The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chasing Shadows

By: Thomas Fletcher Booher 

I run through the meadow into the moon's gleam that trickles through the trees and splashes across the grass. And in the brightness all I see is you.  

Your hair is illumined, your eyes green, your face round and delicate. You wear grey silk, like nightwear, and extend your hand to me, beckoning me to come. 

I looked back but for a moment, and you were gone. 

I cannot say why I turned. Perhaps I think it too wondrous to be real, to fanciful to be happening. And now that you're gone, I dread to think it all a dream.

But then I approach where you stood, a strand of your radiant hair wafting in the gentle breeze, and as I involuntarily place my open palm beneath it, it rests upon it. I squeeze my hand- and my heart- around it.

And that contact with you, was all it took to know you were real, to know I was not chasing shadows.

So I searched. I journeyed through the forest, days without food. I slept in the cold, damp night, and sweltered in the day heat. My skin itched and turned to rashes, but I dared not turn back again, I dare not stop chasing after you. 

It wasn't the hand extended, or your warm smile, no- it is your eyes. Your piercing green eyes that say come, come, but do so like you want me, like you need me. 

I lose track of the day, and am closing in on despair. I take satisfaction in knowing you wanted me to come, to approach, to take you then and there. 

I delight in knowing my suffering, my hunger is for you. My sun-burnt flesh and weary head cannot thwart this rising pang of love and passion in my soul. I think of your lips, how they glistened like ocean water kissed by the sun rays, a thousand different refractions each promising it's own reward. 

And if I had to search one thousand days to find my treasure, I would. 

What are you? I do not know. A nymph, a goddess? I do not care. You had summoned me, and I dare not refuse your beckon, I dare not stop to ask why, or look back as before. And why would I? Such enchanting beauty no man has ever seen. I cannot resist your allure.

Then a glimpse, or was it? I could not be sure. I had all but forgotten, to my shame, your figure, once a vivid painting in my mind's eye but now reduced to a silhouette with silver lining. 

My passion had cooled. But that brief image re-lit the flame of my desire. 

Now I tear through the wooden hillside like a hurricane, ripping branches, being cut by thistles, stumbling on root and uneven ground. It is the least, why yes, the least I can do for you, my love. For I had turned my eyes while even in your presence! 

Yet for you to show yourself to me but for an instant was more than I deserved. And now that I have had a fleeting trace, I am tormented for more. 

So I run, and run, and run. Like a crazed lover, for that is what I am! 

Then another glimpse, and I change direction, and call out to you. But what is your name? "My love, my wonder, my joy, my beaut!" I cry, but you do not answer. You did not answer. 

I collapsed in a clearing, chest aching and head pounding, face down in the earth. I cried, from there I cried out to you! But where are you? You do not make a sound. You slink through the night like a whisper carried away by the wind. My feeble body had no nourishment, except for the uncatchable image of you. 

I believe it will sustain me a thousand years, so I stand. But no sooner do I falter and fall back to a knee. 

Then I looked up, and there you were. Why this, this is the spot, the same meadow as before! How long had it been? It was the place I knew, the special place where I first saw you. Your radiance had not diminished, your smile had not wavered, your teeth were still beautiful. 

Then I am enraptured again by your sparkling lips, intensifying the magnitude of my longing to press mine against yours, to lay in your arms, to be with just you on this fine patch of soft grass, beneath the stars, beneath the moon, by the pure flowing waters.... 

I am approaching, I am approaching you steadfastly. I will not look away, I shall not blink. I can smell your delicious fragrance- oh how inviting it is- as I draw near. I am captivated in this moment, and my heart beats violently as your angular features stand sharp, brilliantly like you are glowing, the only thing in color on this colorless grey night. 

I am noticing your eyes, they are green as emerald. As I approach I am realizing this time I cannot look away, I cannot breathe. I hasten my steps so that I do not lose breath before I reach you! I race to you; your silk hangs loose off your precious body. I long to touch you, to gently clasp your face in my hands! Now you are spreading both arms away from you, facing me; I'm running into your arms! 

And it is too late. 

You were wise, clever indeed to return to that same spot, that same time of the year when the lighting would befall the mound just as it did before. For I could not see, until this very moment before I dive headlong into you as you step outside that enchanted gleam, that your silk is of webs, your hair locks are of poisonous asps, your eyes are cruel embers, and your teeth are sharp fangs.

You are not what I expected. You are not pretty, my cruel love.  

I fall into your web. The hand that you did not extend I now see contains a dagger with wormwood on its point, and it's tearing through my chest. It's plunging through my heart. 

The searing pain gives way to drowsy, 

and I am going under, 

                                                                                        Then I awake. And I am in hell. You are here. And all I want to do is run from you, but I cannot. I cannot.