Forgotten Ever After

By Matthew Doraty

For the girl whose face I can never quite see.

Like most things, it started out as a joke. Life that is. But unfortunately, I never really found it that funny. The punchline of this joke happened on a rainy November day.

I don’t know why it was raining. It just was. It was a cold, drizzling, miserable sort of rain. It hit you in the face, stole all the warmth from your body, and happiness from your smile.

Robed in traditional black, a dark trenchcoat was my only armour against the attacking rain. A dark fedora rested upon my mess of dirty blond hair. My grey eyes peered out from beneath the brim of my hat. My gaze was downcast as my feet splashed through the dark puddles.

I am a writer. Or at least, writing is what I do. I write adventure stories for the adventureless public. Heros in shining armour rescuing beautiful maidens, brave knights defending freedom and justice under a bright hot sun. My favourite stories are about normal men, sacrificing themselves for another. They somehow seem the most vibrant and real to me, even though they strike cords of longing in my chest. I do not even have to think to write them. The stories flow from my heart through my pen onto the page.

My hands in my pockets, I walked among the rain. I don’t know where I was going, but I was trying to find a story. Another shining gem to buy my cigarettes and food. Perhaps a maiden with soft red lips and a milky pale face would be stolen. Her faint green dress lightly floats behind her. I see her riding a clean white stallion, holding her prince tight. One more happy ending. One more paychecque.

I had left my pen warm and slick with sweat. I needed to find a story. There always seems to be stories in the rain. A romantic friend of mine would call rain the tears of Orpheus to impress the woman he wished to sleep with. There was nothing romantic in this rain, just chills and bad dreams.

The knight’s steely silver eyes will gaze out from his shining armor. His golden locks will frame his statley face in his brave effort to save the princess. Yes. This story writes itself.

I grasp my coat more tightly, story in mind. It was still raining.

Leaning up against a lamppost, I drew a cigarette from its place. Held tightly between my lips, I adjusted my stance to light it. It took several tries, but soon a red light glowed. The dead matches lay cold and spent in a puddle at my feet, already forgotten.

The brim of my hat rose with my gaze, following the footsteps of a young woman with an umbrella clasped delicately in one hand.

My heart strangely lifted and warmed against the cold grip of the rain. My thoughts drifted to my boyhood and my first kiss, to my best friends and noble companions. The new warmth blossoming in my heart spread to my lips and a small smile bloomed in my face.

Her steps pulled my eyes like a lamb to the slaughter. With feet lightly touching the ground she walked. The sight of her made me happy in a way that I had not been since becoming a man.

She stopped a few paces ahead of me, close enough to touch, like reaching into a pond to scoop up the stars.

This maiden on a damp street started her walk again crossing the street away from me. I did not try to stop her.

The rain had stopped its unstoppable fall, as a beautiful, white car streaked dirty from the rain flew down the street. Its lights shone brightly, searching, its horn a terrible cry. It was this cry that broke the spell that had been cast upon me.

I looked towards the young woman, who was standing serenely. We locked eyes as young lovers might kiss. Knowing, familiar, but always exploring. You can make it, her eyes seemed to plead. And I could make it. I had to make it.

The cigarette dropped from my mouth. The green ribbons in her hair fell behind her. I had not noticed the ribbons before. They were a light shade of green, that brought back memories of soft green grass tickling your neck as a child.

Light green ribbons tying golden hair.

I was sure I could make it.

In her eyes, I could see us. I could see all the ways we somehow might be. I just had to step off the walk. The cigarette hit the ground in front of me, sparks scattering from the tip. Its bright glow shone in the dark gutter.

I did not realize that I was mouthing the words to boyhood prayers long forgotten.

Her eyes were blue, like a clear summer’s day, laying on a hill, being yourself. I don’t think I have ever seen so beautiful a blue. It was a blue that saw me and knew me. The brim of my hat slowly lowered once more.

A flowing stream crept from the street to the gutter, extinguinshing the small light of my fallen cigarette.

But I did not see this, as I had turned and walked away.

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