“I wanted to marry Florence” he whispered “I wanted her to be my wife and live with me in that house and have my children and then I dreamed we would grow old together” he stopped “and now that will never happen”. His tears started to flow. “Sylvester,” I turned to him “you lost6 three years of your life to her and your mother and that house, don’t lose anymore. You and I, we’re too young to be haunted. You can’t have that life with her but that had been decided a long time before she died. She decided it, else she would have accepted your proposal. I’m sorry but she’s gone. But I’m here and I love you. You know I do. You can have that life with me.” I sighed “look, I realised when you were away that maybe I need to stop planning my life. This is it. It can suddenly disappear and you need to have lived your life before you die, that’s the game, if we die happy then we won, didn’t we?”
It was becoming clearer to me now, this was it. This is how we chose to live and if this isn’t how we want to live then we have to change it and change it fast, because we never really know how long we have left. So I would do it. Looking back on me life, I think it was at that moment that I decided to be whom I was and decided that me and Sylvester would leave Paris and go on an adventure. He had had his adventure, now it was time for me to have mine. We could use the money from Rita to marry and travel and then I would be free. What did I want first? I wanted to live by the mountains, I wanted a vineyard and I wanted him. But I could want other things too; I want to be a writer and have my own stories to tell, not just his story but he needed that too. He had lived this life because of lies and because of death ad surely now it was his turn to live the life that he wanted. Maybe I had never been within and without his world, I had just been within and without mine.
He nodded to me as if he could read my thoughts. “Sylvester. Write back to address. We could use the money to move out of here. We could live by the mountains.” He nodded again. He had lost so much. He had lost his mother. He had lost his father. He had lost his lover. He had lost his daughter. He had lost his best friend and he had lost his admirer. And due to his chasing of what was lost, he had nearly lost me. Not that it mattered much now, for time would wash away the stains of hurt and sadness. And of blood. Time would heal. And for me, in time, time would save me. What had always speared me on through my life was the promise of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow but maybe now it was time for today. Now it was my time. Sylvester had had his adventures. I trusted time would deliver me mine. Looking across at Sylvester, I wondered if freedom was truth, for it didn’t matter what was and what wasn’t, it only mattered what we realised was and wasn’t. I had truly been disgusted by the time; and yet I was wrong to be, for this was the best of times and the worst. This was the time of change. It was the new decade and it was finally a time for change for me too. Life could end too quickly for me to wait anymore. My time had come. Love in a time of death. No. Love in a time were we chose to live. Where I chose to live. I wondered if he would marry me. I hoped he would.
That night we once again made love just as we had before and I felt somehow we had been reminded of what it was all for; we were lovers. And for that we had been hurt, we had fought and we had killed. All because we loved each other and we hoped of a world that is better today than it was yesterday. But there was still something he was hiding from me. There was still the tiniest part of his mind I was locked out of.
We walked for miles through Paris that night; past the brothel; past Notre Dame and past the train station. The snow had stopped. The rain was falling lightly into the cobbled streets and I knew the worst of the winter had past us. He did not speak of anything that had happened between us nor did he show the slightest expression as we continued. As we came to the summit of a small hill overlooking the river which once again glimmered in the starlight I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take knowing there was something I didn’t know.
“What is it, Sylvester?” I shouted, turning harshly to him “There’s something you’re not telling me and now you have to. Now you can’t have any more secrets because both of our lives have been too full of lies and things we didn’t know and it’s killed everyone we loved. Look, I’m sorry that Florence is gone and I’m sorry you couldn’t marry her and be Clara’s father but you can’t and there’s nothing any one can do to change that.” I paused for breath “No.” I whispered “It didn’t kill everyone we loved. We didn’t die and that’s all I ever wanted in my life; a chance for adventure and a shot at love and from when I met you, no, from when I first saw you I knew all I ever truly wished for in my life was a chance to be yours and to keep you safe. And look, I have it. I won’t throw that away because I have been in love before. So that’s why-“ he trailed off, bending down to one knee “That’s why I want to marry you” he removed a ring from his pocket “My Dear, will you be my wife?”. I leant down to kiss him and he slipped the ring onto my finger. “Yes, of course I want to marry you. That’s all I want too, but-“I paused “you may have lived your life, but I haven’t. You have these beautiful ghosts of grandeur and of lost love and all I have is an unknown island. I want to live, Sylvester.” He stood up. “I never doubted how much like me you are. What do you want to do?” “I want to go everywhere and I want to do everything and I – I want to write. Sylvester Spence Palvine, I began writing after you left and you have been my only inspiration. I want to travel –“I trailed off again, realising what I truly wanted “But, what do you want, Sylvester?” “I want you.” He made sudden, unapprehend eye contact. “I ran away from you to come here because I wanted to find my father and discover my past, but now I think it might be my turn to follow you.” He sighed “So, where will you go?” “I will only go if you will come with me.” I smiled “Of course, My Dear, I’ll always come with you. I’ve run my youth away, now it’s time for me to chase.”
As we kissed on that hill, a tiny flower fell in my hair; a cherry blossom. It began at a light pale epicentre and then spread out its vast expanse of colour and wonderful blush pink. Its seed would plant itself within my mind and I would have my own adventure and I would once again learn to be a stranger in a strange world where everything had disgusted me. Until now. The worst of winter was most definitely over.
Spring, is that you?