Puerta del Sol

Can angels lie spine to spine?
If not, how they must envy us humans.

Kamila Shamsie, Kartography

“FOLLOW me,” she whispered. And he did.

She pulled him by his rough, honest hands up the winding stairs, higher and higher and higher.

“Faster, faster,” she laughed. So he did.

They reached the top of the old lighthouse and sat in the old place, legs dangling over the edge. The sun was bright and he had to blink twice in homage.

“Hi,” she smiled. And, after a moment, so did he.

Although he was a simple man, of simple tastes, the view from the top of the old lighthouse never failed to arouse thoughts of art and poetry. But though he was a simple man, he was wise too and he realised how foolish it would be to attempt to capture this in any form. No, he thought, one must live it, savour it, then let it slip away; for is that not life?

“Remember when we were young?” she asked, slipping her hand into his. And he did. He did.

He remembered the day they’d gone up to the hills and she’d danced between the trees and fallen asleep on his lap and the smell of her hair and the cloud that looked like a boat to him and a house to her and the evening as it fell and the little bobbing light they saw in the distance that was an old man who wandered the hills in the dark and invited them to his small, warm cabin for hot chocolate and told them stories about his wife who left one day and never came back and how glad they’d been, just then, to have each other.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, brushing the hair from his eyes. And he pointed out towards the sea at a boat on the horizon.

The sun was setting into the darkling waters and he was afraid for the little boat. Did it not know that the lighthouse had been abandoned for many years? Its cold, stone walls held no guiding beacon. Would it float adrift, or would it crash into the jagged rocks of the coast?

“Mi amor,” she smiled, turning his eyes towards hers. And, for a moment, he couldn’t breathe. “Mi amor, I promise you. It will find its way home. It is not so little or so helpless as you think.”

And as the sun slipped beneath the horizon, he watched her vanish into the aether, a memory once more. And he stared after the little boat until he could see it no more.

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One Last Sunset

A BOY. A girl. The flaming passions of the setting sun reflected in their young faces.

He turns. Sweet salt air. A hint of vanilla. Her dark eyes meet his.

Eternity wraps herself in a moment.

In that tangible instant, he sees another face from another time. A strikingly similar face from an incredibly, indescribably distant time.

And he is filled with the anguish of the ages and the regrets of humanity clutch at his heart.

Just as his forefathers had before him and just as his sons will after he is dust, the boy sees — in the depths of his love and in the wells of human emotion — that fatal flaw, that transience which is the curse of humanity.

The boy shivers, imperceptibly, as a warm hand slips into his. And he watches quietly as the dying sun slowly slips beneath the dark, dark horizon.

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