We should meet at another place
We should meet at a library
Me and you
We should find a nother book
We should find a new story
Me and you
We should kiss behind the book
We should kiss and no one would know
Me and you
We should read another page
We should read every word
Me And You
Sonnet Nr. 1
This life is strange, and stranger every day;
And every day we ponder our strange lives.
We think and fear and later we will pay
because we failed to take some daring dives.
Our time is up before we even know
the precious time we’ve had and that we’ve wasted
we’re left to moan what was once meant to be
and crave to drink the wine we’ve never tasted.
Oh, how we wish we to know our looming fate
to make the most of all the things we own
we wish we knew what was beyond the gate
between the blank and al we’ve ever known.
However sad this poem seems to you
be still aware it never was more true.
Long, long ago and far, far away
from the past
you’ll inspire me today
A new favourite
is being ill-used
and longs for Captain Wentworth
An English class
That is all we do. Until exams are over, we pretend
to notice and – even worse – to care.
Using the environment
Or was it
the other way round?
We don’t remember, it has left our minds and we don’t even –
I smell autumn. I know it’s coming before anybody else does – I know before the leaves start changing colour.
I look up at the trees that flank the greenish metal gate I’m about to pass through. They’ve grown since I’ve last been here, but that doesn’t surprise me. Not in the least. They’ve had a whole year.
The wind swishes through the thick mossy branches – it makes them whisper, giggle, it makes them sing. The dancing leaves swim before my eyes and I look down at my bare feet. The wind has reached me now. I can tell it wants to play. Why else would it tear at my hair like that? Why else would it sting my face the way it does?
It must be cold. The people beyond the gate are wearing hats and scarves. I’m not cold. How could I be when I’m about to meet Jude?
Jude. I open the gate, my feet pass from asphalt onto gravel, the utter silence of the place swallows me whole. Like somebody has just turned the noise level of everything to zero. The wind still leaps from tree to tree, the other people are still there, carrying rakes and watering cans, but I can’t hear their footsteps anymore.
I look around, slightly disorientated, and gaze at the space in front of me. It’s been a long time. Trapped in silence, I try to take in the view: neat little flowerbeds on each side of a winding gravel path, some with large engraved stones on them. A wooden shed next to the cobblestone wall. Ancient trees tower over all of this, their branches creaking in the rushing wind. It would be beautiful if the flowers weren’t dying.
Jude. I know he’s already here, although I can’t see him yet. He’s always been more punctual than I am. I know where to find him though. I have to walk right to the end of the gravel path, turn left and cross the lawn between the little flowerbeds. The smell of rain rises from the grass as my feet touch it as lightly as they can.
There he is. Sitting on the damp earth of one flowerbed, his flowers dying around him. I walk up to him, walk fast, I almost run.
“Hey.” My voice is like that of a stranger, breathless and overexcited. Jude is here! And he’s smiling.
“Tess.” His voice. Enough to call for goose-bumps all over my arms.
We sit back to back, just like we did last year. The small boxwood hedge between me and him pricks my back, but I’m fine with it. I don’t want to miss a single moment. Not one. But something is different today. Jude feels different, much colder than usual and strangely immobile. Am I imagining things?
No. Jude has always been pretty muscular, so it was never really comfortable to lean against him. That’s it.
He’s here with me. That’s the only thing that counts.
His voice, deep and melancholy, brings me back to reality. “How have you been?”
“Okay, I guess.” I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how I’ve been.
“And what’s he like?” He sounds mildly curious. What am I supposed to say?
“Timothy?” I decide to play for some time. “I can’t tell you that he’s horrible, can I? To tell you the truth: I really like him.”
Jude doesn’t answer. What have I done? I rest my head on his cool, hard shoulder and he doesn’t shake me off. “Listen… I know I shouldn’t say this, but – I’m so glad you’re still here. That’s more than I deserve.”
“It’s nothing. I’m here to stay, babe.”
That’s one of the things I like best about Jude. He’s never bitter. He just laughs it off. I do that too. Now at least. It feels so good to be laughing along with Jude that I don’t mind the scandalised looks of passers-by. Them with their watering cans and mournful expressions, they don’t have a clue.
They don’t know how good it feels to have him back. For the moment.
I close my eyes and listen to Jude’s breath, so quiet and shallow I’m not sure if it’s there. Is it the wind I’m hearing or the rushing of leaves?
Cars rush past on the road. Life hurries past outside the gate, but it’s far away from us.
After a while I voice something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
“Juliet didn’t die, you know. When Romeo poisoned himself, she tried to stab herself, but the others found her and Paris in time and they got rescued. Shakespeare only wanted to make the ending more dramatic. And he wanted to spare her the pain of being responsible for Romeo’s death.”
“You think it’s her fault Romeo was so rash?”
“Of course it is. She could have stopped him.” I know Jude doesn’t share my opinion, but something about the tone of my voice keeps him from contradicting me.
“So, how is she now?”, he asks quietly. “Juliet, I mean.”
I sigh deeply and before I can prevent it, my voice turns as bitter as overcooked sage. “She went off with Paris and they got married and tried to forget. But she’ll never forget.”
Suddenly, Jude moves behind me. At least I think he does. I feel something very close to a real, warm touch at the back of my hand. I shudder, a warm shiver running down my spine. Can this be true?
“It’s like you’re real.” My voice cracks, I have to clear my throat twice before I can continue speaking. “Like you’re back.”
I’m crying now, tears are running down my cheeks along with the rain that is starting to fall – that is falling thick and fast.
“Damn it! I tried so hard, Jude. Why is it so hard to forget?”
“It’s alright.” And for one second I almost believe him. I allow myself to be indulged by his voice, so intimate and calming, but only for one second. “Maybe you don’t have to forget. You can cope.”
His words destroy a barrier. The memory breaks through the boundaries I have set up with so much care all last year. And the year before that.
Jude. Jude. Jude. Me telling myself that I could cope, that I would manage somehow, that I could move on. And once again he’s there, warm and alive, he’s back and once again I have gone too far. I have allowed myself to remember and again and again I’m facing what I’ve lost. Who I’ve lost. Jude.
“I’m so sorry! I know I could have done more, I could have stopped you, I…” The words tumble out of my mouth, my voice shaking with suppressed sobs.
“No, Tess, shush… It’s alright. Look at me.”
“I can’t.” I burry my face in my hands. Why should I look when there’s no one to look at?
“Yes you can. Come one, that’s not the Tess I knew.”
He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know what it’s like. Suddenly I want to scream at him. I’m done with false pretences.
“But I don’t even remember what you look like! You’re just fading away. So fast.”
“I’m still the same as ever. Trust me.”
With an enormous effort I lift my head, get up and walk around Jude’s flowerbed. I’m trembling all over, but my fists are clenched. A woman standing next to a distant flowerbed gives me a sympathetic look – I barely notice.
I press my lips together and stare at Jude. I stare at the place where Jude should have been. I stare at the stone.
21st of February 1995- 28th of December 2012
His voice is still there, at the back of my head. “You see?”, he says and I imagine him with a faint smile on his face. “You can cope.”
He’s right. I’m getting better at it. For the moment at least.