”They were lives just lived.”

Tristan’s words echoed in Secilia’s mind. His voice still so vibrant, so brisk, for a moment she touched her ear to see if his mouth was near it. She kept on gazing outside the window but in front of her eyes there was only that painting. The high and low tops of the meadow were unfolding in front of her, but all she could see were arms embracing each other. It was a pretty big meadow with a small river flowing on the left side of it with a huge oak tree in the middle. There were sprawling grounds running down to the water, creating ponds around the roots of the oak tree.

Kids were always running to rescue its bark taking the water out with buckets. They were all raised embracing this old legend that even the slightest portion of this water can either drown or suffocate you even if you were standing tall and imperious for many years. Oddly enough, the stream dissected the meadow with near perfection as its reflection of the four acres of wildflower, before the woodland begins, always made you look forward to the next morning. You craved for the light to mirror yourself in it. To admire yourself in this watery mirror.

A dark line of bent grass led through the moonlight silvered sheen across the meadow and toward the mountain but Secilia’s eyes were covered with the dark curls of his hair, ruffled while looking for his arrow on his bow ready to be shot at anything that moved, whispering “Come with me I want to show you something”.

Secilia could swear he has just now whispered that to her again, grabbing her hand and running together through the tunnel under the castle. Its way led to a cave none of them had ever seen before. Deeper inside the painting was standing. Dusty, worn out and pale. They both let themeselves to smell the fresh paint for a moment, although the only fresh thing around there was the kiss the would have, gropping each other in the hollow, dark humid cave.

They should not be seen together.

”Next time we will aim between the eyes” Ladlow’s men had warned him. He could not stop laughing that night around the fire with other soldiers in the woods. “The eyes, lads, they said the eyes!” ”What damn fools they are!” ”Like I would not be able to see Ses, even with my eyes closed, or my eyes cut out or my eyes in a jar!” The rest of the soldiers stood silently, trying to warm their hands on the fire, worrying about him and more. And their lives.

Secilia had her apron full of herbs picked in the meadow near the creek, that night but they fell on the cave’s ground and scattered as soon as Tristan had his hand inside her dress.

Still staring at the void, she has not finished combing her hair yet, but so far she has crossed love all the way, without having any of its worlds left within her heart. She thought of going to bed. Blowing out the candle that luminated those two in the frame, blow out the day…

To be continued…

Author: Pepi Naki

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