Sheila is and always was a schizophrenic. This misery has haunted her since the dolls in school shifted their eyes to her – whispering… she still hears them. Shrieking glasses in the cabinet… no they were only fracturing, shattering when she slammed her own head through the cabinet door. Oddities plagued her mind more so than the fresh taste of reality. “Sorry” she’d say to herself aloud for believing nonsensical delusions, for even believing flowers come into blossom because they have eyes, parting their petals to see the sun. She still swears those dolls looked at her.
There she was. A late October day enclosed her body with a shroud of cold. The beautiful foliage of dead leaves embracing their brilliant, white Autumn star. Sheila wandered into an old gothic cemetery which cradled her friend Savannah’s deathly reticence, for her headstone was the youngest in the aging burial ground. Not a mourner left to visit, she took a briskly walk around every shrubby hill and bend on the vanishing dirt paths. Pikes of crab grass and tall weeds blanketed the graves, the headstones were as well draped in green moss and thick branching vines. There’s beauty, no depression here.
Sheila would memorize the names upon the headstones and their dates of departure. ‘Their day of deliverance,’ as she thought often of her own coming sunset. Still, there’s enough ‘burning sun’ she held. These walks in the cemetery bring respiting moments of purgatories within. Distant voices from beneath the earth still call for her to come back. There was only one headstone Sheila came to visit however.
Savannah’s headstone is nearly uprooted from the swelling roots of a great maple she was buried beside. “That tree was a child, and you were a child when you came to rest here Savannah” Sheila whispered to her headstone. Savannah’s tilted, moss-ridden headstone was sacred. These were the times she cherished with her only friend. Sheila would prop herself against the maple’s trunk beside Savannah with her poetry journal.
Whispers constant, Sheila often daydreamed rather than compose her ‘legacy in pen.’ She typically wrote enough a day to fill a page, no more. Everyday a whisper, everyday a poem spoken to her. Grasping her journal, head leaning on the trunk, eyes shut, pen in hand… always listening. This day yet a whisper. The page vacant of words, only a white-hot glare from the paper in the glaring midday sun, her eyes shut… listening.
“I come when you’re cold” a voice whispered.
Sheila’s eyes shot open as if to the hell of gunfire. She looked about the stone clustered cemetery.
“It can’t be” Sheila stammered.
Her mind spoke in doubts; her heart hammered her chest as she came to. Her eyes came to rest on her friend’s headstone till they glazed over. She laid her head back, her eyelids snipped out the daylight.
She felt the warmth of the descending sun fade from her face. The illumination of her eyes dimmed in her long-awaited sunset as it bled to death into the blue twilight of her life. She’s come to rest beside her only friend. She thought not to leave anytime soon, she felt her friend watching over her. “One hug” she whispered, “just wished I coulda’ given’ ya one last hug.” Without parting her teary curtains, she crawled over to Savannah, wrapped her arms around her, and kissed the mossy stone.
The stone chilled her cheek.
“Come back” Sheila whispered. A tear trickled and disappeared into the moss…
Her eyes drained of their last tears as their wells have iced over.
“Sheila” a soft voice crept into her ear.
A damp eyelid hoisted, the frosty night gave a fresh chill to her teary eyes. The needles of crab grass dagger into her bare feet. The whites of her rainy eyes illumed in the pitch-night’s white moon.
Her eyelids unlocked from their death, something opaque had filmed over her eyes it seemed, for whatever it was, it couldn’t be what her eyes were showing her. Then a ice-cold hand rested on her cheek.
“Thank you” the soft voice whispered.
Sheila detached her cheek from the moss and looked up into two brilliant, wide eye-moons. Moss dangling from her tear-sore cheek, her eyes finally found her whisperer.
“Here…” a hand combed the moss out from Sheila’s hair.
“I missed you” Sheila’s voice choked. Savannah smiled.
“I’ve been hugging you all along.” Savannah drifted her fingers over Sheila’s mossy cheek. Sheila couldn’t speak. She couldn’t find the words save three that define the most powerful emotion.
“Hush” Savannah rested a finger upon Sheila’s lips, “I know.”