Hidden in my heart
There is a magic field
Where wildflowers grow
From the scattered seeds
Of all my broken dreams…
Eily Nash (2018)
Hidden in my heart
There is a magic field
Where wildflowers grow
From the scattered seeds
Of all my broken dreams…
Eily Nash (2018)
It’s Friday afternoon and here I am curled up on my favourite couch, pushed up close to the red brick feature wall, it allows me a sweeping view of the rest of the dimly lit interior, it is the best seat in the house. Comfortable and discreet and perfect for me to enjoy my favourite past time, people watching. I’m enjoying the enticing aroma of freshly ground Arabica beans brewing, all the better to tempt the taste buds of of our patrons. I also see a fresh lemon drizzle cake has arrived on the counter, baked by the fair hand of Cassie. I’m sure there won’t be much of that left this evening!
I’m Henry and I run things around here at the “Black Cat Café ”. That’s Cassie over there, with the fluffy blonde hair and huge amber eyes, if she were a feline she’d be a playful Persian Kitten, but you do have to watch her, sometimes Kitty has claws! Cassie is a people person. Me? I’m far more reserved, cool, detached and maybe even a little introverted. As you have noticed I am an actual Cat, a rather lovely Burmese, with silky black fur and jade eyes that miss nothing. Maybe I am biased but just like our downtown coffee shop, I am rather unique and special.
Could be “The Black Cat Café” feels like home from home, a little haven nestled amongst all the bustling commerce, catering to that strange human need to hang out with other humans. It’s cosy and intimate with discreet seating, an eclectic mix of distressed brown leather sofas and sumptuous armchairs covered in velvet hues of deep purple and forest green. We have lots of plump Liberty print cushions scattered about for patrons to sink into and enjoy a leisurely break from the humdrum world outside. Low, mahogany tables with fresh Freesias in china vases and tiny tea lights in coloured glasses add to the sense of being in an intimate space. An ornate gilded mirror picks up all the twinkling fairy lights strewn around the walls. Cassie happily hosts local artists, displaying their vibrant work. The vibe is vintage, eclectic and super cosy. There are plenty of little nooks and crannies for those desiring a quite tete a tete, friends sharing intimacies, lovers sharing secrets. We cater for those wanting to see and be seen too. Sat outside at our cast iron Bistro sets, they are welcome to light up a cigarette, sip an espresso and watch the world go by European style. And all from our Waterfront pavement in our quaint little corner of Providence.
Interesting what you see in a coffee shop, all the little vignettes of peoples lives, how they interconnect and entwine. I like to people watch, maybe because I’m such an introvert, a window on the world without getting too close. Maybe I am just a discerning cat. It is just like front seat watching your favourite day time soap opera as life’s little dramas play out. I can tell a lot by just looking at a person, where they choose to sit, what they are drinking. Now, you for instance, are a cat person, I can tell you will enjoy just sitting here and soaking up the atmosphere, the scents and sounds. Cassie likes to play the blues on the stereo. I prefer the sultriness of Lana Del Rey and Beth Hart, she plays them too. Says they capture raw emotion, love stripped bare. Cassie gets things, that’s why she is my person. I don’t like to share her.
Come and join me, I’ll be glad of your company and happy to chat for a while. Plenty of space on this old couch. Grab yourself a steaming mug of your favourite brew and people watch with me. Don’t be shy, I find that introverts like to join me, they don’t feel so obviously on their own with a cool cat for company.
“Why thank you Henry, don’t mind if I do. I think I’ll go for a Macchiato and a slice of that lemon drizzle cake. Let me introduce myself, I’m Tyler, I’m a writer, people watcher too. Like to observe the depth psychology of interpersonal relationships. See him over there in sports clothes, with the well dressed woman, what can you tell me about them?”
Ohhh…Those two…They meet in here every Friday, same time, same seats, same drinks. An English Breakfast tea for her and a Skinny decaf Latte for him. I admit I like them. Good. Decent. Married. The last six months I’ve watched it all happen and watched it all unravel.Observed the other players in their little world, too. They haven’t noticed me, noticing them.I can tell you it all, what went wrong, ripped them apart. Shame really. I would have liked to have said something to them, let them know they could make it better, but it would not have worked. They wouldn’t have heard me.I’ve had eyes and ears on them. I think this is a ‘make or break’ coffee date…I know Cassie thinks so too. The whole thing has put her on edge. Oh, my steamed milk has cooled down, just a few sips and I shall share my observations, my dear Tyler!
“I’m intrigued, Henry, do tell!”
He’s called Chase, he’s from the Mid West. Tough guy. Made it out of the ghetto and sidestepped the gangs into law enforcement, rapidly rose to Captain in one of Chicago’s toughest precincts. Had the heart of a lion, fearless on the mean streets, got burnt out, saw way too much too soon. She’s a New Yorker, Manhattan, a real UpTown girl. I’ve intuited all this from the stories they tell each other and things Cassie has said. Life brought them here to Rhode Island. He may be in his late thirties now but still has a great deal of stamina and physical strength, keeps himself athletic, runs marathons. Cassie said it keeps his head clear, I disagree. Who or what is he running from?
“What about the woman, she is beautiful, but a lot older, ten years easily?”
Her name is Venetia, she’s all Fifth Avenue elegance. Look at those pearls, the Chanel suit and those Manolo heels. If you get close enough, you’ll get a waft of gorgeous heady Italian perfume, classy dame. He smells of fresh pine, a forest of green stuff. My Cassie smells of fresh baked muffins, I think I prefer the muffins myself.
“They look like a mismatched pair, Henry, don’t look like they would have any meaningful connection?”
Looks are deceiving my dear Tyler, do what cats do…Look at those eyes, so dark but shine so bright. I wonder if that was the draw for him? Those eyes are cats eyes, see things that others don’t. I can tell that she ‘sees’ him. Knows him well. He seems to like that. She has a fierce intellect. He likes that too. Admires her for her depth, not threatened by her mind like some men would be in the company of a Psychologist. Her Practice is a few blocks from here, she’s been in with a few of her clients. The Black Cat Café is discreet, comfortable, puts them at ease to open up to her. Cassie is okay with her doing some counselling sessions here. Now if she were a cat, she would be a sleek and elegant Russian Blue, him he’d be a Savannah. Chase still has a wild side. Cassie says she has yet to meet the woman could tame that one and if the ‘one’ ever arrives that will be the last we see of Chase around here.
“So Chase is a bit of a dark horse, a player then, Henry?”
Hard to tell. His eyes are fathomless. They may be blue. They may be grey. Depends on his mood. I have wondered if he, despite all his physical strength, is desperately trying to keep bad at bay. He isn’t easy to read. But I noticed that Venetia saw down into that deep dark well and into the hidden place where he keeps those old hungry and angry ghosts on lock down.
“Oh, that is rather deep, Henry. It takes a lot to bare one’s soul. Somethings we never admit to, even to ourselves. World stays safe that way.”
Yes, you are right. The unsaid ‘thing’ … He knew she knew... and he loved her for it but he just could not tell her. It was complicated. Humans, funny things. Felines are so much further along the evolutionary scale, cats say what we mean, mean what we say. Demand what is ours. Take it if necessary…
“What happened, Henry? Do you know?”
Of course I know, I’m a cat, I know everything and I was right there, under his feet! Saturday night he was sat on my couch knocking back Jack Daniels, Venetia was at a conference in New York and Chase was badly missing her, couldn’t sleep, he gets these nightmares. Cassie was upstairs visiting the land of dreams so I decided to keep an eye on things down here. He called her. Too much alcohol, both of them, and it all came tumbling out…unsaid words, finally said…And he got afraid. Of her. The truth. Possibilities. Life… And she was ashamed, she crossed a line, didn’t know how to go back… Pity really, They were so good for each other.
“But he is still with her, sat over there? They are both wearing wedding bands. Surely it didn’t end that night?”
No, it should have done. Been cleaner. Better for everyone, and no one would have got hurt. Instead he did the craziest thing and ‘let the Stranger in’, took up with Maggie. Caused a lot of complications around here. I don’t judge, but I didn’t like that. No, not one bit. Cassie was very upset by all the drama.
“Who is this other woman, Henry?”
She’s the innocent looking blue eyed blonde at the counter, watching them, whispering in Cassie’s ear yet again. …wish Cassie would unleash her claws on that one, but she’s standing there listening to her … And because Maggie is her sister, Cassie is believing all her lies…Hiss…I wish she would get the hell out of MY Café and back to her Five and Dime store!
“Oh Henry, what a surprising turn of events!”
I wasn’t surprised, saw it coming, he was meeting her in here, right at their table! She tries to emulate Venetia, her wit and her wisdom, but she just isn’t her. A perverse thing in him needed to regain control. Shut those ghosts up. Make his world safe again. So he chased and caught Maggie . Felt pleased with himself until he realised that the hunter became the hunted and Maggie was not for letting go or keeping things under wraps. But something deep inside whispered, then shouted. His soul cried for the woman he truly loved… But to be with her he would need to be true to himself, stripped bare. Accept what she could and could not give to him. Would he choose to do the inner work she was willing to help him do? Or would Chase cut loose?
“This Maggie must have have something. Some people cheat because they can, others cheat because there is something fundamentally missing in them and they are seeking integration through another person, trying to find a way to make themselves feel whole again. What do you think, Henry?”
Maggie is the first, Chase is the second. Venetia told Cassie in confidence that in her professional opinion Maggie has a Histrionic Personality Disorder. She needs a lot of attention, demanding more than Chase could, would or even should give her, didn’t see past herself and that he was hurting too… God, how was he hurting. As a psychologist Venetia knew both of them had issues and thought she could help them both through it… She just ended up getting burnt in the flames of her own desires.
“All very deep, Henry, do you think he will choose Maggie? Or Venetia ?”
Hmm…Neither…I am hoping he wakes up, smells the coffee and plumps for his long suffering, loyal and understanding wife!
“I thought you said they were already married, Henry?”
I did. They are…
…just not to each other…”it’s complicated”… I told you it was like a soap opera around here!
Chase is married …to Cassie…
“So Venetia is?…”
Venetia is Chase’s therapist and Maggie’s too and er, also her wife!
“So let me get this straight, Chase and Cassie, Chase and Venetia and Chase and Maggie?”
Yes…Humans…What are they like?!
© Eily Nash 2018
Love’s Secret Desire
Kept Safe Hidden Within
Heart’s Locked Repository
Under a blanket of night
Your scent sets me alight
Your kisses laced with fire
Ignite flames of dark desire
I am lost in the stars above
In the firmament of your love
© Eily Nash 2018
Deep in the dark caverns of your mind
Thoughts threatening to capsize you
A small boat without safe harbour
Lost upon a vengeful and merciless sea …
My heart has heard your cries of pain
Felt the heavy burden of unspoken words
Weighing you down with secrets untold
Brought to me on the wings of the wind…
And as a Lighthouse in the darkness
Allow me cast Hope upon your despair
Come find your way back home to me
For just one moment in time, stand still…
We shall drink in the sweetness of life
Smile at bees and wild flowers dancing
Walk through tall meadow grass
Listening to love whisper in the trees…
For the magic of nature feels
The yearning of your heart
And I, your Soul friend, reach out
And silently say “I know…”
© Eily Nash 2018
“Wild is the beauty Of Barra’s Land
Harsh Waves Crash Upon Silver Sand
My True Love Abandoned Me Today
Left Our Unborn Child To Sail Away
Brought To My Knees, Left in Poverty
For A siren’s Call Across The Seven Seas”
I’ve always been fascinated by abandoned places and the fragments of the past lingering in the stale air. Is it the remnants of lost hopes, I sense? Fragments of dreams and burnt out desires? The Croft was one of those places with so many stories to tell and I wanted to hear them.
Tapping into residual energies? It is what I do and I’ve never questioned it, accepting it just ‘is what it is.’ They never leave, those old ghosts from the past, their memories becoming just another layer on the atmosphere. And if they chose to reveal their secrets, as a whisper on the wind, then I have a greedy ear to listen.
I walked over to a small wooden framed window, dirty panes of glass, eyes dully staring without seeing, the wild beauty of the land. The taste of sea salt hung in the air flung up by harsh waves beating down upon soft silver sands. Who stood there, looking out at me looking in? Did they ever wonder what lay on the edge of the horizon, what lay over the sea from Barra to Skye. Intrigued and wanting to know more I approached the door, coated in peeling paint of soft pink and covered in lichen. It beckoned to be opened. I reached out and grasped the iron handle, blackened and rusted with age, expecting it to be cold to the touch. Instead I felt it crackle as a jolt of electricity ran up my arm. The magic had begun, hands from the past were still imprinted on the handle. A melancholy creak and the door opened, allowing me admittance to a forgotten world. Who would be waiting and would they be willing to speak? Would I have too many questions, for which there were too few answers?
And then I heard her! A soft whisper in my ear as gentle as the kiss of a summer breeze.
“I’m still here.”
“Talk to me,” I said, “tell me your story.” And she did.
Flora was her name, a bonny lass with red hair, flowing like molten lava down her slim back. She shyly lifted her head to look at me, her eyes filled with innocent guise, and matching her simple muslin dress, a splash of cobalt blue in a grey place.
The impressions came flooding in, gossamer threads of the fabric of her life. She’d loved him and leaving the comfort and protection of her Father’s castle walls ran away with her Sailor boy, freely crossing over the sea from Skye to be with him in the croft.
Life was harsh but Flora comforted herself when it was cold outside the flames of passion and desire he ignited in her were all she needed. The warmth of his love and the fire burning brightly in the grate would keep bad at bay. Until the fire went out, leaving ashes and dust…
Slowly Flora came to realise she was not enough for her man. She shared him with his Mistress. It was a bitter blow to see his eyes light up when he heard the siren’s call, in a way they no longer did for her. With sad resignation Flora knew, once his Mistress summoned him, he would go. Much as he loved his young wife, when the sea whispered his name, he was lost.
Many a moon tide she stood waiting upon a lonely shore, looking out to sea and praying for his safe return. He would return. He always did once the yearning to be free and sail the seven seas had been assuaged, then he would hold her and love her and she would forgive and forget. Hope burnt brightly within her innocent heart. He was her lover, her friend and husband in the eyes of God above and father of her children yet to be born. Bonny bairns who would play at her feet. Strong sons who one day would go to sea and ease their poverty, such dreams had she!
I sensed the atmosphere change. Anticipation, excitement and the thrill of laying in his arms replaced by a dull dread.
Silence. She was fading.
“What happened, can you tell me?”
Outside the sky was blackening, dark storm clouds approached. I smelt the promise of rain, harsh and bitter.
“Ohh..Flora…” I felt her pain, “Talk to me…”
I heard the rasp of the door swinging open.She had no words left. It was time to go. I took a final look around and followed her out. The croft was empty, love did not live here any more.
The tide was going out and I made haste down to the beach, passing a rocky outcrop of granite monoliths. Had she too passed this way? Were the stones silent sentinels witnessing her silent scream as day became night and night day as she waited, fear descending as a clammy shroud.
At the closing of the day, as the light was fading away, I saw her standing there upon her lonely shore. Calling, calling…
But her love did not hear, for he was lost to the deep embrace of a cold, cruel sea. The siren had called. He would not return.
Her words were carried on the wind over the sea to Skye for no one to hear but me…
© Eily Nash & Steve Hynes ~2018
I am indebted to Steve Hynes for permission to use his atmospheric photography and for the gift of sharing his beautiful writing which brought Flora’s tale to life.
© Eily Nash 2018
“If you could, would you?” He looked at her quizzically.
“Just askin’…” Her smile held the promise of a secret she may or may not share.
Intrigued, he decided to indulge her cryptic question. “Fly around the world in a day? No, too far! Climb a volcano, that’s another no, too hot! Sit on an iceberg with a Polar Bear in the North Pole, Brrr much too cold!”
“None of those things Cooper, they are too um…mundane… That isn’t the nature of the question!”
“Join a camel train and cross the Arabian desert to sip rosewater at an oasis?” Is that fanciful enough?” He saw a flicker of light in her dark eyes, decided to close her down, this was getting too deep and the game was about to start. “No, not for me!”
“Why? It’s not too far, not too dangerous, not too cold, hmm unless maybe at night. You could keep warm sipping potent Arak, and with the heady scent of incense burning wrap your arms around your true love and make love to me by moonlight and starlight! “
Cooper looked taken aback and out of his depth. He didn’t want fancy Arabian Liquor when there was a case of Coors on ice. Forget heady incense, the only smoke he wanted was twenty Marlboro Lights. And as for the desert, well his true love the New York Giants were playing in Las Vegas and the clock was on countdown to kick off.
“Is it because it is too hot? Don’t you like it hot?” Was there just a hint of sarcasm in her voice? “Afraid you may get burnt?”
“The Arabian desert is a big place just to grab a drink, and what if the Oasis was no more than a mirage, I’d be left very thirsty, can you grab me a Coors the game is starting in like two minutes.”
Purposely not taking the pointed hint Stella pressed on, “What if it isn’t more than a mirage? Unless you make the journey, you will never know.”
Walking into the kitchen, she filled herself a large glass of chilled Californian Chardonnay, took a slow sip and then another…The wine cooling her rising ire. It was all about him, it was always all about him. Saturday night, and all dressed up with no where to go, except another one way ticket to boredom city. She downed the wine, filled another glass, grabbed Cooper a beer and determined not to loose his attention stood in front of the T.V set.
“…In answer to my question ‘ If you could, would you?’ instead of sitting there watching life, what if you tried actually living life then what exciting, wonderful and amazing thing would you do?” Her voice had a sharp edge, the wine kicking in, unable to bite back the bitterness she felt.
He looked at her at a loss how to reply. Should he tell her if he could, he would shut her up, make her go away and let him watch the Giants in peace? Something in him knew he couldn’t give her what she wanted, never could, never would. She was different from all the women who had loved him and left him, a free spirit he had managed to trap and he was not about to let go, so he indulged her little flights of fancy, even though they bored him, then made sure the bars of the prison he constructed around her grew stronger and stronger, and her world grew smaller and smaller.
Seeing and mis-reading the panic in his eyes, she clasped his hands, trying to pull him up toward her. He remained seated, resolutely focussed on the TV screen behind her.
“Cooper! If you could, would you please put me first? If you could, would you please notice me?” And if you can’t would you please set me free to be with someone who would actually appreciate me?!”
“Stella, you mean everything to me, all I do, baby, you know I do it for you. Been a long week at work. The stock exchange is brutal, give a guy a break…Make it up to you. Can we set the world on fire tomorrow, You go to Nieman Marcus and get a fancy new gown and I’ll take you out to that new Fifth Avenue restaurant all the celebrities go to. The first game of the NFL season is about to start, so for tonight how ’bout you fix us a bowl of chips and join me on the couch.”
The weight of too many broken promises hung heavy in the air between them. Stella knew whatever Cooper did was all for him, none of it was for her. She also knew he was the one truly trapped, for in her mind she could always fly free…
With a sad smile she said, “I’m tired too Cooper, do you mind if I leave you to watch T.V you know ball games are not my thing?”
He nodded, relieved, “Sure thing baby, can you just grab those chips before you go?”
Stella walked back into the kitchen. Looking out over the glistening lights of the New York skyline she felt trapped in her Manhattan penthouse. Some where over the East River the stars were shining, but with all the light pollution she couldn’t see them. Stella downed the rest of her wine, wiped away the threat of hot tears and did as Cooper bid, as she always did. The Emperor called and the nightingale sang…
“Don’t get up to any mischief in your dreams, Stella!” A dismissive peck on the lips made sure she didn’t linger.
He knew where she was, safely tucked up in his bed. Once she was asleep he’d trawl through her emails and cell phone, just to make sure no hidden threat was lurking. He’d never managed to find anything incriminating, but that didn’t stop him looking. Couldn’t be doing with any one coming in and filling her head with nonsense. There was a way to handle sensitive types like his Stella, just pretend to go along with it all and then let her know she had hit a brick wall. He knew she’d tire soon enough and go off to sleep leaving him in peace. Dismissing her from his mind, comfortable in his T shirt and shorts he chugged his beer, lit a Marlboro and settled back to watch the Giants kick ass.
♥ ♥ ♥
Her pillows were plush filled with Canadian goose down, the sheets cool Egyptian cotton. Stella slipped off her blue velvet dress and eased into the king sized bed. She could have cried but her tears had dried up a long time ago.
As she drifted of to sleep, the reflection of Manhattan’s myriad of lights reflecting on the East River became a starlit sea. And in a tiny sailing boat Stella’s nocturnal journey took her away from her Penthouse cage to freedom. She travelled by moonlight and starlight to a distant shore where he was waiting, in a place where love lived forevermore. The man of her dreams. Together they lived, they laughed, they loved.
And when she asked him “If you could, would you…?” He answered “If I could, I would love you for eternity Stella!
“Would you?” She whispered.
“Stella, I would stop time for you and hold you in my arms forever!”
And sweeping her up, her lover carried Stella further into the land of dreams.
She smiled in her sleep, knowing she wasn’t doing anything wrong…
After all, you are innocent when you dream…
© Eily Nash 2018
At the Twilight of the day
When the sun dies away
I see you standing there
Fading light upon your hair…
Feel me reach for your hands
Across time’s shifting sands
Beloved, come to me, I implore
Our Souls entwined evermore
Do I yearn for you in vain?
Do you not suffer as I do?
Hear me cry, feel my pain!
My aching Soul calls to you!
At the dying of the light
And the coming of the night
Like the ebb tide of the sea
You fade away from me…
© Eily Nash
You put a smile on your face
But it can’t hide that place
Behind your fathomless eyes
Where such deep sadness lies
All those secrets you hold
And stories never to be told
Your emotions under control
Pain searing your Innocent Soul…
I look and have eyes to see
For what is in you, is in me.
© Eily Nash ~ 2018
Do you believe in love at first sight? If you had asked me that question six months ago I would have said categorically no. I am rational man with a rational job. That is until the day she crossed my path. I guess I was in the space to let her in. Life was getting mundane. You know yourself. You wake up, kiss the wife, go to work, come home, kiss the wife. Sleep.
Dreamless nights that pass too fast, then you wake up and do it all again. It’s what we do. Without question. The days of wine and roses, who needs them? Once the golden band is on her finger, then the deal is sealed. Job done. Then time, crafty, insidious time, starts eating away at you. The minutes turn into years and you don’t notice because you are so busy waking up, kissing the wife, going to work, coming home, kissing the wife and sleeping. Then somehow, without even knowing how it happens you don’t kiss anymore. When did romance die? Where did you loose yourself? Then all you have is this familiarity and distance and a strange feeling that something is missing. A longing. A longing for what? How can you even answer the question when you know something is wrong, but you are scared of the answer? Too close a look and the careful world you have constructed to keep the wolf from the door and the bear firmly outside your cave is suddenly not so safe anymore. So the indefinable something ‘wrong’ becomes the new normal. And everything goes on the same, evenings spent alone downstairs, my wife upstairs with some pulp fiction for company. Vague stirrings of guilt. Why did she need to read that stuff? Didn’t she have me? Vague stirrings of regret, we were all right weren’t we? What if the romantic fix she got from the pages of her books didn’t cut it and she wanted more, from me, or someone else? Would I have anything left to give, or even care? I thought about going up and joining her, taking the book out of her hand and telling I was here, I was real. Notice me. I wanted to tell her I had my own hopes, dreams and desires and if she would only listen then I would share them with her and she wouldn’t be white noise anymore. But how do you come back from too many years of comfortably numb? I didn’t want to look too closely at that and shoved the awkward feeling deep down inside and just let it go.
Time ticking away, your life ebbing, second by second. Every moment one-step closer to the grave and nothing in between. I had heard all about mid life crisis, even knew a few of the boys at work who had gone through it. Hit forty and hit a brick wall. The sudden desire for a tattoo, a Harley, a fast car, even a quick fling or two with whoever was willing. I’ve seen it end in tears, broken hearts and broken bones. Not me, I thought, won’t happen to me. No one told me about mid life madness. No one told me about Love, not love like this. Obsessive, crazy, can’t get her out of my mind love. I work, she’s there. I drive, she’s there. I’m sat across the table from my wife. We eat. We have nothing to say, apart from the usual catch up on the day stuff. It doesn’t matter, because she is there. Inside my mind. My wife is talking, but long ago I ceased listening. White noise. I smile. I nod. I agree. Whatever she wants, whatever it takes. Eventually my tactics pay off and there is blessed peace. I indicate I will be up in a while and she goes to bed, alone. Silence washes over me, a soothing mantle. And all I want is to go off, alone too. I want to picture her, be with her, the woman living in my mind. But it’s all a crazy dream. Or is it?
I first met her late one Friday night after a very long day in Manhattan’s Financial District. I wanted to relax and the old fashioned comfort of Harry’s Bar Midtown hit the right note. I should have asked the cab to take me home to Brooklyn Heights, instead I walked in off the busy street into a cavernous basement. The walls were lined with vintage photographs from Hollywood’s golden days. The décor was oak and leather, low lights, discreet booths and reminiscent of a gentleman’s club from a bygone age. Somewhere someone was playing smooth jazz on a saxophone. The bluesy notes washed over me, soothing, with the music literally hitting just the right note. Cigarette in one hand, single malt over ice in the other, I settled back into the comfort of a big leather chair. I took a deep drag of my nicotine hit. Through the haze of smoke she appeared. Long, long dark hair, falling in tumbling waves over her slender back. And her eyes. Oh those eyes. Luminous, lovely and inviting. She was a goddess and she was there, right in front of me. I sat up and paid more attention to a woman than I had in the last seven years. More attention than I had paid to my wife in the longest time. Did I feel guilty? No. There was something in me that needed her. And here she was, in all her radiant beauty and she was present, right here, right now, a timeless goddess of the silver screen invading the recesses of my hungry mind.
“The words you don’t say speak louder than those you do.” She was a mind reader as well. I covered my embarrassment with a slug of whiskey. I resisted the urge to ask her if she came here often. Despite her soft southern drawl it was obvious she was always here. I wondered just how many men had sat here and gazed on her loveliness. How many men had she looked at with those faraway eyes? How many men had thought of running their hands through her luxurious long locks, pulling her into a tight embrace and kissing those luscious lips. I was getting out of my depth. Stubbing out my cigarette and draining my drink I stood up to leave. At that moment I was lost and she knew it, catching my eye her gaze said, “You’ll be back.” And I was. I was finding reasons to go to Harry’s bar with the boys or alone. Never with my wife. I knew Maude would be there. Waiting. That seductive gaze, those eyes, I could drown in the depths of emotional intensity. My wife truly would not have understood. How would I find the words to explain just how or why another woman’s beauty had the power to speak to my very soul? Maude listened to me. I found myself pouring out how I felt about my wife, about myself. I told her I didn’t understand just how we had ended up in this big freeze. Where was the passion, the magic? When had the fire gone out? I told Maude everything I could not tell my wife. I got the feeling she would have liked to meet my elusive wife. But how could I introduce them? How could I explain Maude, who she was and what she meant to me? I loved her for her beauty, her glamour and mystery. She had the allure of an icon of the silver screen. She was there, she was present but she wasn’t. I could look but I could not touch. She had made that clear. But I could dream. You are innocent when you dream. Maude knew these things and she knew I adored her. She didn’t judge me. There was no blame, no weight of disappointment for things I had done, and things I had failed to do. With Maude I was free to be me. A man with hopes fears and desires and she understood and that was huge, and with all my heart I wished my wife would too. I was out of my depth and I was drowning. I guess it was only a matter of time before my wife found out.
The questions had started. ‘What time will you be home? Why are you late? Where have you been? Out with the boys again, really!’ I had no answers. No excuses. I closed down. Maude or my wife? It was becoming a very hard call. Maude was becoming my drug of choice. I needed her. I didn’t need the third degree. After all I was innocent, wasn’t I? Innocent when you dream…And dream I did. As I climbed into bed each night I envisaged she was there with me accompanying me into the realms of fantasy.
‘I am an actress,’ she said, ‘A weaver of dreams and a maker of magic!’
‘Maude, you are luminous! Do you have a gold star on Hollywood Boulevard? Take me there!’
‘My star is a long way from Hollywood. Search the night sky for the Morning star and you will find me. I am your Immortal Flame. I am your goddess of love. Always remember Love conquers all.’
Together we travelled the World and danced under starlight skies. We banqueted within Castle walls, she was my Princess and I her Knight and somewhere a Troubadour strummed a mandolin and sang of our love. We visited the Alhambra Palace, walked hand through the Court of the myrtles and beneath the Andalucía sun she whispered sweet words to me. In the shadow of the iconic monument to love, The Taj Mahal, I became her Rajah and whispered words of devotion to her, my beloved Rani.
The mornings came, I awoke next to my wife, with her back turned to me. The gulf between us was now an aching chasm and I felt a wrenching loss in the pit of my stomach.
The night they finally came face to face with each other is etched on my mind. A cold November and the big freeze between my wife and I was now arctic in its intensity. Something would have to give. Even a row would show there was some passion left, some depth of feeling. I felt so surplus to requirement, the weight of her disappointment in me was becoming a burden too heavy to handle.
‘Don’t wait up. I have to work very late. I may sleep at the office.’ And I was out the door before she could question me. I had plans for tonight and I would face the music in the morning. Right now there was a fire raging and if I didn’t quench it, then I risked being subsumed in the heat of my own desire and aching need to be with Maude.
I got to the bar early, before the evening rush. I wanted to be at our table where I had first set eyes on Maude. The bartender, now familiar with my order, started pouring my favourite single malt Scotch, Glenmorangie, over ice. I settled back into the comfort of the deep leather chair and lit a cigarette. This is where it had begun. Maude was waiting for me, beautiful as ever. Every time I gazed at her I saw perfection and paradoxes, beauty both beguiling and innocent. I wanted to reach out and protect her. I wanted to hold her in my arms and tell her I would keep the wolf from the door and bad at bay. I looked into her eyes looking at me from a distant place and time, and saw her sadness and saw her soul. She was a star from a bygone age that shone so bright she still lit up my lonely night. But she wasn’t real. She was a fantasy. No matter how much I longed to take her in my arms, to love her, Maude would never be mine for she belonged in the firmament above. From her gaze I saw she knew that I, as so many others before and after me, would always be hers. A captive of beauty. It was time to say goodbye. It was over.
‘Go home,’ Maude said, ‘what you see in me, you first saw in her. What you feel for me, you first felt for her and you will again.’
The weight of loss was too much to bear. The double life I had been leading, the freezing cold at home that had caused ice to form over my heart had been melted by the passion I had felt for a woman who was not my wife. I had been beguiled by beauty, Maude had touched my soul and I would never be the same again. A great wracking sob clawed its way out of my throat and I sat, head in my hands and I cried.
I felt her arms around me. Warm, loving and strong. She sat on the arm of the leather armchair and cradled me. Slowly she pulled my hands from my tear stained face and her soft mouth gently kissed my sorrow away. I looked into her eyes and saw the depth of love she felt for me and my heart began to beat fast. She was so beautiful, she was here beside me and she wanted me…I took her by the hand and asked her would she come home with me because I very much wanted to make love to her. She stood up and pulled me to her. I kissed her with a passion and intensity I had long forgotten and all the love and feeling inside me washed away the years. I was a man with hopes, feelings and desires and my wife understood, she always had and that was why she was here tonight.
‘How did you know?’
‘I know you,’ she replied. ‘I saw the way you looked at her photographs on the Internet, over and over. I watched you fall under her spell. How many men has she enchanted? You are not the first and you will not be the last. I wanted you to look at me that way, the way you did before we both forgot why we had been enchanted by each other.’
‘And you forgive me?’
‘Yes. Maude’s beauty is her gift to the world. Beauty that speaks to the soul. She spoke to you and her silent words told a story of love, romance, hope and desire. And I heard.’
As we walked hand and hand out into the New York night air we turned and took a final look at Maude Fealy, an Edwardian beauty and movie star from a bygone age, as she watched over us from her home encased in a silver frame on the ‘wall of fame’ at Harry’s Hollywood bar.
At that hour just before dawn wakes a sleepy world, as I lay entwined with my wife I happened to look out at the night sky. And there she was, true to her word. Venus, Goddess of Love.
My Morning Star.
© Eily Nash
Thank you for reading!
From my book Nightshades~A collection of supernatural Tales
When Two Worlds Collide
Behind innocent words
And Fathomless eyes
Silent Expectations Spark
Flames Of Secret Desire …
This beautiful & evocative painting is in the National Gallery of Ireland
Do you ever wonder why we have pets, why we have a close affinity with animals? I believe we are given our pets by God to help us on our life path. They love us absolutely unconditionally, and the bond once formed with an animal can be so strong, so intense and life affirming. Love is Present. It breaks my heart when people are cruel or unkind to God’s creatures. There is no need for it.
It is really easy to love that cute little fur-ball of a kitten or a puppy. It is a lot harder to have the same ‘Ahh’ feeling for a tough old alley cat, but who is to say that a battered old bruiser is not just as deserving of a little TLC and respect?
I‘d like to tell you about one such Cat I met many years ago. His name was Charlie, he was the scourge of the neighbourhood. He was big and brawny and Charlie liked nothing more than to prowl around looking for a good fight.
Charlie was not a friendly cat. Although he had a home, he was originally a rescue cat, he was very much his own boss. His nature was much more alley cat than pampered pet. He had attacked other cats and dogs and he had even attacked people too. Often very viciously and I heard first hand how he managed to claw and draw blood from a lovely elderly lady who is known locally to be extremely kind to animals. Clarice needed hospital treatment for the wounds he inflicted, yet she never reported Charlie nor did she complain to his owner about his bad behaviour, choosing forgiveness instead of anger and resentment. Clarice told me his owner had enough of her own worries and there was no need to burden her further. She was a very wise woman.
My special pet is called Angel, she is just the most adorable fluffy white West Highland Terrier. She has a very loving nature and is a very sweet and friendly girl. Although Angel has a big bark inside our house, she is shy and timid outside.
One day Angel was out walking with me, It is very green and pretty where we live. She was happily doing doggy things, like sniffing all those interesting scents from other pooches, cats and foxes. Out of nowhere Charlie sprang at her and tried to claw her down her back, she is a small Westie and at that time not long past her puppy days, and next to Angel Charlie was HUGE. Angel is my baby girl and no one and nothing will hurt her whilst I am around to love and protect her. So I reached down and scooped her into my arms and roared at Alfie ‘Leave her alone!’ I roared so loud my voice stunned him and he gave up on his ambush and slunk off into the bushes. Angel was very shook up and frightened and I was not best pleased with that cat. For the longest time when I saw him afterwards, one look from me and he just knew better than to mess with Angel again. Knowing she was safe, Angel just continued doing her doggy thing, sniffing all those deliciously enticing scents and not engaging with him.
A few weeks later, I was sat on the step in my front garden, hunkered down between our very tall hedges. Along the path comes Charlie. I was feeling very down about something. As is the way with life, all things pass, all is transitory and I no longer recall what had upset me although at the time it was important enough for me to seek solitude in nature. Charlie had (if cats can have such a thing!) a very ‘hang dog’ look about him. He wasn’t slinking along with his usual beligerant air.
I caught his eye and asked him ‘You not feeling so good either Charlie?’ He stood watching me, in that way cats have of staring into your eyes and deeply reading you. I dare say, cat owners have no secrets from them! And then something odd happened. In that instant I just knew everything about Charlie, why he was like he was and how his ‘old battered bruiser Tomcat’ exterior was just an overcoat wrapped around a lost boy who had a heart after all. He told me he had especially chosen his special human Courtney, the girl who had “rescued” him, because she was having a hard time in this game called life, and she had been battered and bruised by a lot of unkind people. He had come to show her she was worthy of love and devotion and that he enough strength and courage to protect both of them.
He came over and gently rubbed his face against my leg and I stroked him under his chin. He sat there and purred a bit. I talked and Charlie listened and between us we gained a liking and a great deal of mutual respect for each other. When I needed a friend that day, God sent one along albeit he came in the strangest disguise!
Charlie and Courtney eventually moved on, where she went, he went. I know a well deserved and happier life awaited both of them.
I have long forgotten whatever had ailed me but even though he is long gone, I have never forgotten old Charlie the cat.
Thank you for reading! This is a true story although, apart from Angel, I have changed the names of the characters who appear in my little sharing:)
“I knew these people…once…It was a long time ago…”
She looked like she needed to talk, some fragmented ghost of a memory rattling around the caverns of her mind seeking to find a voice. So I pulled up a chair and sat down beside her and prepared to listen. After all, it is what I do. Listen. I listen a lot. People tell me things, always have. Seems to come from nowhere, the torrent of words, the secrets and the shames. I never judge. That is for the Man above not me.
A waiter came over. Smartly dressed with slicked back black hair, just a hint of grey kissing his temples and a smile that reached his rich brown eyes. I noted he was deferential without being subservient, in a very European way. I liked him and resolved to leave him a good tip. I saw he liked her, a lot. Did she like him? It was difficult to tell. There was a story hiding behind his smile, but that would be for another time. Right now was her time. She had something to say and I had a strong intuition I needed to hear it.
I ordered a pot of English Breakfast Tea, toast and marmalade, “Make that for two, please,” I glanced at her and she nodded her approval at him.
“Très bon,” he rewarded us both with a smile, hiding just a soupçon of merriment. This man did not take life too seriously at all. He really was very handsome and as he walked away a delicious hint of citrus and spice lingered in the air.
“Mmm,” I sniffed appreciatively “Do I detect patchouli and sandalwood?”
“Indeed you do. Top notes and base notes. Quite enticing, isn’t it? Clive Christian 1872,” she replied with authority and I wondered if she was the one who had gifted him a very fine bottle of cologne.
We sat in comfortable companionship in the beautiful glass roofed Courtyard. Soft pink stucco walls wrapped the restaurant with the elegance of a bygone age. She asked me if this was my first visit to the Wallace Collection. I smiled and told her I often came here to Hertford House and take yet another admiring stroll through the sumptuous rooms of the museum, admiring the works of fine art, especially paintings depicting angels. I told her my Mother had first brought me here as a little girl.
“Mummy are Angels just make believe or are they really real like the elves with their black patent shoes with big silver buckles and fairies with their gossamer wings in my big picture book?” I had made earnest enquiries.
“Indeed they are Evie,” Mummy had replied, “Would you like to see the lovely paintings of the Angels in Hertford House? We shall look at suits of armour and you can see for yourself knights who protected princesses were very real too! We shall have tea and toast and yummy jam when we finish. ”
My Mother always had a special way of making the most magical things sound a natural part of everyday life. I missed her and gazing at my elegant companion momentarily wondered would Mummy have looked just like her if the sickness had not came and took her away much too soon. Would we be sitting here now recalling my delight at the moment I had gazed on the beautiful paintings of Lords and Ladies of long ago. Entranced by the many treasures housed in the Wallace Collection, I had moved from one sumptuous and ornate gallery to the next, each filled with armour, fine porcelain, ornate snuffboxes and gorgeous fireplaces and rococo chandeliers. And I had seen the Angels. And I had believed.
I saw I was under close scrutiny, “I like it here,” I told her, “ I like it a lot. It’s been a long love affair,” I said.
She smiled and told me she loved it too, had been visiting the imposing Georgian house, standing proudly on London’s Manchester Square, for as long as she could remember. She said that she loved the Gainsborough’s and Fragonard’s. She smiled in appreciation as she divulged her favourite painting and said she found Scheffer’s “The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil” hauntingly beautiful. She said it made her cry. She told me she hugely admired the serenity of Velázquez’s black veiled beauty “The Lady with a Fan” and shared she was intrigued by sculptures depicting veiled beauties. She wondered if Raffaele Monti’s emotive statuette really depicted a Circassian slave? Perhaps, she postulated, she was truly free and her beautiful veiled countenance was an allegory for her seeing ‘beyond the veil’ into numinous realms. She said her name was Evelyn and she had a town house close by in Crawford Street, she was a Writer and she was glad of my company. A lot of words as one would expect, but not what she really needed to say.
I shivered involuntarily. Crawford Street was a place I knew well, having grown up in an elegant stucco fronted Georgian house. In different circumstances I would be living there now, but for the premature loss of my darling Mother. That house held many happy memories and I had vowed one day to return, that it would be my home again. Meeting Evelyn was proving to be more than a touch synchronistic.
Our tea and toast arrived.
“Those people…?” I tried to engage her to take my mind away from wandering down dark avenues from the past.
I poured tea, fragrant with freshly pressed leaves, from a pewter pot into our cups and she added the milk and sugar. The toast was good. I ladled on rich yellow butter and a generous helping of deliciously bitter marmalade and as I savoured the flavours I waited for her to speak. You can have an intuition on what they may say, sometimes hear the words before they actually speak them. Then when they do speak, the emotions come in, sometimes softly flowing, sometimes a tidal wave. And I have it all hitting me, sometimes it’s hard to remain inscrutable, to just listen. But it is about them, not me, so they never know I have eyes that look into their distant pasts and possible futures, their right here, right now’s or just how much I know…
She was different. Looking at me quizzically with intelligent eyes, and with a start I realised she was reading me reading her. A feint smile. I winked at her, knowingly. We laughed conspiratorially.
Sunlight, delicately streaming through the glass roof caught her hair. Cool blonde with strands of silver pulled off her face by a black velvet band. A woman of a certain age, but what that age was I would be hard pressed to say. Quietly understated elegance. She wore pearl earrings. Beautiful pearls, soft as moonlight. I admired them.
“Indeed yes, they are beautiful. Tears from the moon.” Her eyes misted. I reached over and covered her hand with mine. A simple gesture, speaks more eloquently and deeply than words ever can. She had long slim fingers tipped with manicured nails varnished the colour of her pale pink pearls. Her hand was surprisingly cold.
“Those people…” I encouraged, knowing the earrings held the key to her story, as did love. Was it lost, unrequited, had her heart been broken or did she carry the heavy weight of human frailty having inflicted pain and hurt on another? I munched my toast waiting for her to reply. The toast here is really very good. My reward for patience just a flicker behind her grey eyes, a wry smile and the deafening sound of silence. Perhaps a guilty conscience lay behind her insouciance? I truly hoped not.
Suddenly I had a very strong desire to know and held her gaze searchingly. I saw the relief in her face as the waiter returned with a fresh pot of tea and she took the opportunity to slip her hand away from mine, the shutters were down. The moment had passed. I got she was uncomfortable with my touch, the warmth of another human reaching out to her. I wasn’t sure if she would tell me her story, or keep her secrets to be shared only with the ghost living in the caverns of her mind. With a start, I realised I could not read her, looking into her eyes all I saw was myself looking back, my pale pink pearls catching rainbows of light as the sun danced through the atrium.
She may well have a lifetime of stories to tell, but I was going to have to live them before Evelyn shared our secrets with me, Evie…
© Eily Nash 2016
Grannie, Oh Grannie… There is something I need from the shops. Can you pop out and get it for me, like right now, please!
‘What do you need that can’t wait, Pumpkin? I am rather busy on my latest manuscript ‘Gossamer Threads’ a collection of ghostly and gothic tales.’
Grannie, your manky old manuscript is not important. My shopping is important. If you hurry up and take the elevator, not the stairs, it should only take you three minutes to get there?
‘Get where, and for what? And why on earth would I want to walk down the stairs when we are on the 53rd floor penthouse???’
To Tiffany’s Grannie. I need a Tiara, like right now, Grannie! Go on, hurry up and get down there before they close. And if it wasn’t a dire emergency, you really should take the stairs Grannie, then maybe you wouldn’t look like a big plush cushion. Just sayin’!!!
‘Really Angel, that isn’t very nice is it?’
Well Grannie, you are not exactly being nice. In fact you are being mean. Very mean. This is important to me. If you loved me, you wouldn’t be stood there arguing when the clock is ticking the seconds away to closing time. Please Grannie, please. I really “Want, Need, Now” that Tiara!
‘Is it for your super exciting and glamorous event, we have time Pumpkin as that’s not until the end of this week?’
No, Grannie. You are wasting time, Grrr…
‘Unless you ‘fess up as to just why you have an urgent need for a Tiara, Angel, I won’t be going to Tiffany’s or anywhere else except back to my manuscript.
Oh. OK. I have a hot date with a hot boy!
‘What? another one???’
‘Grannie, you know there is only one boy for Moi….now go fetch my Tiara. Get me a gold one with some diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Oh, and some sapphires and maybe pearls too, that should do nicely.’
‘It must be with someone very special, Angel. Is it with your true love, your handsome Scottie boy, Hamish? I thought he was back home in England’s green and pleasant lands?’
Er…Nooo, not him.
‘Is it with Mason the Mastiff, the Hollywood Hottie you dated in last summer and confessed all in your last book ‘Angel in the City? After Hamish caught you out when all the World’s News channels reported you had been caught skanking in the Hamptons?’
Er …Nooo, not Mason.
‘Is it with Mason’s twin brother, the intellectual Shaunessey? Remember you had a meeting of minds ‘thing’ with him and Hamish caught you when you made the cover of Time Magazine?’
Er …Nooo, not Shaunessey.
‘Is it with Teddy Hot Paws, the dapper little chap Hamish caught you skanking with just before you left for NYC and took his revenge by dating Kimbles that cheeky dog food model and boyfriend nabbing Biatch of a Bichon Frise?’
Er…Noooo, not Teddy.
‘Are you going to ‘fess up and tell me, Pumpkin?’
Granniiiieee….like no, no and no!!! None of them! If you are going to be mean I shan’t tell you that he is a Prince and I like the sound of Princess Angel. I like it much more than Pumpkin…Grrr…You are totally getting on My Paws, Grannie…Grrr…You are annoying me now…Grrr…Go get that Tiara from Tiffany’s before they close, and before I bite you…Grrr…and don’t tell Hamish, he may not understand about the boy!!!
Hmm…”Her most Royal, Regal, Highness, Princess Angel”…
Mmmm, my Lovelies, doesn’t that sound quite delicious…
Angel likes! Angel Loves! A lot!! And Angel also has a secret. I may well tell you who my mystery man is in our delicious “Shh…Secret Sharing Sessions” and all about our fated meeting in Central Park!
We hope you enjoy this cheeky slice of Angel Cake…Find out what happens next by grabbing your own from
Angel is a diva dog who has it all, beauty, fame and a luxurious uptown life in Manhattan with her doting Grannie and Butler James attending to all her copious ‘want, need, nows!’. What more could a girl want? When Angel meets a super cute boy, who happens to be an incognito King, she realises there is something missing from her life, the royal title of H.R.H Princess Angel to be exact! When her royal suitor bestows tasty treats and offers more, Angel’s dreams of social elevation go to her head. Our girl is on a mission to nab herself a crown and a rather yummy cake. She isn’t about to let the little matter of a true love back home in England spoil her plans. But when old frenemy Kimbles the Bichon biatch arrives in New York, and a blast or two from the past reappear, life becomes “it’s complicated” and Angel finds she has more than a touch of trouble on her delectable paws. Mischief and mayhem ensue as Angel is determined to have her crown and wear it and have her cake and eat it! Join our girl on the couch in her fabulous Manhattan Penthouse as she candidly reveals all in her cosy secret sharing sessions, with you, her Lovelies!
Eily Nash 2016 ~for my Husband
By the light of a fire burning bright
The Lady sought love in the night
Desire ignited within her dark eyes
She went to him with innocent guise
In his chamber her Lord did wait
With his black heart full of hate
After Hearts and bodies did entwine
He gave her a goblet of ruby wine
The venom brought her to the floor
He told his wife he loved her no more
It was another who set him aflame
He was callous and without shame
As the poisoned wine her life did take
A final promise she did make
Beyond the grave, his cruel crime
He would rue until the end of time
Eily Nash 2015
Once upon a Time, (as all self-respecting fairy tales start), a beautiful Princess named Rowena was trying to find her way through the forest. She thought she had become lost, and she panicked to be alone so far from home. As she neared a clearing in the forest she was delighted to see a fine Knight upon a fine horse. The sun was glistening on his amour and he was a dazzling sight. He introduced himself as Prince Tarnish.
The gallant Knight offered her his hand, and pulled Rowena up behind him onto the magnificent steed. And as is generally the way in these matters they rode off into the sunset. The Princess greatly anticipating the happy ending she had been sold with her Prince. Eventually, after a bumpy ride they arrived at the Knight’s castle. Once again, the bright light of the sun dazzled the Princess and she was unaware of her surroundings or where the Knight had brought her to, a fortified castle in the Land of Mendacity. She was so very tired after the long journey. Night fell.
Awaking from a fitful sleep, she opened her eyes and was bathed in pale daylight filtering through the window. With surprise she noted the window had iron bars. Why would such a beautiful castle need such things, what was to be kept out, or who was to be kept in? Peering through the thick black iron bars, which greatly restricted her view of the wide and wondrous world beyond, the Princess saw her Knight, Prince Tarnish. He was preparing to mount his trusty steed and ride out in pursuit of adventure, after all, isn’t that what Knights do? Rescue fair damsels and slay dragons.
In the cold light of day, the Princess saw that the Knight’s amour was not the dazzling white she had first seen. No, it was tarnished in many places. With blinding intuition she realized the Knight had no interest in slaying dragons, for they would be a formidable foe (and also put up one hell of a fight). This Knight sought out tender and pure hearts to run his gauntlet. Hearts he intended to batter with his spiked lances, and just for good measure pierce with the cold steel of his sword. For the pure of heart knew not of his treacherous traps. She also saw an image in her minds’ eye of the Knight. He was sitting astride his mighty horse, whilst she tried to wipe the tarnish from his amour, with the beautiful fabric of her luxurious and dazzling raiment. The Princess valiantly hoped she would be able to shine his amour so brightly that once again it would gleam as if the heart of the sun blazed out from the core of his very being. With deep sorrow, she saw that she was unable to polish the Knights amour, the tarnish was too ingrained. Worse, the beautiful, iridescent clothes that made up her attire were becoming rags. Torn, tattered and shredded beyond recognition with the fruitless effort. The Knight chose not to notice such trifles, and he did not provide his Princess with new garments befitting her royal status. She began to wonder if he truly was a Prince of
if he truly was of noble birth. Polishing Prince Tarnish’s armor was proving a huge challenge to Princess Rowena. This was a job for a serious Alchemist, versed in the magical arts of turning base metal to gold. It was not for the feint hearted or the delicate sensitivities of a Princess versed only in Love and Kindness. To know this grieved the Princess greatly, and in her sorrow many tears fell. Eventually the tears formed a shimmering, glistening pool in which her countenance was reflected. The Princess stared into the pool and it took many minutes before the realization dawned, the desolate and sad beauty looking up was indeed a reflection of her own self. How had this come to pass? In anguish she cried out for help.
A soft voice whispered in reply,
Surprised her request had been heard, she looked for the source of the comforting voice. Could it be there was a fairy godmother waiting in the wings? Turning her regal head towards the discarnate voice, she was met with the sight of not a glowing and magical fairy godmother, but what appeared to be an incredibly ugly, wizened old Crone. In truth the Crone was a Wise Woman, but the Princess had yet to find this out. At first she recoiled in horror to her answered prayer. Beware what you wish for.
The Wise Woman was wrapped in a deep moss green velvet cloak; under which her long and bony fingers gripped an object of deep beauty, an oval mirror, coated in a strange
black surface which gave no reflection.
‘Who are you, old woman?’ enquired the Princess.
The Wise Woman looked deeply into the sad eyes of the beautiful Princess. Her gaze was penetrating, reaching into her very psyche. Her eyes seemed to draw the very essence of the Princess’ character from the core of her being.
‘The help you requested’ she replied.
‘What do you carry under your cloak?’ asked the Princess, intrigued by the black mirror.
‘Your freedom’ replied The Wise Woman.
The Wise Woman told the Princess, as she handed her the object, that it was a scrying mirror, magic of course. It was made from black Obsidian, a crystal for prophesy and truth.
There was a warning on the back of the mirror stating:
‘Truth can hurt,
Untruth’s hurt even more’,
Proceed with Caution.’
‘OK, you read the warning, ‘What do you want to know?’ asked The Wise Woman
Holding the vision of the handsome Knight, not so resplendent in his tarnished amour, the Princess asked,
‘Pray, tell me what lies beneath the Knight’s amour, who is there when the real Knight stands up, is he really a Prince of Noble birth?’
Looking deeply into the mirror her gaze was met with an inscrutable black surface, slowly an image appeared in the depths of blackness. She did not see an image of a fine and valiant Knight, intent on righting wrongs and doing chivalrous deeds. She did not see a Knight worthy of the glorious deeds the Troubadours sang of in their love songs and on the strings of their mandolins. She was shocked to see a very horrid and naughty child. He was throwing the mother of all tantrums, his face contorted in rage because he could not have his own way. Sadly, the Princess recognized that this was indeed a true depiction of the Knight. She turned to
The Wise Woman and enquired,
‘Does the Knight not know of Love, Honor and Chivalry and all that stuff the Troubadours sing about?’
‘How could he?’ replied The Wise Woman
‘He is but a child, and he does not know that Love is unconditional. He seeks to receive not give love, from a place of childish egocentricity and willfulness. This child has not been taught well, he faces many lessons before he learns.’
‘Oh, how very sad, that grieves my heart.’
The Princess sighed, for she was indeed pure of heart. She did know about love being unconditional and compassionate. Her heart went out to the Knight who did not know these things.
‘And you, Princess? Are you ready to face yourself?’ enquired The Wise Woman
At first the Princess was afraid, the sorrowful face from the tear stained pool still fresh in her memory. It seemed an eternity since she had seen her true reflection. There were No mirrors in the castle; for the Knight had no desire to see His true reflection and equally had no desire for the Princess to see her true beauty. He knew then the light of her loveliness would illuminate the darkness in his heart.
Slowly she lifted the mirror, eyes tightly closed. And slowly she opened them, unsure what she would behold. The deep black obsidian once again stared inscrutably back. Once again an image formed within the heart of darkness of the magic mirror. An imaged that grew and grew in magnificent radiance. It was the most gorgeous, multi -faceted, pure cut diamond she had ever beheld; emitting glorious, iridescent, magical colors. The diamond glowed and pulsed with the intensity of the very Sun itself. In awe she asked
‘What does it mean?’
‘You see a true reflection of yourself, Dear One,’ answered The Wise Woman.
‘And the Knight?’ whispered the Princess.
‘You saw a true reflection of what he is, Dear One, he is no Prince and therefore not worthy of you,’ answered The Wise Woman.
‘What now, what do I do?’ implored the Princess.
Once again she lifted the magic mirror and gazed deeply into the void of all knowing blackness. She saw clearly the Knights castle, the draw bridge was pulled up and the hatches were battened down, for a fierce and mighty storm approached. Vicious vines were rapidly growing over the castle walls, reaching to the very turrets and parapets. And with all her heart the Princess knew, if she stayed she would be forever entrapped within the Castle walls.
‘Is this all there is for me?’ A solitary tear fell onto the mirror.
‘Look again, Dear One’. Replied the Wise Woman
When she did, she saw a path leading from the treacherous castle. A tiny little path, winding through thickets and thorns and all manner of unforeseen terrors.
The path gradually widened and once free of the castle grounds it opened into a glorious golden path leading towards the Sun. Along the path were strewn infinite possibilities and opportunities. Once again, the Princess’ intuition showed her that if she summoned all her courage and bravely traversed the path she would find her own Eden. The Princess vaguely remembered, from what seemed an eternity past, this path was the very one she had been on. That was before becoming lost in the forest and doubting her ability to travel alone, before seeking the ill-starred protection of the Knight.
‘What do I do?’ she cried to The Wise Woman, who had stood by and silently observed all these things.
The Wise Woman wrapped the Princess in her old, fragile and wizened arms. They felt strangely warm. They felt strong and the Princess was filled with a pulsating feeling of absolute acceptance, peace, tranquility and an overwhelming sense of unconditional, heartfelt love for The Wise Woman. A feeling that was all at once familiar, the Princess felt she had come home.
‘The choice is yours alone, Dear One. It is the way of this land you inhabit, this Earth plane, that you have been given as part of your lessons the double edged sword of Free will. You have free will to stay or go or free will to enslave yourself to another or choose to use the key that you alone hold to your freedom. You always have the gift of free will, use it wisely.’
As these words sunk in, the Princess broke free from The Wise Woman’s embrace, and through her tears which were now falling as rain upon the winter of her heart, she struggled to see the Wise Woman. As she wiped her face, she gasped, The Wise Woman was gone. In her place there stood a radiant Being of Light. An Angel, whose very presence filled the entire room and emitting a brilliance that was truly ethereal and heaven sent. In awe, the Princess realised she was looking into the face of her own Guardian Angel.
‘Know this, Dear One, now you have asked for my help I will support you whichever path you choose. I cannot choose for you, as you have free will. I can and will ease your path and illuminate the way. Know that I have Always been with you and there for you. I have laughed when you laughed and I have cried when you cried.’ The Angel smiled and then continued,
‘Dear One, nothing is lost, herein lays the opportunity for a lesson to be learned. Things on this Earth plane of illusion may not always be what they seem. Can you now see the day you were lost in the forest, you alone had the freewill to find your own way out, and you alone had the free will to choose to accept the Knight’s hand? You could not make the Knight what he is not? The Knight could not make you who you are not.’ The Angel paused to allow the Princess to assimilate her words, and then continued,
‘Dear Princess, a priceless lesson to learn is this: all you need to navigate this sea of life is to let the wisdom of your Soul captain the ship of the Self. The Diamond that you are refracts the Light of Cosmic consciousness you hold as your birth right.’ Her eyes looked deeply into the Princess’ as she continued;
‘Even the Knight holds this light, and when his inner child grows so he too will come to realize this Truth.’
‘Will the Knight change his ways, will he change for me?’ asked the Princess, holding onto a tiny vestige of hope, for she loved the Knight although she did not love the way he had chosen to treat her.
‘In order to love another, first the Knight must learn to love himself; completely free from his ego self, this may take some time,’ the Angel answered.
The Princess bowed her head. She realized that her Knight may never be able to change his ways and that if he did, it would be for himself and not for her or anyone else. She finally realized that to hold onto the hope another person would change to be the way someone else wanted them to be, well that was a flawed hope, doomed to failure. Her wise companion continued to counsel,
‘Remember and hold these Truths: Time is the great illusion, for in Eternity there is no time. You, the Prince and all mankind are in essence spiritual beings; you are in the density of matter whilst you grow through the experiences of being in human form. You are more than you can see. There is much more that you can be. Princess Rowena, the choice is yours alone. You may choose your path, you cannot choose for him the path that you would wish Prince Tarnish to travel, only he alone can decide.
The pure essence of Divine Love resides within you~All that is without is merely an illusion.’
And in That moment the Princess absolutely and unequivocally knew the path she would choose……
THE END…..Or was it just the beginning?
© Eily Nash 2012