It's been forever and a day since I last wrote anything and to be entirely honest, this story is not new either. I never posted it though. It was to be part of my (now deleted) Forces series with Memorae and Gravity.
All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Hoping that finding and editing this story will bring back poor Museworth Musington to life!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"...It was like that when we first met twelve years ago.
It was Oliver’s nineteenth birthday party at Bar Nuevo. I remember that because that’s the type of place someone like me would never usually be found. I can’t quite remember why I agreed to go. Maybe because Oliver is my long suffering popular friend and I didn’t want to always be that awkward childhood friend that didn’t know how to have fun.
The first thing I noticed about her was her dirty laugh. I could see her from my peripheral vision as I struggled to say something, anything to the bored and uncomfortable person that had the misfortune of sitting next to me. Some overly tanned and waxed guy was whispering something into her ear and the sound of her throaty, dirty laugh suddenly filled the swelteringly hot leather cocoon we were occupying in the VIP area.
I didn’t really think much of it until I heard her laughing again. This time she was much closer to me as she was now joking with Oliver, and I know I felt envious of the fact they were such natural friends. I remember exactly what she was wearing; she wore a short yellow dress and one of those oversized suit jackets. She later told me it was called a boyfriend jacket. I remember it so well because I found myself incapable of tearing my eyes away from her. She held a colourful cocktail in one hand and gesticulated wildly as she spoke. Her face took on every expression under the sun when she spoke. Something about her seemed so polished, so established, but so lively at the same time. I didn’t know how she did it; she was my age, a first year student at university, going through similar experiences as me, and yet…she made it all look so easy.
I must have been staring transfixed at her for a while because I was completely taken aback when she suddenly called my name.
I love the way she said my name.
I still laugh remembering it: she had heard my name from Oliver before, and, for some reason was excited about meeting me. It turns out she had amused herself with the idea that I was some Pilgrim-Orthodox Jewish cross because my name is so old fashioned.
I’ve never been quick with my responses, or particularly witty, but, I remember saying, “Much to my grandmother’s disappointment, I’m about as Jewish as a bacon sandwich!” She roared with laughter. I’d never been so pleased to make anybody laugh before. It sort of became my mission in life at that moment; to walk beside her forever and hear that laugh."
A series of soft, polite coughs and chortles, started at the back of the church and then spread forward randomly like some psycological contagion.
“I could stand here and tell you about Helen’s favourite colour, her favourite food, her favourite film and actor. I could talk about her youth, her beauty, her intelligence and kindness. I could tell you that she loved Argentine Malbec and hated Merlot, loved watching cookery shows but hated cooking.
I’ll even tell you that her favourite scent is the smell just before the aftermath, if you didn’t already know.
It was during our usual lazy Sunday lie-in when I found out. It must have been around midday because the Sun was high in the sky and we had opened the window for a breeze. Our next door neighbour was mowing his lawn with this fancy new juggernaut he had recently bought.
Helen got out of bed, sat on the window sill and watched him finishing his task. She explained to me that contrary to what most people believe, an aftermath is not just the result of a profoundly unpleasant event; it’s also the second growth that follows cut grass. That sharp, pungent scent of freshly mown grass heralded the aftermath.
These are all impersonal facts about Helen you may already know; facts that have already been shared today; facts that she may have told you herself; facts that don’t speak about my relationship with her. Even if I tried, I wouldn’t be able to adequately tell you what she meant to me in every way.
You see, everything about Helen filled my existence from the very first moment that we met twelve years ago.
It was probably down to the fact that she was always so assured in whatever she did. As for me, I’ve always been far too aware of my surroundings to the point that it makes me a very awkward person. Simple things, like walking, are often more difficult than they need to be.
Right leg, left arm.
Left leg, right arm.
Bend. Flex. Don’t trip. Bend. Flex. Relax the face. Repeat.
The swing of my head, where I’m supposed to keep my gaze, the inclination of my body, the movement of my gait; I always felt a compulsive need to think about these things whenever I dared to walk. I often wondered how everybody else felt: was I the only one feeling this discomfort? Was I the only one too aware of myself? Was I paranoid for feeling everyone’s judging eyes on me? Maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe I just didn’t know how to walk.
Helen made walking look so simple. She walked as if it was nothing to her. As if it was the most natural thing in the world.
The way she glided rather than clopped down the street even when she wore impossibly high heels, the way her thigh muscles rode up her leg whenever she flexed, the way her calf muscles sat high and taut bellow the back of her knees, and her confident posture and the swing of her hips.
It was all completely natural and utterly mesmerising.
I loved it when she weaved slightly and occasionally bumped against my arm, and then looped her hand through the bend in my elbow. I loved the warmth of her chest pressing against my forearm and the way she pulled me down to whisper some random observation about the people walking in front of us. I loved that she didn’t wear perfume and all I could smell was her. I loved the way the soft, tightly coiled puff of hair she tied high on her head tickled the side of my neck when she rested her face against my shoulder. I had no choice but to fall in step and walk as if I always knew how to do it.
Every day she fascinated me.
Her composure was contagious. All of those walking woes that had plagued me from the day I took my first step disappeared when I walked beside Helen, because all I could think about was her. Even when I tried not to, it was as if my mind insisted that she become the centre of my universe.
Without any effort, Helen could leave her mark on something as simple as walking. That’s what she meant to me. That’s what she will always mean to me.”
Ephraim stepped down from the pulpit and walked a little further forward. His assured footsteps echoed loudly in the large, chilly hall. Helen looked beautiful and serene in her white dress.
With blurry vision, he gently caressed her cold fingers resting against her abdomen, wishing in vain, as he did so, that she would open her eyes, get up and walk with him.
Where does one go from here???