Father Time seldom shows his paternal, loving side, choosing instead to bestow upon us gifts of old age, death and decay. That I have been spared, for the most part, the ignominy of such distasteful decrepitude says more about my home than His capacity for mercy.
I have spent decades hanging beside my partner, a finely tailored, charcoal gray suit who looks as dashing as he did on the day we wed. My ivory skin still shimmers when the light from daybreak penetrates the curtain cracks and falls upon me, giving life to the tiny pearls and sequins that tattoo my flesh. That sight itself is enough to bring Her back, to run fingers across the fabric, painting the faintest hint of a smile at the corners of Her wrinkled lips. Perhaps, like us, She drifts back and, just for a moment, lives in the memory of our one day out in the world, a memory of scented petals and colored blooms, of children in rumpled party dresses laughing and playing, and of a first dance that has gone on unbroken for 45 years. That is my home, the place where I have lived happily all those years, but this day has brought change.
She came today and removed my partner, tears glistening on her cheeks, not the happy kind that sometimes come when She visits, but brought on by a pain that I can feel too, a sense of loss and hopelessness that nothing will easily cure.
In the other room I see more people, all of them in a seeming state of despair judging by the sobs and hugs and the sounds of softly whispered prayers. And as they depart, I see my handsome charcoal boy peeking out from inside a heavy wooden box, a few stray threads hanging from his cuff, lifeless as the body he covers. I shiver as my skin starts to flake in a sequined waterfall, and as my brilliant pearls turn to the color of spoiled milk, I realize I am nothing without Him, a half that can’t live without the whole.
She comes once more and I feel steel resolve run through Her brittle bones. There is music playing in the background, the hisses and pops that pass through the needle unable to disguise the song that started the beautiful dance. With gossamer skinned hands She removes me from my home and slips me on, a second skin that fits as perfectly as Cinderella’s slipper. Together we slowly spin, keeping pace with the musical beat as the air around us seems to crackle with an electrical surge.
I feel myself emerge from the torpor of open-eyed slumber and my fabric sighs as we lift off the floor, the flowered wallpaper coming to life in a burst of radiant color, the dancing flora seeming to join us in our ascent. She raises Her hands as we hover above the weathered rug and, for the merest of moments, we rejoice in the glory of forever, of promises kept and dreams come true, and then we drop, and I find that I am destined to hang forevermore.