Short Story: Final Dance

His golden gaze steadily rested upon her aged silver hair that hung loosely about the chair which faced the open window. He knew she stared blankly out into the court yard below. How long had it been since he had last made contact with her? Years to her own physical form but to him it had only been days, or felt as so. He wished to approach her as he had so long ago in a small empty bar miles from here; a night which haunted his own existence. He had often checked in on her without her knowledge, but never dare make another appearance within her sight. He never thought he would have a need to be nervous about something, but yet he was anxious about facing the woman he knew so long ago for a short time.

With silent steps he closed the distance between them from where he had stood in the old mahogany door way and soon found himself directly behind her. With a slow gesture his hand soon placed upon her limp shoulder, which sagged in a tired manner. Willing his unused vocal cords to release the sounds needed for a conversation he finally spoke to her. “Cathriona?” He near held his breath hoping for a response from the elderly woman before him. After a few moments though she looked up to him and he instantly recognized the green eyes which matched the most clearest of seas. He traced the features of her face without touching her and could near count the wrinkles, which lined her once flawless skin. He then watched the corners of her mouth tug up as a light smile came to grace her aged looks that one could almost phantom existed upon this elderly woman.

“You kept your promise…” He still heard the gentle smoothness of her voice as she answered him in return. He exhaled slowly as his eye brow rose to her in a puzzled gesture, as if he couldn’t comprehend her doubting his word. “I said I would.” He found himself staring outside as she had been doing before he disturbed her line of thought. “I was starting to wonder…if I would ever see the ‘man’ I fell in love with so long ago again.” He gave a heavy sigh and broke all contact with her as his hands moved round to his back and clasped there together. “You never married when you should have. You could have been happier then what you lead your life to be.” He swore he heard a light giggle escape her rigid form but wasn’t sure. “How could I marry someone I did not love? How could I marry to a man, that when I looked at him I did not see his face, but a face which belonged to a man who really did not exist and to which I never learned his name?” He looked to her once more as his head shook lightly in resignation about the subject. He had no answer for her, he never would. One dance they had shared, one kiss and it turned both their worlds upside down and it was never mended.
“I have come back to you for more than just a casual visit; I think you know that.” He watched her nod soberly as her gaze moved was once more to being outside. “I thought as much, one does not appear again after fifty years just to ask how are you doing? So what are you doing here, looking exactly as you did, half a century ago?” He reached down with a swift hand and snatched her own with quick fingers. “I’ve come for a final dance.” He tugged her form up and gently against his own as he easily balanced her figure. “Pardon me sir, but I do not think you realize I am no longer that girl you met so long ago.” He shook his head lightly at her smug remark before speaking. “My perception hasn’t faltered, although if I stare at you much longer it might start doing so for your looks are so harsh on my sensitive eye sight.” He teased cruelly before he heard her give a gruff ‘humph’ as he could not help the light chuckle which crossed his lips before quickly putting her at arm’s length and sent her into a rapid spiraling spin which forced her eyes to close in dizziness.

With sudden ease he watched as the sparse room that had been tinted white faded away before him and became dimly lit by candles which burned lowly within the now glazed wooden room. His arm quickly snaked about her waist and pulled her form back to his own. He watched as her eyes fluttered open once more in an unfocused manner before they brightened with anger and she spoke. “Are you out of your mind? I am no spring chicken you fool, are you trying to finish off an old lady?” He watched amusingly as her words seethed out between her teeth and her gaze then quickly shifted to her hands which rested on his clothed upper torso. He once again got the pleasure of seeing how quickly this woman could switch emotions; going from anger to surprise in a moment always perplexed him on how she did it. “What did you…?” He chuckled once more at his stuttering companion and brought her hand up to his lips and laid a light kiss to the renewed unwrinkled flesh which now lost the fifty years which had been gained.

“Dance with me Cathriona?” He examined her as her brow scrunched together in wonder and a bewildered expression, but yet followed his lead as an unseen source of music began to echo within the tightly confined room. He guided their bodies easily to the rhythm and they began to move as one before she soon realized it had been the same tune which had played the night they had met. Time to him seemed to slow but then again, it could be slowing if that is what he desired from it; but he knew he could not prolong it forever. He took her about the room in a similar pattern that he had remembered from that night. The music though soon faded out as their song ended and the room once more turned into her familiar surroundings. He met her gaze as she had once again aged before his eyes as he heard her ask something unexpected. “Am I still beautiful to you stranger?” He tugged her close into an embrace he could never see himself giving to another. “For eternity you \will always be.” He felt her weight rest against him and her eyes closed for the last time, but he could not help to lean close to her ear and ask softly. “Did you enjoy your final dance?” He heard a muffled ‘yes…’ in reply, but her form then grew still and she was gone from him. He closed his eyes and cradled her a long moment before he wielded his own departure knowing it was time for their final meeting to end; for his promise was kept to her that he would meet her again. It was not his fault that it would be he to bring her death with him, for he was death itself.

Published by N.K. Sterling

A sibling and daughter to some, a friend to others. As an artist , writer, and dreamer N.K Sterling spends days crafting new creations be it in painting or jewelry making or dabbling in many creative avenues in life from music to sewing has only made Sterling more inspired to keep trying new things. Enjoying a good book by the fire, or an adventurous outing with furry friends is always a go to for this expressive soul. Writing has been a passion since the age of twelve and the associate's degree in liberal arts has only help expand this creative mind for future endeavors while currently living in the southern USA.

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