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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: Beloved and bereaved
By Josiah Kane


She was beauty incarnate as she floated up the aisle. The garlands of roses woven into her hair; the shimmering silver of her dress; the gold earrings hanging delicately from the sides of her face; all served only to dilute and diminish her indescribable face. They were gilding on a fiery diamond, or perhaps a veil of mist around the radiance of the sun. She was the kind of person from whom the tiniest slither would sprout and bloom into a myth. She could fairly call Aphrodite a warty toad or Athena a blithering fool, but her heart was too kind. Adorned or unembellished, she would always be perfect.

After the marvellous words: the heart-stopping uttering “Jason and Ariola, I now proclaim you husband and wife,” we, the new couple, actually skipped out of the church, jubilant in our unadulterated, selfless and utterly dazzling love for one another. We danced down the stairs, laughing at the shower of confetti that floated down around us.

The next four weeks were pure bliss. Stroking fingers through rippling hair… spooning each other frosty strawberries and luscious cream…swimming through the Caribbean Sea and basking together on sandy islets…both hearts knew that we would be happy together forever.

We were driving home after the honeymoon. Driving down the perfect twilight road with conifer forests on both sides, and the great amber arc of the setting sun a reminder of the beautiful day. She cocked her head sideways, leaning left for a kiss. I turned, and at that moment a juggernaut came charging down our lane. Instinctively I swerved off the road. Our car tumbled down a slope toward a tree—Ariola’s side plunging into the unflinching trunk. The impact ripped us in two, and only I survived. I am left alone!

I only realize now how much couples become one, to what a massive extent our parting is death—death to the one who is still left alive—as much as death is a parting. We were so happy, my Ariola and I, yet we were torn apart. Every night I dream. Her lovely face aglow with brilliant light turned to an ash-pasted grey. Her hair flowing in the salty sea air, then it freezes as even the wind loses its vitality. Her eyes, mirrors to a soul with vibrant and refreshing depth, show now only a stagnant, blackened pond. Wedding and funeral; pleasure and pain, sorrow and joy. I was the beloved. I am the bereaved. I am left alone!

Our life was begun and now it has ended. I can find no comfort in empty words. I cannot move on at the behest of a greedy friend, who comes every day, not to console me but to leech from my table. I cannot forget my love, nor forgive the dastardly drunken driver who caused all this pain. I cannot look for consolation with another—I can never love another person in my life! Even heaven’s light is engulfed and devoured by my dismal desolation. I gave her my heart. And now my heart is hidden deep beyond the gates of death. I am left alone!

What am I to do? To fight out my days with vengeful wrath or to succumb and die? To disappear into some worthy cause or to turn to drink and despair? To sell my soul or to beg God to redeem it? To ask for help from others or to petrify my heart and continue unaided? All joy, all beauty, all love in my life is dead. What will I do? What can I do? Am I left alone?

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This article has been read 530 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 04/24/09
Incredible descriptions, and what a haunting and wonderfully engaging tale, with such a tinge of sadness. I felt with your MC deeply.
Sonya Leigh04/25/09
I love this line: I only realize now how much couples become one, to what a massive extent our parting is death—death to the one who is still left alive—as much as death is a parting. Powerfully written and very engaging. Well done.
Bryan Ridenour04/25/09
Awesome writing. I truly felt the MC's pain. Well done.
Jan Ackerson 04/29/09
Although the beginning of this dipped slightly into purple prose, I loved the ending. There, your narrator became real.
Loren T. Lowery04/29/09
You write with depth and your mastery of words and use of cadence to heighten your thoughts is commendable. Sometimes less is actually more when you are able to write so descriptively - it is obvious that you have a gift for thoughtful if not profound phrasing. Well done!
Kimberly Russell04/29/09
A hauntingly sad tale- and so common today. As someone who stuggles with the "less is more" concept, I agree with previous comments. Trying to learn to write with less words but using words with greater power is a challenge but well worth the effort. Great job- keep writing.