July

My hands gripped the steering wheel. The sky was a deep cobalt. The time flickered on the dashboard clock. Not a soul was in sight, indeed, since Covington I had not passed another town. There would be enough time for roads, pitch black, surrounded on either side with large buildings when I was back in London. I passed a sign, its archaic inscription suggested I was entering Norfolk county. I laughed, my free hand clutching my stomach. "Thank the Goddess I didn't end up in Wales!" I snorted, laughing uncontrollably. My life was free, and I knew why. The cabin's drive was clear, He sat on the rocking chair outside waiting, and we had another month.

I was, I am, fairly important in London. I make no claims for pride, I merely was, there would be no point denying it. Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, I found more solace in the mind of a long dead playwrite than in my own. Of course, there are other directors. "Julia", they would tell me, "your adaptation of Macbeth and Hamlet are too controversial. Please, don't set them in the 23rd Century. Julie, are you listening, Julie my girl?". Of course, I wasn't. I excused myself and left. Who cares if Hamlet picks up Yorrick's skull or data-bank, that Shylock was a Jew and not a Space Crocodile? Silly, I know, but it was a fresh take on plays, events, which the audience had seen time and time again. Sometimes the world calls for change, and in the name of tradition, change is ignored. But here, where the city pace is changed for the peace of nature, I can sit at the top of this tree with Him. I can see all THEM below, shouting for me to appease them. I hold Him tighter against me, and whisper down "No".

We have known each other for longer than I can remember. My parents, before their accident, used to bring me here every July. Norfolk is far more peaceful then London, on an infinitesmal magnitude. However one must pay for one's pleasures. My payment was having to stand that horrible accent that pervaded the countryside. Thank the Goddess He wasn't afflicted with an accent. After my parents' accident, I inherited the "summerhouse". I was only 19, had lost interest in Religion, politics, and for a while, sanity, but I always came here, every July. And He always waited on the rocking chair out front. My earliest memory is of him, giving a four year old me a rose he had plucked from a hedge. He was the same age, and I suspect now that an adult had set up the scenario, but now every July, on the summer house's kitchen table was a single rose in water. White. A white rose in water takes only a month before it whithers and dies. Our courtships too only last for July; I have the RSC to get back to, He has some commitments elsewhere presumably. I never ask what he does for a living, nor have I answered his questions. Knowing that there was a world outside of our July meetings, let alone He or I having a life outside the other would devastate both of us. "Who are you and where were you before now?" He would ask futilely. "We said no questions" I reply, always.

We would walk down the garden path every night of the first day of July. I would have planted primroses for irony's sake, but I am not gardening material of a girl, and He could himself though I doubt He would find it amusing. We would walk, we would talk. Not of ourselves, but of life and the beauty of July. Once it even snowed a little during our courtship. I would have called it Puck's doing, but I neither wanted him to have a hint of my identity nor did I want to embarrass myself with obscure references. Our days would be spent sharing our minds, at night we shared our bodies, but never our pasts. He has the sweetest smile, I'd hate to have ruined it of talk of physciatric evaluations, of the many prescriptions I hide in my handbag. He, presumably, has a past too, at times I get hints of a love long ago. She died, or at least as I can only assume she did. He avoids walking near graveyards. I don't disagree with him at those times.

Around the midpoint, we begin to enjoy each other's company in ways deeper than physical passion. I would read Dante on these occasions. I envied Dante, for he would pass through Hell on his way to Heaven. Fate reverses my "fortune". My cabin is not spartan, of course. Since I was 25, I ensured there would be a broadband connection. Now, 5 years later, we would use it to bring ourselves together. Aside from the casual "candle lit, fireside movies", we play, and use games. We create characters, roleplay as lovers, use their backstories to share what we cannot, and be closer than we can be in Real Life. Our nicknames have always been the same: He is the Wanderer, I am the Fallen Angel. Occassionally when He annoys in the slightest, I murder his character, sometimes horribly. Usually on those nights, I let him get his "revenge" inside our small cabin.

The days pass, the summer wine dwindles. In the nearby village, there is a festival for the Summer Solstice; a bonfire. As the locals celebrate their destruction of unpopular icons, once Margaret Tatcher, this time being David Cameron, we would clutch each other. My hand would be crushed if he always held it the way he did those nights. With the celebration of the high-end of summer; the nights, and our fears, would grow. Standing atop that hill, we stare into the fire as if it were the flame that set our cabin ablaze. "Into an Inferno", I called that feeling, a very apt name. And so, like Dante, "At a time during the midpoint of our lives, I found myself in a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost to me".

I always envied Dante: a single descent into Hell netted him three bestsellers and eternal bliss. Again, I would tell Him this, but He wouldn't find the irony amusing.

Soon, there is no more time. The purity of the White Rose dwindles. The first petals drop.

In time, I will drive back to London, to my apartment on Maybury Hill. The Company devoted to the words of a long-dead half-prophet needs me. It is inevitable, but it must wait.

We sit underneath the willow tree atop the hill. Starin into the sunset, he holds me in his arms as I sit on his lap. We sit in silence, eating our blue Sea-Salt Icecream, he eyes my Mini in the drive. "Do you have to go?" he inquires. "Yes" is the only reply I can muster, my eyes filing with tears."Who are you? Will I be able to see you aside from July days and digital text?", he stares into my soul."We said no questions". Tears fall form my eyes. "Next year?", he sighs. I turn my face and kiss him. "Next year".

The sun sinks lower into Oblivion.

The End

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