Do you remember? I don’t know if you do and how could I! You’re gone. But don’t worry I can still remember. Despite the efforts of Time it was never forgotten. Our home, a lifetime ahead, so many dreams… There are things that should never leave us. And then, there’s you.

Death entered my life and, without regard, she ripped a piece of me. Like a phantom limb I can still feel you. Some days I wake up thinking it was just a dream, but reality is much cruel. Was it your intervention, Fate? It must have been. At least that is what I’ll keep telling myself. It was Fate. What else could have been? What other reason are for you to have been taken from me? Yes, it was surely Fate.

I moved to our old house at the foothills. Every day I come a little closer to fusing with the clean and cold air of the mountains where we found those rock carvings. Horned little demons dancing ecstatic on the walls in each other’s company, forever. How I envy them!

The higher we climbed the more magical, mysterious and complex the paintings became. On every turn, scattered paintings across the surface of the dark rock pictured the story of the men whose lives had merged with these abysses.

The ancient art was everywhere to be seen! Engraved and painted on steep walls, thousands and thousands of carvings covered everything in sight. In the midst of unexplored terrain, a treasure that could only be reached by an experienced mountaineer or, as you used to say, by a mountain goat. I smile a little at the expense of our old joke.

Displaying an unusual serious look on your face you told me: “They do not just tell the story of men, you know? These images are a reflection of life itself”. And we stayed and contemplated the paintings in silence. Looking back, that moment seems more precious to me than ever.

That night, when the sun sank beneath the gorge’s edge, we sought shelter in a natural cave. Wrapped in wool blankets we watched as the moon ascended to her rightful place in the night skies, bathing the cave with a transcendent white.

On that same cave, you took me by the hand and as my heart throbbed in my chest, I lost myself in the depths of your eyes. With our bodies involved in each other, we started dancing. The night winds burned my tender skin and the snowflakes spiralled around us. There was no cold, no sorrow; no heaven or earth; just us and the shape of our bodies dancing in the falling snow. On that moment, for the first time, I believed in an eternal sentiment.

Sometimes I still see you offering your hand. I hurry to grab it but that fleeting image escapes me, evaporates before my eyes. I cry and scream as a sharp pain erupts inside of me. I plead for the return of my hazy oasis. I plead to be yet again allow one moment of delusional happiness. At that point I can see us dancing in the distant, almost swallowed by the darkness of the cave. A rumbling sound is heard. Slowly, your smile takes form. A smile which shows memories, love and the intuition of one’s destiny.

I rush to your side but I’m stopped by your raised hand. I search for an explanation in your eyes yet on them I see only sorrow. As the fog thickens, I realise that our path, every hug and every kiss, the thirty-eight years you claimed your own, lead to this place and time. The moment your life abruptly ended, soundtracked by the sound of falling rocks.

A profound pain fills me. My soul shatters and I fall on my knees. Just like that you are gone… I urge to shout, but my voice is no longer heard. I want to pray, but I can no longer find a God who I can trust. Abandoned to my own volition I embrace the night that has come.

I look at the mirror. The mark of time is visibly printed on my skin. I see a vessel, but a vessel is just what it is, nothing more. I’m empty. Life sure left its stain on me! Now only dreams can show me a time when living had some meaning. I close my eyes… I see mountains and the cave. I feel the cold and clean wind in my face. And you’re there, smiling at me. You take me by the hand and we dance; we dance all night in the falling snow…

Our vows, our promises all left unkempt. Do you remember?

João Silva Pestana (11B)

May 2017