Because, sometimes, an idea comes into my head, and it needs to go onto 'paper' before it slips away. So here is another of these 500 word flash fictions for you...
She looks at me, and it is for a little longer than she should, her eyes narrow. She has the same pale complexion as her famous cousin, the same red hair. But the hair is a little redder, less curled, less often styled, the face a little younger, less handsome, more pretty. Without the scars that mark the other's face, and younger by three or four years, she still has some of that radiance of youth that has been absent in her cousin since her brother died.
“Do you still think of her?” she asks. She knows the answer, but for a moment I consider dissembling. “Edward,” she says, “I asked you-“
“I know, Jane. I heard."
“Well," she says, "do you…?”
“It would be impossible not to.”
“I do not mean that. I mean to ask if you think of her with affection.”
“I loved her once. That is true. As I love you now.” But it is not the truth. Because although I spoke truly to say I did love her once, I still do now. I am not sure I will ever be free of her entirely. I search for something that I can say wholly truthfully but that will also be kind. I am a poor liar, despite what my friends seem to think. “My life, my future... It is here with you. Not with her.” But I do not say that there was once a time when I hoped and I despaired to think of my life, my future with her. The other.
“Edward...” When she speaks my name, I can hear in it all the love that caused her to break her vows, to leave the place that she had bound herself to, to deny God and come instead to me. She pauses, and her mouth purses, before she says, “I don't resent her. She made you the person you are now. The person I love.”
I take her hand. “Jane,” I say, “now is the only thing that matters.” And I have finally found it. The truth that is both comforting and honest. I do not add to it to say that there are times I still dream of her, and wake wondering what I shall say when next we meet. But that meeting doesn't happen. That is my choice, even though it is in her power to summon me at any moment. There are times in the half-sleep of the evening or the morning when my mind swaps the one lying next to me, the one I have chosen to spend my life with, for the one with whom I did not. Now is truly the only thing that matters, but that does not make me regret what I once felt for her. The other. I am not lying to her when I say, quietly, “I love you, Jane,” but it is not the whole truth. The whole truth would undo us all.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought