coming from where the statue stood. When I went to investigate the matter, the statue stood anew. I did not know exactly what to surmise about the unfathomable occurrence of the previous night with the statue. Was this an imposing and telling sign that the ghost of Margarida Godoy was watching, and more importantly was presently nearby and wherefore?
Thereafter, the interminable days were spent in my solitary chamber staring out at the watchet of the vast ocean crestfallen and insecure, through the casement of my window. A dreary and prolonged despondency and inurement had accompanied me in the weeks afterwards, with the expected interludes of bitter estrangement. The echoes of the ocean I heard resonating, as the sounds of the waves had brushed against the shore steadfastly. The casual trill from the woodland of the euphonious birds I had listened to with great consistency.
Shortly, a strange noise from the hall of my house I heard abruptly. At first, it was indefinite in origin, until the noise grew with sheer intensity. I had presumed this sound to be perhaps the stirring wind, from the ocean. A cold draught had entered the home, as I felt the presence of an eerie stranger nigh. It was apparent that someone was in the house at that moment. The question was simply who and where? When I rose to my feet to investigate the unusual noise, I had started to hear my name whispered. The whisper gradually increased at heightened intervals, with the wind that had quickened a mysterious spirit. I was uncertain what to do, as I had looked around me. The chimerical susurrations had become more audible and intelligible. The suspicious voice I heard sounded, like the dulcet tones of the voice of Margarida Godoy. Then I heard the harmonious notes of the music box. How was this truly conceivable, since she had drowned in the waters forever?
Was I going completely mad suddenly, and I wanted to believe with all my heart that it was her alive again to worship and to treasure? The moribund gasp of her final breath had perturbed me in my incessant and diurnal nightmares. The ponderance of that implacable tribulation had obtruded in an evocative manner. So many thoughts had entered into my mind at that precise moment, as I looked and looked from top to bottom in the manor. At first, I had not found a soul in the house intruding. As I continued with my search, I had perceived the presence of an entity within the house. The putrid smell of the ocean reached my nostrils, and the heavy scent of the decomposing seaweed had spread to the adjacent rooms. I had walked agog around the entire house seeking her as I spoke to her desperately, and I waited to glimpse at her sempiternal beauty I had adored.
'Margarida, is it you? Have you come back to haunt me? If so, do not leave me alone in this wretched world of despair and dissatisfaction. Do not quit my lady in a manner that is hastily! If so, then take me with you forever! I cannot bear another day, in your absence'.
I heard a deep murmur calling my name behind me, and when I turned around, she was within the mirror that she had stared at daily. She was dressed in the uvid raiment she had worn on the day of her death; and the albicant lineaments of her pallid face were hideous and scarred, with the evident marks of the rocks of the crag. Her lovely long silky black hair was cinereous and dishevelled, and her once charming eyes and delicate hands were full of seaweed and sand. Consequently, the mysterious voice was evanescent, and the presence of Margarida Godoy I saw in the mirror had disappeared. Thus, the unbridled consternation I had expressed was devoid and depleted of joy, and had resumed to its continuous state of my unfortunate chagrin and tacent grief that I failed to expunge unsuccessfully.
After a few minutes, I realised that it was probably my mind befooling me to believe, I had descried her image—or it was the bustle of the wind that resounded her voice. Did I see and witness the ghost of Margarida Godoy in the mirror that she had adored immensively? Why did she reappear? I was forced to succumb to my reality, and I had felt the light rain drops of a cirrocumulus fall on the skin of my face, whilst I was outside. An immediate storm was approaching from the ocean, with the brontide. The sounds of the bells of the lone church rang, with full force, but the storm would not preclude the pressing dubiety that had unfolded, with this inexplicable encounter that would eventuate in a shocking manner.
Once I had allayed my angst, I sat in a chair of the parlour gazing with a very profound stare, at the portrait of Margarida Godoy. The plentiful memories were still fresh, and the wounds of amarulence were as well. Her absolute mystique was exceedingly majestic and pure to somniate. My house was old, dark, and redolent of incense, as a sombre shade of irrevocable gloom had pervaded over the hall. She was the cynosure of the house, and her vim and verve were manifest in our moonlight trysts. She had exuded a definite grace she bore with such timeless splendour, and her ludic nature was refreshing as her predilections. There was a precious trove of accessories in a chest I had valued deeply, and the pristine piano in the parlour was lorn and dusty. We had spent evenings together reminiscing, the travels we took deliciating, and listening to music of the piano and its rhapsodies afterwards.
The veil of darkness entirely had encompassed the house, with a daunting and ineluctable vestige of her death. My once dormant dreams became vivid nightmares, I had abhorred passionately. The pall of murk had persisted, with such a ponderous effect and inertia, as she had appeared before me from within that haunting mirror. Soon the days became weeks, the weeks had turned to months, the months to years of vacuity. Thus, I endured the poignant sorrow that had afflicted my moodiness, and I was no longer the same man of ere.
Thereafter, I had changed for the worse unexpectedly. Physically, I was a viduous corpse gaunt and spectral. I became a rake of the bottle, and opium was my Hades. My dire tribulation had brought the torment of madness that deprived me of my mental stability, as Margarida Godoy would haunt me endlessly. I had to leave the house at once, before I would go completely mad! I thought breaking the mirror would relieve my burden, but I could not compel myself to do that.
One day, my life would return to the wondrous and vivacious days of yore, with an unpredictable immensity and oblectation. I would accede for a transient time in history the indelible moments of felicity so veracious and endearing. I had rid myself of the trammels of gloom and had overcome my disconsolate pall—the pall that had distressed me with continual unrelentingness and vengeance. I had resumed the course of my life and had inherited a prosperous villatic vineyard from a family member who had passed away several years ago. I had moved my residence to a new house that was a manor outside of the delightful port of A Coruña, still the looming shadow of my weary and direful past would reappear before my very own eyes and cause, a swift chill that would run down my spine forthwith. I cannot forget that unbelievable and inscrutable day I met the charming Lady Adele Andrade.
I did not imagine that I would be captivated, by another woman who was not Margarida Godoy. I never felt such a powerful conglomeration of miscellaneous emotions that were developing. I was in the parlour of the manor, when the once imperturbable eventide was then interrupted, by a nocturnal tempest. The hyacinth blue draperies began to sway, as the wind blew strongly. A loud tapping on the front door was heard, whilst I was quietly reading 'Os Lusíadas' by the Portuguese writer Luis de Camões. I had answered the door, and a stranger was standing in the pouring rain, with a drenched hood that covered her head. Immediately, after opening the door I gave her solace and took her inside to dry off and keep warm, around the soothing fireplace. She was silent and did not utter a single word. Her dress was soaking wet, as her leather slippers were also. When she took off her hood, I had descried, at last, her countenance. What I saw was the face of a very lovely young woman. I was in complete awe of her natural beauty. She was the ethereal image of a goddess, and of her statuesque appearance I shall describe in the following manner. Her virginal eyes were large and dark, but commanded with a firm impression. Her long, straight hair was black, and flowed so majestically with splendour. Her superb figure of gracility resembled a noble woman I had perceived. It was too coincidental to be true, as Margarida Godoy was also slender. After the initial shock, I reacted.
'What is your name?' I had asked the young woman.
'Adele, but I am afraid for some unknown reason, I do not know where I come from. All that I remember is my name. I understand this may appear odd sir, but it is all I am aware of for the moment', she had replied.
'I am Antón Lugo. You have apparently lost your memory somehow, and there is no need to worry, Adele. At least, I know your name. Soon, we shall discover your true identity'.
Her vivid guise was indeed remarkably similar to Margarida Godoy. I could not help but be amazed by her striking appearance. Her mellifluous and assuasive voice, her diffidence in nature and her decorum exuded, with a bracing smile that had gleamed in radiance. Her amicability was present and quite noticeable. For some apparent reason unknown to me she had a queer fixation, with the lone portrait in the parlour of the deceased Margarida Godoy. Even her intuitive stare was exactly the same as Margarida Godoy. I had sensed these peculiar traits visible in her, as she warmed herself with the fire. There were many questions I had, but her amnesia prevented my compulsive enquiry. Once she was dried, I gave her an evening gown to wear for the nonce. She was thankful for the silk gown, and had expressed her humble appreciation.
Afterwards, I had a chamber prepared for her, so that she could repose. The abatement of the menacing storm had pacified the unyielding birr of the night. The strange circumstances concerning the verecund Lady Andrade, I had cogitated contemplatively throughout the remainder of the night, as a drear silence had prevailed gradually, over the impressive range of the Galician landscape.
The next morning we had breakfast together, and I attempted to have a cordial conversation that could influence her cognition and memory effectively, but nothing seemed to trigger her thoughts to the recent past. Instead, she began to acquire ensuing knowledge of the manor and Margarida Godoy. She was emulating her self-evident characteristics and her propriety. Time had elapsed and she tarried but voluntarily, even though I had enquired and investigated in the propinquity. It would appear that no one knew of her and could determine her ambiguous origin. The farouche Lady Andrade had remained a puzzling and inexplicable mystery.
Time had too rekindled the flame of love in me, and we became ardent lovers. I was her debonair suitor, and she was my spirited maiden. We had planned our wedding, and her surreptitious past was a bygone ado. The marvellous future was all that was discussed between us and munificent was her heart and soul. Perchance it had seemed odd that with the passing of time, I would still not be aware of the actual history of the Lady Andrade. We had spent the fond days and nights travelling and seeing the wonderful cities of Lisbon, London, Berlin, Athens and Rome.
It was precisely in the city of Pamplona of the Basque Country, where I had perceived the gradual alteration in her persona. Even though our stay in the city was temporary, she had started to display certain changes in her expressions and thoughts. Her mild diffidence would transform into an assertive demeanour. She was quiet at times in her benevolence, but she was pensive and calculating, as if her memory had returned. And for a moment I had believed she had regained her prior past, but this was never disclosed by her, and when I made the intimation she seemed indeterminate and befuddled, by my enquiry. I had thought these peculiar and bearable episodes of behaviour were indicative of her mien. Her face often was an index of her mood, and I had attempted to not bethink myself of this besetting uncertainty. I thought more of her benignity and her beatific smile that I had appreciated.
An ominous tincture of the past had resurfaced, when I least expected its appearance. It would manifest in a presage that had aroused an invidious vexation. The phantasmagoria of the past was relived and dreaded. I had at times dismissed the unique comparison, with the Lady Andrade and Margarida Godoy, yet her similar pattern of imitation began to disturb me with inquietude, until she had discovered the mirror of Margarida Godoy, and had seen her image.
It was a normal day of the week, when the Lady Andrade discovered the damnable mirror and had seen the ghastly spectre of Margarida Godoy. I had calmed her fright and intrigue, confessing that the image she had seen was indeed that of Margarida Godoy. I do not know hitherto, the absolute reason why I did not destroy the mirror. Perhaps it was due to my lamentable guilt of the death of Margarida Godoy. I was able to convince her to not leave me. One day during the night, she had entered into the parlour wearing a matching dress that was identical to the dress that Margarida Godoy wore on the day of her suicide. She stood before the mirror of Margarida Godoy. At first, I thought it was merely an eerie coincidence, as she had displayed her fashionable dress, in the Empire silhouette style. It was the correct style adored, by the aristocracy at that early time in the 19th century. The dress had a fitted bodice ending just below the bust, giving a high-waisted appearance, and a gathered skirt which was long and loosely fitting, but skimmed the body than being supported by a voluminous petticoat. Her accessories were white gloves and a lovely yellow fillet round her head. I was flabbergasted with the splendid presence of the Lady Andrade.
'Indeed, you look magnificent my dear. However... I paused.
She looked straight into my eyes smiling and had uttered the words that unsettled me, 'You are wondering my dear Antón, why I am wearing this gown of Margarida Godoy? Have you forgotten the date? It seems your memory has elapsed so easily'.
Her answer had startled me, 'What do you mean by that Adele?'
She then grinned and responded, 'Did you think I would forget, the day of my death? Do you not remember? I see that your sorrow, for me, is over!'
'What are you saying, Adele?'
She had showed me the item that only I and Margarida Godoy would know, the music box. 'Have you forgotten the music box you gave me, as a present? Why, why have you forsaken me to the solitude of the bottomless pit of the ocean and leave me there to rot away?'
I could not move straightway as the music sounded, for it was then that I had realised the horrible truth that the reincarnated Margarida Godoy somehow possessed, the body of Adele. 'My God it is you Margarida, who has entered the body of Adele!'
She approached me, with those familiar eyes of Margarida Godoy. And with the passing of time, I could not forget her penetrable eyes that had swayed my heart once. She put her delicate hand upon my cheek and had implored, 'Our love is stronger than the love for another woman Antón!'
I was still in shock with the miraculous occurrence and did not know how to react. I had rejected her words and comfort, 'No, no, this cannot be, you are dead. For God sake, you died years ago! You died years ago, upon this day'.
I hesitated then said, 'My God, it is indeed you, Margarida. You have come back from the dead!'
The instant and compelling thought of madness entered into my brain, as I felt that the horrible past had returned. 'Are you a spirit? What have you done, with Adele?'
'She is here in body Antón, but I am here in spirit'.
I had resisted this manifestation completely, 'No, no, this is not happening. You are dead, leave her!'
She grew angry, 'Then she will perish as I did on this day!' She began to walk backwards, until the mirror of Margarida Godoy had shattered into pieces. She left the house afterwards scurrying.
I ran after her reaching the strand and had screamed, 'Margarida, it is you! No, no, Margarida, do not commit the same act twice. Do not kill Adele, for she is innocent!'
I said to her, 'I still love you Margarida! Our love shall forever be special, but you are dead, and I am alive. Look, and see the truth of my words!'
I was at the edge of the active waters of the ocean looking on with amazement, and I was there once more on this day, before the waters of the ocean, where she had drowned herself. Adele had been standing before the high tide that struck the shale and crag by the shoreline, with her back facing me. She had walked into the currents of the ocean slowly, whilst I looked in absolute horror. I tried to prevent her from drowning, but the currents had prevented me. My heart had cringed in disbelief and terror, and I was helpless to change the unfolding occurrence it seemed. The only thing I could do was confess my troubled heart to her afterwards.
As that was betiding, the shadow of an entity had emerged from the darkness of the night behind me. It was the wraith of Margarida Godoy, who I had espied. Her guise was the familiar semblance of her death, gaunt and drenched with the water, the seaweed and sand. A lone tear had dropped from her lugent eye, as she looked at me. Adele had stopped and returned to the edge of the shore. She fell to the ground as she had fainted momentarily. Quickly I ran to her side, and I took her into my arms and away from the high tide, where the Lady Andrade was saved.
'Adele, Adele, can you hear me my dear?'
Margarida Godoy did not say a single word except the utterance of my name, 'Antón!'
Thereafter, she walked into the perilous currents and had disappeared forever. She was gone, and I would never see Margarida Godoy again. Her uvid raiment was destroyed, with the haunting memory. The expiation of her action was then manifest. I had requited love with piacular redemption and propitiation. Adele had then recovered her memory and knolwedge of her name.
Cras amet qui nunquam amavit; quique amavit, cras amet. (May he who has never loved before, love tomorrow; and may he who has loved, love tomorrow as well.)
It is fundamentally imparted that the process of death is intertwined in the philosophical or religious belief that the quintessence of the spirit either sojourns in a state of perdition or in the nullibicity, after the occurrence of each biological death. The actual plausibility of that portentous event is at least refutable or contemplative, when we acknowledge the presupposition tacitly that is adduced. The precise exactitude of this assertion takes precedence over a mere presumption that states gradation not regression, as a manner that preponderates, the thoughts that compel us to reaction. The concept of the spirit world is founded upon the principle construed, by the condition that concludes with death. What proceeds is the invariable course that precedes the final stage of the soul's subsequent path. We are constantly reminded of the world of the dead and the portals to death that are evident, such as the mere object of a mirror. Eventually, the comprehension of that conception is manifest more in the existential reverence of its capacity that fervent believers call reincarnation.
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