Strangers of the Past – Part I
Posted on 18/05/2012
Her skin was as smooth as coffee cream. He could almost feel it between his fingers as he sat there reading a section of the newspaper. Her cheekbones were high and well defined; her lips were full and bare from lip color, showing their natural maple hue. His fingers itched to trace her face on a canvas and imprint it there for eternity but to his chagrin, he couldn’t draw to save his life.
He could feel her face leaving his mind, fading to oblivion. Her deep, sincere dark brown eyes disappearing into the dark orbit of his blank mind, her warm laughter fading into the soundless barrier in his brain. The only thing he could hold onto of hers was her last words to him before she faded into the deep green shades of the unknown.
“You must trust your spirit, Jonathan… Let it direct you,” her somber voice caressed him as she moved slowly into the void. She shook her head as his feet involuntarily followed her. “You must let your heart lead you… Listen,” and with that, all parts of her disappeared, leaving the mute feeling of loneliness.
He had cried that night, his knees weak and trembling, his usually strong arms lying helpless at his side. Bent in a fetal position, he stared into the darkness.
She had been his rock, the shoulder to lean on, the ear to listen to his ranting and raving, his calm when he couldn’t find his way, the hand to hold on to, the eyes and lips to reassure him. She was the love he never had and probably never will again, She had been his past, his present and his future. She was a gift from God to him and everything was going so well for them.
First she was offered a job in a prestigious academy to teach her favorite subject, Natural Sciences; then the house that they dream of owning was finally theirs for only half-price. She had just told him that they would have their first child in November. They had picked the color and theme of the baby’s room and she had just started Lamaze classes. He had been so proud of her and they had such a perfect life until that fateful night in the spring when the storm invaded their ports.
Then the hurricane came. They had received word from the local news-station to beware of the treacherous storm.
Being compassionate, his wife began to think of the neighbors who were closer to the shore and with the rain pouring heavily; she pulled on his heavy raincoat and with a quick glance at him, headed out into the whistling rain. She couldn’t hear his plea as he headed out after her, glancing worriedly at the roaring ocean to the left and the submissive palm trees at his right.
The front door of their house at the top of the hill banged open and closed against the angry wind. He ran blindly after the light-green raincoat-clad figure of his pregnant wife head for the green oasis of the forest, camouflaging herself in the trees.
In his desperation, he tried to run faster but the green fog pushed him back against the rocks, refusing him passageway into its depths. The wind and the rain from the ocean roared against his back and the woods thundered and raved at his front.
Helplessly, he stood there with his eyes wandering back and forth from the house, the ocean’s incoming waves and leaves lashing like whips against his skin. Tears and rain ran collectively down his face as he waited apprehensively for his wife’s return.
Just then, he heard screams from the fog and with his heart beating hard, his week knees almost buckling; he made his way towards the trees. The screams became louder and he watched speechless as two toddlers, a boy and a girl, wet and dirty, crashed against him. He held them both with one hand and strained his eyes against the smog, looking desperately for his wife.
Heaving, his heart leaped as she emerged from the trees, carrying a little baby boy, red with his tears. Ignoring the boy’s tears, he looked into his wife’s eyes and was struck by what he saw in them. Shaking his head involuntarily, he whispered raggedly, “Don’t…”
She moved towards him, holding out the baby, her muddled eyes silently pleading with him. “Please… They are lost there.”
Are you out of your mind?! Have you forgotten that you carry a child within you…my child?! He said to himself in silent fury. “L-let me go instead then… You can stay with them whil—”
She moved back slowly further into the forest. “They call for me.”
He shook his head urgently, “You can’t do this!!” He involuntarily held out his free hand and she deposited the infant in his arm. Helplessly holding all three children, he continued to plead with his wife. “Don’t… You are not fit to—”
She kept her eyes on him, “They need me. Can’t you see that?!” She said furiously, indicating the fact that she was their only link to civilization, as their doctor, interpreter and friend—the only foreigner they trusted besides the other volunteers who were back there.
He gritted his teeth as he whispered raggedly, “I need you…” He didn’t care if he sounded selfish, or that the children were screaming their heads off, or that the rain pelted their skin. “The baby,” he gently said, looking pointedly at her protruding belly.
Instinctively, she placed a protective hand to her belly and gave him an almost remorseful look. Tears fell down her cheeks as she regarded them before her. She smiled gently at the small, now quiet children flocked around her husband and looked back up at him. The words she uttered to him were unexpected as she whispered, “You must trust yourself…”
“W-What do you mean?!” he said frantically, holding on fiercely to the children. “Don’t you do this to me—to us…”
She continued with a tremor in her voice, “Let your heart lead you, Nat… Trust in God.” The children began to whimper as the woman that had saved them was now leaving them.
“Coulombe,” a voice from the fog interrupted and her head whipped towards the forest as more yells emerged, calling her by their native name for her.
Healer, they had dubbed her for her silent peaceful nature as she helped them gain their health and spread God’s love.
She frantically looked from the forest to him and back to the forest. “I love you… F-forgive me, Jonathan—but I must go to them.” And ignoring his protests, she ran back into the forest that engulfed her, leaving the soundless barrier and the growing wails of the children and his own.
Continue onto Part 2>>