The mist was billowing stronger and stronger. Breathing it out was harder than breathing it in. It clouded my lungs every moment getting harder and harder. My every breath getting smaller and smaller. But I was waiting and waiting till she came ashore. For the years we had lost, for the time ill spent. There were a million apologies but none of them were truly expressed. There were a million merciful moments but none of them were truly meant. There were lifetimes of moments never appreciated. As I gazed upon the rolling haze I remember all these things beginning with laughter, praise and overwhelming noise. The ballroom was beautiful and bright and grand. There were many people dancing, singing, or partaking in delightful conversation. None of this did phase me of course for the people took for granted all they had enjoyed. For I had just come from a black hole of bullets, loud sounds, and weeping men. I did not want to participate in the foolish mock glee of champagne, company, and parties. I was not pleased by the flirtatious looks or suggested companionship of composed young women. All I wanted was the quiet and calm in my own house, my own home. But to every man there is a crevice of weakness, that day I found mine. As I walked along the narrow halls a woman sat alone with a book in hand and tea in another. I asked her if she did not like dances. She replied, “Dances are full of pleasure, if only surrounded by the right company.” I asked her the definition of good company and we both concluded that good company is based on a person’s view of entertainment and delight. Apparently in this circumstance, that fell under a good book. I completely and utterly agreed with her. She offered to discuss the contents of her book which I discovered to be romance, and I politely accepted because it was a quiet conversation to retreat to throughout the madness of a social dance. I decided that if any women in the room would be the good company of a dance partner it would be her. I asked her if she wished to dance. She accepted the offer, to my great relief. She was graceful and shy in her mannerisms. Her brown hair twisted in pearls that shone when she danced. Afterwards, we continued to laugh at the silliness of society’s expectation of typical men and women. For women were quiet yet artistic and men were civilized but it went to waste if they didn’t have a house in the country and another in the city. We wished of adventure without violence and hatred. I told her of an eerie bay wall with an overhanging cliff. The view I described as chaotically beautiful, much like the world we lived in. She was intrigued and persuaded me to show her even though it was well past sunset. I grabbed a lantern sitting on the table and took her hand as we crept away from the culture of England left behind us. Among the streets lined carriages of tired men awaiting their drunken masters to end the evening. Each one we passed until we came upon the bay and soon the rocks. I held up the lantern so she could gaze upon the mist and see the other side where mountains lay. She gasped with wonder and agreed with my past description of it being beautifully chaotic. We returned many times to that bay, trying to find another spot even more beautiful. But there was none and we always came back to the scene. Eventually we ran out of topics to discuss and came to a conclusion that all are conversations were of complaints and not established beliefs on how to view our world with pleasure. So then we talked of day to day moments. We discussed time itself and the value it possessed. Eventually, we began to disagree. She concluded that we did make good company but nothing more. So I stand here recollecting the look of her hair twisted in pearls, the feel of the mist upon the shore, the view of the mountains off in the distance, and most of all the joy she brought to me in a chaotically beautiful world. I remembered the burning ember of the lantern just as I hope for its appearance every night. I gaze now upon the thickening mist, making it harder and harder to breathe. It could be the mist or quite possibly just me. Out of the dark, glancing seaward I saw a blur of light, much like the lantern. I gasped for air and for the suspense that filled my lungs. But the boat past as a ship guard watchman docked and fell into the city. So my heart dropped and the flood the memories came back to me. Those of a million apologies but none of them were truly expressed, merciful moments but none of them meant, and lifetimes of moments that were never appreciated. They were never appreciated till they slipped out of my grasp. Since then it seems so many years were lost, and so much time ill spent. Everyday that passes I remember these things. Everyday that society overwhelms me, I remember these things. So the mist keeps rising and the mountains forever stand still. The bay one day will wash away the wall of rock that I stand upon. But everything else shall remain the same, the luring bright lights of the city, the confusing expectations that men set before us, and the false pitiful glance at devout companionship. For not even good company could cure my lonely soul as I study the quiet mist, the still mountains, and the absence of a lantern’s light.
April 26, 2018