[Image from Favim.com]
[Inspired by Greylag’s “Yours to Shake”:]
They were healing day by day
in their own way, the way
others had always said meant
they’d never work; never should have tried
to be together.
She with her bright future, he
with his darker path of poor decisions.
the views of strangers.
Folding the sheets, placing them with care
in his mother’s cupboard, she felt
calm – for the first time in ages.
A smile, an infrequent habit of late,
curved her lips into a fleeting memory,
a passing hint at a carefree beauty, of the visage
he had fallen in love with. For they were:
in love. Still,
despite life’s recent misfortunes
But now, now they were rediscovering
their old rhythm. Faint yet, but definitely there;
a sway that leant her feet forward motion.
She let the smile linger, gingerly
placed a palm protectively on her stomach.
Kicks were still far off, but new life grew –
along with hope –
beneath fingertips which once had been reserved
for the gentle caress of his skin alone;
beautiful, tattooed skin adorned by that Angel.
She hadn’t told him, was waiting for sign
that he was truly himself again: the self
she had worked so hard to make whole
ever since the beginning.
They had lost everything: their own place,
the trust in others and with one another.
But that everything could be rebuilt.
She had to believe this to even take
a first waking breath each morning.
Allowing an accompanying hum to escape
her lips, to buoy
the repairing rhythm of the day,
she went to place the clothes in the bedroom.
The sound of his efforts in the garden –
so lush now, his own green baby –
followed her as she made towards
the back of his mother’s house. Opening
the door, she heard his shovel fall, turned
her head towards the sound; didn’t see the arm
whip out to smother her mouth, keep her
This couldn’t be happening.
Think. React. Fight back and protect
what could not suffer what she had suffered.
She vaguely heard a male squeal
as she stomped on a booted foot.
But that was it. Her efforts were exhausted
already, panic taking greater hold of her
as she felt the tip of a knife press against
Thoughts whirled away from her,
imaginings of the future they’d never all have,
possibilities at happiness that kept being stolen
because of a singular history.
that history was there.
The man with the demons sought vengeance.
She was released.
An unconscious figure slumped to the floor behind her.
She joined it in relief, briefly,
before hands – so gentle, so not
the hands that had wanted to do her harm but a moment ago;
before hands lifted her into arms so well known.
Together, they sobbed.
Together, they were now free.
Together, all three of them, could be a family.
[Copyright © N R Nolan 2015]