Separately


He audits life with his mother

And plays cards with his father

Separately

 

He leaned in for a kiss

On the cheek, a crossette

To seal her answer

 

He never imagined they would become

Like his father and his mother

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Embrace


She leaned into him with the side of her face pressed to his breast, and breathed carefully. He was still as magnificent as when they had met, all elegant features and perfectly placed hands, skin translucent like the sheen on a pearl. Rich mahogany locks fell past her eyes and she was jealous, a jealousy that burned straight down to her will to live – only to crumble into love.

“I was so ashamed, at first, when I couldn’t stop looking at you. Because I thought that you would never look at me.” She has told him this before.

He touched her shoulder, very tenderly, since that was the spot that felt cold at the moment. She wondered again about their children. Long gone, scattered pieces of their hearts – what was it about the half-elves that always made them go?

“You will have others after me,” she whispered, knowing it because it hurt. “Others, in other lives, because in your one life you have many lives when compared to me.”

His nose was near her hair and his lashes were lowered for he looked only at her. But because his eyes walked a different stream of time, he saw her as she had been when they met, he saw her as she was now, and he saw her as she would be in the grave. She was multifaceted and trembling and precious. He pressed his mouth to the top of her head and she couldn’t stop the tear that squeezed out.

“Normally,” she whispered, “normally we die knowing that the ones across from us are just gone, or are not far away. But I don’t have that with you. And you will have others.”

He was not like her, this was true. After a while he lifted his mouth, shifting to stroke her greyed hair with graceful fingers, and he told her that she did not understand. He would not have another.

And by his saying she did not understand she then understood. They went quiet, in waiting.

*

Elizabeth Cook, 2015

Health Stock?


“We don’t care how you feel, silly, you look great!”

I don’t know what I said to that, but whatever it was Diba laughed and stepped into the kitchen. She cannot be called a step-grandmother, or anything involving “grandmother”, but she is Diba and she is my grandad’s second wife. She is from Guiana and I have always been jealous of her sense of style.

I did in fact know that I looked all right, but the discomfort from the four new holes in the back of my mouth made how I felt an important matter as well.

I settled back into the couch and the conversation with my grandad, mother, and uncle trundled back to something-or-other. Diba coming and going always resets things. Continue reading “Health Stock?”

Memoirs of a Historian


This is an exerpt from a larger story. © 2012, Elizabeth Cook

At the times when I forget to come to a meal, to answer the telephone, or to clean up the clutter that is my office, my wife often calls me a useless nostalgic, a helpless romantic for the histories! In her heated voice these are insults, but to my ear, the truth was never so simple nor so pleasant. I reside within a construction of antiquated facts, dates, and recordings, all lifted up from the pages of history. A happy existence, from which the mist of the old, old past rarely clears, is my perfect study.

When those mists do clear, in the figurative sense I must blink and adjust to the present, whose flat sounds and uninteresting aspect does discourage me frequently. My wife’s hustle and bustle, her complaints and her frustrations, come from an immeasurable distance. There are no kings or mighty dynasties, no heroic battles or fascinating exploits. Plato, Augustus Caesar, Genghis Khan, Continue reading “Memoirs of a Historian”