Remember. Thoughts whispered in my mind. Time is of the essence, and there isn’t much of it left.
Gravel crunched underfoot as daylight waned. All around us the sounds of nature grew.
“Can you hear that?” I asked, pausing in mid stride so that next to me Glenn had to stop and listen.
He did, face turned to me as we both listened to our surroundings.
He always listens.
All around us, well-tended gardens stretched into the horizon. A long stand of pine and willow trees cut off any sign that civilization was a few hedges away.
Unease tugged at my emotions, but I tried to bury the feeling. Between us the air grew thick, forcing an invisible mass between us. It’s because of me. I thought, knowing it was true. It was unavoidable.
“How did you find this place?” I asked, focusing on the plants around me. Glenn looked around the garden, a smile touching his lips.
Amazing. Here I am again, in yet another exquisite garden with this guy.
Glenn gave a hollow laugh, “We use to come here as a family every Sunday, mostly in the summer. It was our place to come and think before we started a new week.”
“Your family really has something for growing things don’t they.”
“Yes they do.” He said, with a pause. Silence lengthened that pause, filling me with guilt. I shouldn’t have gotten this far with him. My thoughts shifted to the other night, to those all too perfect words I wanted to hear, but dreaded when he said them.
“I love you.”
Blinking back tears I looked ahead of us to a large willow tree beyond a stand of aspens. I was about to ask Glenn about them when he grabbed my hand and set off through the aspens, pulling me along. Their leaves hissing with the cooling air. Off in the distance a truck passed along the highway.
Hurry. Whispered the night air.
We meandered our way through tended rose hedges and under an arbor of hanging wisteria vines. The night was cool, cooler than it should have been. Mist gathered around our feet, shifting between the vegetation. Before us loomed the aged willow tree.
Glenn stopped before the line of hanging limbs. He looked up at the silver tree and squeezed my hand. “I haven’t been here in ages.”
“Yeah? How come?” My feeling of guilt increase as I watched his face tighten with emotion.
Don’t tell me, don’t tell me.
“This was my mother’s favorite spot here.” He motioned to the small rise we both stood before us. “We would come here every Sunday when the weather was good. For as long as I could remember every Sunday was our Willow Sunday.”
He faltered, going silent. I reached a hand toward him, my heart feeling as if it had physically left my chest. Mist traced around our feet, twisting up our ankles. The sensation brought a familiar cold to my skin. It’s coldness prompted me to speak, “What happened?”
Tears had fallen onto his high cheeks, staining his skin. He looked at me, with those soulful eyes. Turning from me he pointed to the ground beneath the willow. White flowers caught scattered moonlight between leaves. They were the strangest looking flowers I had ever seen.
Crouching down I pointed to a flower waving in the wind, “What are those?”
“Love in a Mist. My mother’s favorite flower.” Glenn crouched down as well, fingering the soft curving petals. Their fern-like leaves tickling his finger tips. “We had huge bunches of them throughout our garden and she would take their seeds and plant them under the willow tree. She made this her special place, our special place.”
He paused, drawing in breath.
“It was here, the last time we ever come as a family. Just like any Sunday we set up our lunch under this tree.” His hands should as they pointed at the tree. “I was sitting right next to her when it happened. Her body just froze.”
A sixth sense leapt within my skull, buzzing between my eyes. You need to go now, run. He is too connected to you, to this place. He’s going to find out.
But I couldn’t move, captivated by his moving lips, and gesturing hands. Not to mention I felt pierced through the heart by his gaze. We were connected, whether I liked it or not. I felt his chest rise and fall as he steeled him for my reaction to his next words. And as an inopportune knock on a door, the thought struck me: I love him.
Words tumbled from his mouth as he pushed onward, “She fell back, her hair just spilling all around. Love in a Mist tangled all around her, as if holding the last bits of her life on earth. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. This sort of dead surprise and . . . longing.”
I get it. I get him. That’s why, for all this.
“Glenn.” I started, wishing he could be inside my head, but he waved me quite. Behind his head mist ran between hanging branches. We both stood, watching billows of mist raise around us. He stepped close to me, eyes shining with hope. Reaching out he clasped both of my shoulders as we turned to face one another.
“Please Mische, I need to say this out loud to you. I need you to hear this. I watched my mother die. I saw the exact moment when her spirit left her body.”
Mische, you’re in trouble, get out of here now. The mist dulled my own minds urgency. Chills ran through my limbs, willing me to move. But at that moment, it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered, except for what was happening between us. We changed, and I knew he felt it as strong as I. “I wanted to tell you this Mische, because I’m in love with you. I want you to know all my secrets. I know you have secrets of your own. They kept you from saying what you want to say.” His voice cracked with emotion as he moved closer to me. “I-I want you to feel like you can tell me all of yours.”
My soul sang as I heard his words. I leaned into his body as our mouths met. Waves of energy washed over us as our emotions merged, For an instant I felt as one, whole and complete. With that kiss I told Glenn my feelings, my thoughts. I love you. But that was all I could do for now. Mist clung to my legs and arms, pulling me away from the man who held my heart.
“Mische? Mische, what’s wrong?” His voice clung to my hair, the force of his breath rippling through my body. Even as I squeezed him close, I could feel my strength, my substance ebbing.
“I-I, I can’t Glenn. Not right now.” I’ll never forget the look of raw anguish, bewilderment etched on every line of his perfect face. “I knew it would come to this, Glenn, and I am sorry. But you and I will never be together. It is a physical impossibility.” He didn’t even notice the mist wrapping itself around the two of us. Looking down at my feet they disappeared into the mist. I noticed an all too familiar glow coming from the grass.
“What do you mean?” He said, his consternation growing. Glenn looked down. “Why are you glowing? Mische what’s going on?”
“Love in a Mist.” I said as my form dissolved into the night.