A Fountain of Memories (revised #2)
The leaves skittered over the ground, dancing as the wind carried them under a mosaic-tiled heaven. This place held so many memories. He carried me as if I was weightless when we danced that night. So much passion in the air, you could cut it with a knife. It was an odd place to hold a wedding reception I told her, but she didn’t care. It was stunning. Gorgeous. Mystical. It was as if time could stand still in this place; she could preserve her happiness, the memory of her wedding day, in a jar. Snow blanketed the countryside, and it looked as if we may be trapped inside forever. I hate winter in New England. It plagues me to think what could have possessed me to move here from Texas-- The sweltering heat of the summer there is just as bad as this white winter hell. My best friend Lindsey was visiting from Houston, and I was glad for her company. I had just recently divorced a supremely toxic terror. I was a free bird, but my wings felt clipped. Lindsey was a prima donna. I am quite sure I was the only one she went to for help with this wedding. She loved Central Park, and had aspirations of getting married there some day. I told her she was moonstruck if she thought a nightly affair in that place was safe. I had seen the news, often it was enough to make me jump out of my skin, but it was her ordeal, and I didn’t want to rain on her parade. We visited the park, once the snow had started to melt, waltzing to Belvedere Castle, Shakespeare’s garden and every single other place one might think of having a wedding. She was about to wear me out. The trip was about to thankfully end when we stumbled upon Bethesda Terrace. Its Greco-Roman ambiance reminded me of our wine trip to Tuscany when we graduated college. “This is it!” she shouted at me and gripped my arm so tight it almost bled. “Freaking chill!” I winced, and we both broke into laughter. It really was perfect for her. Her fiancé had connections in New York, and it would be no problem to close it down on a weekday. The ceremony would be right by the fountain, just an eye shot away from this gorgeous grotto. The blues in the ceiling tiles would complement the ocean that was her eyes. I was always jealous of those. The next few months flew by like minutes as we narrowed it down to the final details. I was most excited to sink my teeth into the food. We had eaten at just about every restaurant in town, when I finally decided to call Carrie, my ex-sister in law, to run in a favor. I hated every second I dialed the number to Aureole, the upscale restaurant she had pride in doing accounting for. The sad part to it all was Lindsey, Carrie and I used to be best friends in our younger days. In fact, Carrie is how I met Steven, the husband from the deepest pit of hell. Terrible memories swarmed me as I started to think of him again; one ring… two rings… three rings… I was about to hang up when I heard her voice. “Charlie Palmer’s Aureole—This is Carrie Drews in accounting,” my heart felt like a giant brick of ice. “Hey, Care… it’s uh, Kate. Listen, I know this may be awkward, but Linds is getting married, and we were wondering if you could strike a deal and cater the wedding?” Thump. Thump. Thump… faster and faster my heart was beating, and she wasn’t giving me an answer. Static and silence consumed my ears. It was deafening. “So! Little miss thing is getting hitched finally,” she snickered devilishly, “Well, I imagine after the way my prick of an older brother treated you, I at least owe you a bit of something, considering it was my fault you fell in love with his dumb ass in the first place.” Carrie and I weren’t exactly speaking since the divorce and the trial. It wasn’t as if we were bitter with each other, but once Steven was tried for manslaughter, the whole family sort of crumbled apart. He was his parent’s shining star. “I don’t feel like you owe me anything,” I managed to get out, “I just want to make sure I don’t suck ass as a maid of honor.” She laughed that old familiar laugh, and it made me smile. Her laughter was the best medicine back in those days. Lindsey, Carrie and I would stay up for hours and make jokes just to hear her laugh. There were several sofas almost ruined because it never failed someone ended up wetting their pants. “Alright,” she sighed with resolution, “I’ll do it. But don’t think this is some kind of reconnection or a rekindling of some sort. I am purely doing it out of memory for an old friendship.” What kind of shitty response was that? I thought to myself. I would take it though, and roll with the punches, just like I had done for too many years. Lindsey’s wedding day was nothing short of breathtaking. I have never seen a more gorgeous bride, even when staring at the mirror and looking at myself the day I decided to take the plunge 6 years ago. The reception came, and the food was heavenly. Carrie pulled through, just like I hoped she would. Of course she very briefly made an appearance, I didn’t expect her to stay of course, but it would have been at least nice to see her again. I did see her talk to Gavin, a friend of a friend Lindsey set me up to meet at the wedding. They were talking as if they had known each other for years. I thought it was a bit odd, but you know as well as I what a small world we live in. Gavin was a debonair angelic-looking piece of human perfection. I was almost scared to say yes to Lindsey when she told me her plot. Apparently Gavin was going to be attending the wedding without a date, and she felt he would be just the thing to get my mind off of my horrid past and start over. This guy was supposed to be the missing feathers to make my wings spread and fly. I would be seriously lying if I said my body did not turn into melting butter in his hands. I was lustfully, sinfully, insanely in love with this man at first sight. His raven hair and piercing eyes lured me into the sea like a Siren. We danced the night away; his hand firmly molded to the small of my back like it was a part of my own body. Lindsey watched gleefully from her table, smiling like she just won the lottery. She was right… I was flying. Flying right into a place I didn’t need to. It was too soon, but when you are lost in the moment, everything wrong seems right. We left the reception for a moonlit walk around the park. For a place that seemed to be so scary to me at night, I was fearless as I walked hand in hand with my newfound knight in shining armor. We walked every inch of that park it seems like. We came to a small bridge amongst a world of the most gorgeous flowers. He took my hands in his and spoke the sweetest words. “Love comforteth like sunshine after rain, But lust’s effect is tempest after sun;love´s gentle spring doth always fresh remain. Lust´s winter comes ere summer half be done;love surfeits not, lust like a glutton dies;love is all truth, Lust full of forged lies.” He smiled and kissed my hands. “Shakespeare. How clever.” I snickered. “Venus and Adonis…” We whispered together. “You know of it?” he questioned tauntingly. “I studied Shakespeare and mythology extensively in college. I majored in English literature and the classics you know. That story is kind of sick… doesn’t Venus foreshadow her lover’s death?” It was all too perfect. He bent over and picked a flower that was delicately planted at the footpath of this bridge. “Eeee…” I drew in a breath, “An anemone flower. You planned this, didn’t you?” I laughed mockingly. I knew as well as he, that anemone flowers were mythic. It is said they were the children of Adonis after he was slain, his blood covered the ground and his body turned to these purple flowers. He never answered me though, only grinned. The stars glittered the water and sparkled like diamonds as we shared a stolen kiss. “I have never loved anyone more than I love you at this moment,” he whispered to me, “Nothing can be more perfect than this.” I was scared for a second, and then started to fall deeper and deeper into the spell he was casting over me. It was as if Aphrodite herself had set up this date. What could possibly go wrong tonight? Tonight was the first night in a long time I felt free. The next morning, I awoke to the sounds of loud voices and sirens. Someone screamed, “I am with NYPD move out of my way!” All around me the fountain was raining red with my blood, and my prince had disappeared. I sat up to meet my mangled body, and it was that moment I realized I was dead. There were no flowers sprouting in memory of this lover. It escaped me what had happened. The angel of the waters stared down at me. It was all too ironic. This angel was like the one in the gospel of John. That angel brought healing powers to the people of Bethesda. This time however, the waters of this fountain were not going to bring me to life. It was all over. I left the horror scene and wandered into the halls of the adjacent terrace; I had the feeling I had been there before… was it just last night? If it was, there was no memory to capture what even occurred here. It was empty, the leaves scattering in the wind. I felt like I had to stay here and remember. I sit on this staircase, staring back into the terrace, where my soul is forever trapped. Day after day I try to remember the details of the night I was flying. The memories always seem to fade like dawn. I so desperately want to be free again. Every night by the light of the moon, when it seems the stars are perfectly aligned, I go to the place of the stolen kiss and try to remember. Remember everything. Sometimes I hear his voice again… I replay the moment when he leaned into me, saying, “Steven says hello…” and everything fades into black.

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