A Story by Scarlett-Helena

A portion of lovers' flames.

In an instant her mind traveled backward in order to review the day, that in which they had lost each other, all the while she was struggling with painful revelations. He sat there without expression in front of the fire they had built up within a shoddy looking fireplace that looked as though it was barely large enough for the flames it contained. The rain outside played mindful games against the darkened windows, and it seemed almost as if it was threatening to come in and turn everything cold as ice without remorse.
"What are you thinking of," She questioned him, moving closer to the fire and wondering why she had let her limbs freeze for so long. His facial expressions didn't move and though she watched him more intently than he was aware, she barely saw any more signs of life within him than a statue of marble that was stubbornly refusing to weather with the passing of time.
He didn't answer her question; instead his hazel eyes were focused on the flames that she had since entrusted to warm her. His eyes were nearly a child's, watching as though they would burn within the flames just from the connection of their vision onto the embers. "Please talk to me," She pleaded with him boldly, though she had enough sense to remember that pleading would only push him away from her further. His silence, when founded could almost never be resolved by anything, and the only progress that could be made to transcend it was nothing but his will alone.
She knew this, but she had exhausted all other methods of endearing to him by then. "I don't know what you want me to say," he said stiffly, mechanically and again without moving any of his facial features. "I want you to tell me where we've gone wrong; what happened," she exclaimed desperately, striking out at him with verbal feelers as she stood from the tarnished rug and began pacing around the wooden chair he was seated in. He looked like he was paralyzed or worse, inanimate, unreal. The rain began imposing on that moment of slight confrontation, framing each breath of silence without explanation.
She sacrificed herself to the cold again by going to the blackened window of the little cottage, the window which was responsible for all of the chill in the room due to its complete lack of ability to stifle outside temperatures. She lifted one of the flimsy curtains and looked out into the night, searching with her eyes for something physical and substantial, something that could be readily explained, rather than the emotional madness that had encased them both within the room for the past several hours.

The storm had taken the two of them by surprise and rendered them trapped within the cottage he had purchased for their vacation, much longer than either of them would have hoped. It was her idea for the them to get away from the ennui of their lives for a while in order to rekindle something, anything of their relationship, so she rationalized that it was her fault the effort had failed as the storm came in. They weren't married, though he had asked her often enough for such a commitment. 
She refused each time because she always had the irreparable feeling that marriage was the thing that destroyed the flame of such relationships and blinds the couple's eyes to love, excluding them to the abandonment of lives and efforts taken for granted. She thought rather highly of herself and knew that someone like her wasn’t around to be tamed, not by any man she would settle for. 
Her vanity and contempt for submission caused her to ignore the ways in which she loved him. It wasn’t until the end, when he had begun giving up on the mere sight of her being the assurance he required to procure a future of happiness, that she realized she couldn’t exist without him.  She didn't understand before then  that because of her unending refusals of marriage, of permanent love, the flame within his own eyes was slowly beginning to die. She took for granted that someone like him, who expressed his love constantly and with such strong affection, could grow the desire to be free of her. She overlooked even more the fact that she could actually want him in her life for an indefinite amount of time that would be past the aspect of planning. 
That was the center of her life after all: planning. She'd spent most of her time in fear and pursuit of an escape from the unpredictable, the object of marriage being a slice of it. Though it was true that marriage was mainly a game of monotony, she still feared giving away her entire self to such a bond because she was reasonable enough to understand that it could break at any moment. She also feared being washed out, taken for granted, being something that was just as fixed as some sort of mantle-piece or decoration. She didn't want to be the dull part of a studded chain, a studded life, so she refused his proposals and continued to drink in his persistent affection.
The day it all went wrong though, was one in which she wasn't very observant. She hadn't noticed that he was looking at her less, that his hands were weak at his sides instead of searching for her body, that his mouth was a taut line instead of a fluttering and delicate device that would be used to relay his heart to her. These things she failed to notice until they became an inconvenience to her and ultimately, something she hadn't planned on happening between them.

Did she love him? She had asked herself most of the time, analytically so when she was frozen behind him, unable to catch up. There were signs pointing to the agreement of the artifact of loving him, and there were signs pointing against it, but she could never capture or solidify them. They were just things to toy with as he pursued her, as he cast the things about and surrounding her within gold. Things would have gone forever smoothly that way if he had not had those few seconds of sharp awareness. The seconds it took him to realize that her eyes were not glazed in the same way his were, that her touch was not nearly as insecure, that her voice held no attachment or relish in saying his name, were all the seconds that it took to cause him to want to stray away from her. 
Though he was in love without much reasonable hope of retrieval, he wasn't stupid. He could distinguish the differences between sanity and delusion and he could decide just when enough had been had. It was the day in which they had become stranded within their vacation home that he knew he was the only one on a dry and deserted land. His instincts for survival were utilized then, and he played with no other function other than to escape from her.
The last thing he wanted when he was accessing these realizations was to be stranded alone with her, but there they were in the little shack of a cottage, alone, weathering a storm. She was asking him questions that he had no energy or soul to answer, and it was obvious that she wasn't going to let off until she got the answers she wanted. He was tired of her game, the one in which she was behaving like an injured child who had been denied a toy. Because he had no urgency to play with her anymore she felt offended and she wanted the warmth and light of his affections to cover her, but he wouldn't suffice it anymore. He sat in the small wooden chair, pretending she barely existed and that the flames from the fireplace outweighed her vitality. 
"What are you thinking," she kept asking, much to his vexation. He made a point to not move any of his facial muscles and he challenged himself to blink as little as possible, to breathe as though oxygen were encased in a glass tomb in order to be broken during emergency. "I won't give you what you want," his body told her, stiff shoulders bearing the weight of her torturous eyes, shoulders arched as though they themselves were fighting the thundering rain outside. 
"I don't know what you want me to say," his mouth told her between intervals of her stupid questions. This was how he planned to carry out his life until he could return into a situation in which he could finally leave her. He didn't know what the future would provide for him, but he assumed things had to get better than they were; there had to be something less of a nightmare than enduring her violent pride that was being openly shattered during her confusion.

"I'll give you what you want," she said to him above the angry and intrusive sound of the storm outside. She came up behind his chair and reached for his face but he stiffly denied her actions. "You don't know what I want," he responded coolly, not giving her any more room for conversation. Her eyes widened within the horror of reality and she slowly sank to the fire heated rug. The inner vision of her mind continuously tried to defend itself from painful memories, from regret, from the shame of her own ignorance. She caught the imagery of recollections from the times things had been good.
The summers she had spent in his arms protected from the burning sun, by the water being sustained from food he had delicately prepared. The winters she had spent in his bed while he would watch over her throughout the night to ensure that she always  felt safe. She thought of the fights that they would have in which he would be the first to apologize and the last to resort to pettiness, unlike she. 
The thoughts she absorbed of him and the ways in which he was unlike any other man came crashing throughout her like an army made of self-hatred. She knew then all that she had had, and then she saw how masterfully she had squandered it. She wanted to speak to him again but her voice was parched within her throat, which felt as though it were torn into fragments. Instead of speaking she lay on the floor in front of the flames and looked at his face, which still hadn't moved since they began speaking with such realism. "Where am I going to go now," she whispered, with silent tears pooling at the corner of her weak eyes. "To someone else," he said quietly, almost lovingly but with obvious venom and apathy, "someone who will give you what I can't."
Her emotions stirred all over again, lighting her on fire from within and burning her alive, causing her to stand with violent dismay. "I don't want anyone else," she cried out, reaching for him again, though there was no worth in her actions, "Let me fix what I've done." It was then that he stood, still conveying nothing on his face though he was feeling just as much as she was if not more. He didn't want to betray his very weakness to her; he wanted to win, no matter what it took and regardless of the pain it caused her. He then went to her and put his hands firmly on her frail shoulders while looking into her eyes that were veiled with pain and confusion.
"There's no fixing what's happened," he said quietly and with a firmness that desired to speak nothing but clarity. At his statement her eyes widened considerably but the expression within them didn't change. "There has to be a way to fix it," she stammered nervously, trying to reach up and touch his face with her cold hands. He dodged his face away from her and tried bursting his sentiments at her again, this time with less calmness in his voice. "What is there left to fix anymore? I can't appeal to you, I can't make you happy, I'm not going to try anymore." He took his strong hands off of her shoulders and walked over to the windows, then standing there without any desire to turn to her again. He was exhausted from speaking and knowing all the while she couldn't hear him, that she didn't want to hear him. 
She wanted to follow him to the window and throw her arms around him, protecting him from the storms that were within both of them, but she knew that the time for any of that wouldn't come again. She sank to the tattered rug again, down to her knees, surrendering all strength to ever stand again. She knew what would happen next. She would be forced to conjure up alternatives, to go home and explain everything that had happened to her questioning relatives. 
Such explanation to others would make the ordeal more real than if she were to keep it to herself. She battled the pain again within her mind and all the while she was still silently refusing to give up. I'll just have to keep going until I get him to see that I need him, she thought to herself, the fire returning to her emptying eyes. It may not be tonight, but soon, even if I have to return home first. I'll just have to undo everything wrong that I've done to him by showing him how much I care. 
She bravely raised herself up and sat in the little wooden chair that he had abandoned, smiling secretly to herself. "Is there anymore wood around here? The fire is dying," she said, breaking the silence and jarring him into astonishment at her sudden change of subject. He wasn't sure what her tactics were, but he sensed she was onto some sort of movement or another and his guard was strengthened. He then brought himself away from the window with effort and joined her in the search for a log that would give life to the dying fire before them.

© 2012 Scarlett-Helena

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There are many lines in this I like including: "She hadn't noticed that he was looking at her less, that his hands were weak at his sides instead of searching for her body, that his mouth was a taut line instead of a fluttering and delicate device that would be used to relay his heart to her."

You have a nice way of putting imaginative and original phrases into your writing. You told the story as a whole very nicely. To me, it's a story of rejection, ambivalence, and a damaged relationship from two different people with two different perspectives.

The old saying "you don't know what you've got till its gone" popped up in my head when she finally realized what she was losing. The situation is realistic and could have been played out a million times by couples in their own surroundings, but the end lines, which I feel was symbolic of the ultimate outcome, was a very clever way of putting into it a final perpective--

"He then brought himself away from the window (which we know let in cold air/perhaps symbolism for cold feelings) with effort and joined her in the search for a log (perhaps the log that would psychologically rekindling the old flame of love) that would give life to the dying fire before them."

Very nicely done and a clever ending. Hope I got that all right? ha

Posted 10 Years Ago


10 Years Ago

Your review is appreciated, because it is so thoughtful and analytical; thank you! You summed this u.. read more

10 Years Ago

Glad to hear that. I actually started reading GWTW about a year ago but got sidetracked and never co.. read more

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1 Review
Added on March 9, 2012
Last Updated on April 9, 2012
Tags: storms, fire, cold, rain, emotions, couple, man, woman, love, together, apart, death, life



San Jose, CA

I'm Scarlett, it's nice to meet you! I'm from California I'm 25 years old. I dislike talking about myself so I let my mind and body be discovered through countless writings. I enjoy and require .. more..