The night air was thick with the smell of sandal
wood as the firelight danced around my room in
warm, softly vibrant hues.
My balcony window showed off the darkness of the
night, the willow trees swaying through the
darkness, almost out of sight as I took a deep
breath and plunged backwards into my hot bath
water, looking up through the silence of the
water to the ceiling fan high above.
I brought my head slowly up, wiping the water
from my face as I gazed with distant eyes around
the empty room. It had been three weeks
since I’d last saw him. The rich memory of
our last moment together played out vividly in
my mind. I leaned back into the hot water
as a cold breeze blew suddenly from outside.
I closed my eyes as the memory engulfed me with
the silence of his eyes.
Sunlight speckled his then ruddy face as his
blue eyes shined through at me amongst the red
dust of the day’s work. In certain
perspective, it was that of a retreat center
where we now lived…where we had met only two
months before. Really it was my aunt’s
small southern mansion, and she was a woman with
a heart of gold.
She took in every stray human being walking
blindly through the night, brought them in, and
offered them a safe haven…a place to stay for a
while; a place to get strong before venturing
back out into the cold world.
I, her lonely hearted niece, was no exception to
this. For years I had lived alone,
fighting my own fears, my own heartaches.
My alcoholic tendencies finally drew me down
into my own self-made hole, one for which I knew
no escape. I was homeless, unable to pay
my rent. When my aunt got wind of this,
she came and fetched me up as if I was a
She brought me here, to the Willow Haven, and
gave me all I needed to heal, to become strong,
including the endless love I was so desperately
Ethan was a slightly different story, having
wrecked just outside of town on his motorcycle,
an acquaintance found his unconscious body lying
in the ditch of the country road and immediately
drove him to my aunt for care.
He had remained unconscious for several hours
before waking at Willow Haven and his memory
seemed to complete evade him as he jar bled in
incoherent babble about trains and such.
We were just two of many roughed up, beat up and
loved deprived occupants, and ranging from
teenage ages to those in their golden years of
life. Some came, some went, but Ethan and I
understood each other.
I knew he would leave soon, that wild streak so
un-killable inside of him…and he did, those two
months following his arrival; and though he
promised to stay in touch, in my heart I knew he
would not. I knew him, how he was wired,
how he was made. He was man that lived on
the breeze of his current vision, and I knew no
longer seeing me would cause the vision of our
friendship to fade.
I took the bar of soap from the ledge of the tub
and slowly lathered it between my hands,
watching as the suds poured over my fingers and
into the steaming bath water surrounding me.
A smile came to my eyes as I remembered the last
frame of his face when he had left…I was picking
blackberries and he was handsome.
His blue eyes were intoxicating as he approached
me from the field. He took the berry bucket from
my hands and held it, walking with me as the
rich cascade of the golden sun set over us that