Hey guys. As promised, here is another chapter from "Love in the City." Enjoy. (Please pardon any typos. I still haven't finished all of my edits.)
unrise had chased away the nighttime darkness and for a time, the morning sky had been beautifully blue and crystal clear. The sun’s lips had planted it’s warm kiss on the cold winds but winter’s touch would not be denied. Grey clouds blanketed the heavens and gently dusted the city with white snowflakes. Before long, those flakes accumulated and the snow on the ground became quite deep. For people who were from warmer climates where it was never really cold, it was a magical thing to behold. For the people who lived in that city, it was magical too. Every year they witnessed four seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall but there was always something special about the times when snow fell from above. It was an inconvenience for sure when it became too deep for people to walk in and treacherous for folks to drive in but, it caused the city to actually seem quiet for a time. That itself was almost a miracle.
Persephone opened her eyes but to her surprise, she wasn’t in her bed. She was on her own back porch, wrapped tightly in two thick blankets with a knitted hat on her head. She had been stuck inside for so long that she almost forgot how fresh air felt against her face and she wondered if she was having a very vivid dream, or if maybe she had finally died. She wasn’t in pain so the latter might have been true bit if she were dead, she was certain that she wouldn’t have needed blankets or a warm hat to protect her from the cold. So, if she wasn’t a ghost yet, someone must have brought her outside because she definitely hadn’t walked out there on her own. She could barely make it to the bathroom right next to her bedroom without help. When she turned her head to her right, she saw whom, right next to her on another patio chair.
“I don’t remember walking out here,” Persephone said feebly and still sleepy. Her voice was rough and raspy.
“That’s because you didn’t,” Germaine answered. He leaned across to put his arm around her and kissed her affectionately on the cheek.
“You picked me up? And carried me all the way out here?” she asked her husband who did something every day that made her remember how amazing he was and also, how much it would hurt her to pass on to somewhere he couldn’t travel with her. “Damn…either you’ve been working out or I’m really getting frail,” she joked.
“I’ve been working out,” he said with a grin and they both laughed. “The weatherman said that this might be the last big snowfall this winter and I wanted you to see it.”
Germaine was close enough to Persephone that she was able to rest her head on his shoulder. He turned and kissed her forehead when she did. Then he turned his face back towards the sky and the snowflakes that fluttered down from so very high up above. For a while, they sat together in silence and watched the snow fall. Being so close to each other, neither one of them felt cold.
“For most of my life, I thought my mom named me Persephone just because she maybe saw it written down somewhere and thought it was pretty. I was always the little black girl with the funny name. Do you know who Persephone was?” she asked her husband.
“No, tell me,” Germaine answered even though he knew Greek mythology just as well as she did. He just liked hearing her speak after he had spent so many nights fearfully watching her suffer in her sleep. There were too many days when she quietly endured all the pain her disease tormented her with.
“As the story goes, Persephone was kidnapped by the god of the underworld, Hades and tricked into being his wife,” she started to explain. “That’s how I feel now, like Death is coming to kidnap me and take me away from you,” she told him.
“Wherever you go, I’ll follow and find you,” Germaine told his wife. “I’ll kill Hades himself and take you away.”
“And I’ll wait for you to come get me,” she answered.
For a few minutes, they quietly watched the snow. Since they’d been together, they’d always had a gift for speaking to each other without words. They communicated on a different, higher frequency than most people and even though she was dying slowly, their bond was still strong. Persephone would often say that they were both twin flames and soulmates. Love like theirs was rare. Germaine broke the silence first after a random thought about something from his past popped into his head.
“When I was a kid, a little girl in my kindergarten class told me that her parents told her that whenever angels cried, it rained and that every drop that fell was really the angels’ tears,” he said and then sighed. “That always seemed like such a beautiful, poetic concept and I know that it’s a sweet way of looking at it but that idea always bothered me.”
“Why?” Persephone asked.
“What that meant always terrified me. The thought of what could possibly be so awful…so scary that it would make angels weep always worried me in an unhealthy way. I mean, what could possibly break the hearts of beings who went to war with the devil? I could never get that question out of my head. Ever since my classmate told me that, a weird sadness has always come over me whenever it rains…and it always made me a little afraid,” he confessed.
“You were a strange kid,” she joked and slapped his thigh as they cuddled.
“That’s true. I really was…but you want to know something?” he asked.
“What?” his wife asked.
“I finally understand what could be so terrible that even angels would cry about it,” he said and then looked at his wife with such deep, piercing sadness that she knew exactly what he meant without him having to say another word.
“Can you help me do something?” Persephone asked.
“Of course. Anything,” he answered.
“Help me up and walk me out into the yard,” she asked.
“But the snow…it’s really deep though,” he cautioned.
“That’s okay. I don’t mind. I just want to feel the snow falling down on me one last time,” she explained. “This is probably going to be my last winter.”
“Don’t say that. You don’t know that,” he started to say.
“No doctor can tell you when you’re going to die. Doctors and so-called experts are wrong all the time. You don’t know that so you don’t say that,” he said.
“I want to be real with you baby…because I need you to be strong…and I need to know that you’ll be able to move on when I’m gone. I feel myself slipping away…so you have to promise me that you’ll live when I go. Promise me,” she pleaded but her husband gave her no reply because he refused to make a promise that he knew he couldn’t keep.
Germaine did as she asked and helped his wife to her feet. Together, they stepped out into the backyard from underneath the awning. Their feet sunk as least a foot into the deep snow but they ignored the cold. The wind wasn’t very strong so the large flakes floated down gracefully like tiny feathers. Like children, they both stuck out their tongues at the same time to catch the cold flakes on the tips of them. They admired the melancholy grey sky, speckled with tiny, icy white particles of white that took on their own unique, magical shapes as they fell from above.
“If raindrops are really the tears of angels, what do you think snowflakes are made of?” Germaine asked.
“I don’t know…but when I pass away and move on to my next adventure…I’ll be sure to find out,” she answered.
“When you do, I want you to show me every secret you’ve uncovered once I get there too…so wait for me…and I swear I’ll find you,” he told her, as he fought back tears.
“I will. I promise,” she said and hugged him just a little bit tighter, with all of the strength she could muster.
Copyright © 2017 Keith Kareem Williams
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