Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Prompt: I Am Beauty in Your Eyes

Thanks to Szymon Drozd for permission to share this beautiful prompt!

“Would you like to go to the lake this afternoon?”

He nodded, and she gathered a few things into a basket and wrapped a blanket around his shoulders. Though they were both wizened and bent with age, she lifted him easily. He rested his head on her shoulder as she carried him from the cottage.

Walking steadily across the grass, she described everything she saw, building the familiar pictures in his mind. High white clouds dotted the bright blue sky, and the spring breeze blew fresh scents around them. The sun warmed the lake to a silver mirror, reflecting the mountains on the far shore, still capped with late winter snow. Bluebirds and golden finches darted between the fresh grass in the meadow and their nests in the slow-greening trees, bringing seeds and insects for crying fledglings, barely stopping to rest and feed themselves.

When she reached the water, she walked in with barely a splash to mark their passing. It felt cool against her ankles and calves, warming as it reached her knees and thighs. By the time his body floated within her embrace, the water felt like a fire-warmed bath. She never slowed or faltered as she crossed the bay to the shore that stretched like a long finger into the lake.

Two chairs rested there, carved years ago when his hand were strong and his fingers sure with a sharp blade. She carried him out of the water and gently settled his light frame into one of the chairs. She lifted the blanket from his shoulders and snapped it in the air to collect the warm, fresh breezes. She settled the dry blanket around him, and he kissed he hands as she tucked it against his slight shoulders. Reaching down, she kissed his forehead and cheeks before she settled into the other chair.

They rested in companionable silence as the sun crossed the sky and dropped behind the mountain range.

“My only sorrow of old age is that I will leave you, my dear,” he said. An old lament, and one she could no longer deny to either of them. She held his hand to her lips and tenderly kissed his fingers, washing them with her tears.

“I have two sorrows, my love. I wish I could keep you with me forever. And I wish I could be as beautiful for you as I once was.”

He chuckled, a light, raspy sound that faded quickly on the evening breeze. “I have no wish to be a grasshopper, beloved.” Another old joke between them. “Everything mortal must die.”

And there it was.

“As for you other wish, it has always been true. From the first moment I saw you until the last bit of light in my eyes, you have been beautiful. Your face, your body, your voice are still beautiful to me.”

Her laugh was harsher, more desperate. “I have aged with you, my love. Many things I am, but beautiful is no longer one of them.”

He reached out and touched her cheek. She leaned out of her chair and knelt in the sand at his feet, resting her head on his lap. He stroked her soft, white hair, once gleaming gold. His papery-thin hand, webbed with fine lines and old scars, lifted her face to his. He looked down at her with sightless eyes, still piercing blue in the fading light.

“My love, my love,” he chided her gently. “You are and will always be beautiful in my sight.”

She rested her cheek back on his knee. “Are you cold? Shall I take you back home?”

“No, let’s rest here awhile. The memory of the sunshine lingers in the air.”

After awhile, his hand stilled. She did not move. As long as she stayed there, just so, she could pretend for a little while longer that he was still with her. That she was still as old as he, a mortal woman, growing old with her beloved.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Maize, Malachi

Bach, Cello Suite No 1, Yo-Yo Ma

Time writing:
40 minutes

April word count:


  1. Prompt: I Am Beauty in Your Eyes

    "Can you hear it?" she asked.

    In answer, he pointed. Off to the right, across the lake, where the ripples were growing on the surface. She snuggled closer to him, under the blanket draped over both their shoulders.

    "Do you think it can hear us?" she said.

    "Shhh," he said.

    But it was hard to be quiet. They had waited so, so long. And perhaps it would be like last year, and the year before that, when the ripples had subsided and nothing rose from waters. But the year before that, there had been no ripples, only sound. Her memory could not place for how many years the sound had grown. It started as a barely perceptible hum whose existence they had debated until the following year, when a slightly less barely-perceptible hum had suggested the previous year had been no fluke. At some point they had accepted the sound was there.

    "How long do we wait?" she asked.

    She had meant just now, just for this moment. How long before they rose and went back to the hand-hewn cottage in the hills. But his liquid eyes, full of love and patience, suggested he was considering the larger question. How many years did they come here, checking on the seeds they had planted. Checking to see what would grow, and if it could, as the dusty and partly torn package had claimed, take them home.

  2. Oh wow, yours is really deep! I love the ending. And I wonder what it is that made us both refrain from giving them names?