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When Kathryn Says Good-Bye

a short story by John Kremer

When Kathryn says good-bye for the first time, she is only teasing. That is Kathryn's way of saying please stay awhile. Tarry by the pool. Enjoy the quiet lapping of the water against the edges of the pool. Enjoy the almost still reflection of the full moon slowly waltzing upon the waters. Enjoy the first soft insistent pulls of the waves as they rock you back and forth, back and forth, swaying slowly, gently, sleepily. But do not fall asleep. And do not touch your lips to that cool clear water. And do not, do not I repeat, look deeply into that pool. Never at night. Never on a full moon. Never while Kathryn is still sitting by the pool, dipping her lovely black hair into the water, swaying back and forth, back and forth, creating waves, and singing an ancient hymn to the rhythm of those waves. Do not. Please listen to me. Do not.


When Kathryn says good-bye for the second time, she is only testing you. Good-bye, she says. And, then, will you stay awhile? She wants you. Yes, she wants you to sit by her pool. And then to enter it. And then to slowly, so slowly come under her spell. It will seem so natural to do so. And so inviting. And so, so impossible to resist. Your heart will long to spill its blood in that pool. Your brain will long to wash its old, old memories in that pool. And your body oh, it will want to cool, cool, cool its heat in that pool. But watch your soul. Hold on to it for dear life. And do not let it go on alone. If it must go, go with it even into that pool. Even if Kathryn is sitting there by the edge of the pool. Even if she has already begun to smile. Even if the beat of her soft song begins to tear at the roots of your soul. Especially then. Bend a little. It may already be too late. But do not ever look into her eyes, into those pits of dark fire that can burn so deeply into a man's soul that nothing is left but a flimsy corpse, a bit of dust and ashes held together only by old habits and a prayer. If. If it can still utter a prayer.


When Kathryn says good-bye for the third time, she is only tempting you. She sings her ancient song, slowly and apparently artlessly, sucking you in little by little, until you are hanging on her every note. Then she quits her song for just a moment, just long enough for your soul to snap back into place back into your heart. Breaking it. And then she laughs, a wild laugh and yet so heart-wrenchingly pure and lovely. And then her first hot tear hits her cheek and then drops to your waiting hand. Believe me, your hand will be there to catch that first hot tear. Believe me, your whole body will burn with that first contact. Believe me, it will burn. You will be there by her side, and you will catch that first hot tear, and you will burn with desire for her. You will even touch her. And you will only then discover that she is cold and hard and impossible to caress, but by then it will be too late. You will draw her towards you even then, and her body will ever so quickly suck every last bit of heat from your own. And you will try to give even more, and she will try to take even more. But what is there left to give? Believe me, once again believe me, you have only begun to give. You can still escape with your heart, and your soul, and your sanity. But you must not look into her eyes. Never into her eyes. No matter how many hot tears continue to burn your now cold flesh. No matter how many passionate kisses eat at your frantically palpitating heart. No matter how many soft wild sighs tear at your withering soul. It's all an illusion, a game that she plays while she sits by the pool. It's something to do, something to pass the time. That's all. Nothing more. Just something to do.


When Kathryn says good-bye for the fourth time, she is only taunting you. By then she knows she has you and can play with you as she will. And she will. She will have no mercy whatsoever. She is after your soul. She will sit there by the pool, looking oh so pretty and sweet and innocent her dark flowing hair caressing her tenderly with every move, her thin white dress easily suggesting every line of her smooth and supple body, her dark liquid eyes reflecting the quiet agitation of the pool by which she sits. But, wait, do not look into those eyes. And do not look deeply into that pool. Whatever else you do and there is much that you will not be able to resist doing whatever else, do not look into those eyes. Bend to her will. Melt your body into hers. Drink deep of her pool. Even sell your soul if you must. But do not, do not look into those eyes. What more can I say? This is your last chance. Listen. Please listen.


When Kathryn says good-bye for the fifth time, she is only tearing you apart. Bit by bit. Piece by piece. One nerve at a time. Slowly, ever so slowly, so that each possible measure of joy can be drawn from your every painful cry. She will have no mercy. She will call to you even as she tears you apart. And you will answer her, each answer costing you another ounce of your life. Then, when she is through with you, she will take your head in her hands and caress it ever so dearly. Then slowly, but surely, she will draw your eyes towards hers. You will try to turn your head, but her hold will be too strong. You will try to close your eyes, but they will not obey your command drawn as they will be to the dark swirling pools deep within her eyes. As a last resort, you will try to pluck out your own eyes, but by then it will be too late. She will already have them plucked already, and strung around her neck with all the others, a thousand brilliant eyes now dull and dry and eternally staring into oblivion. A small memento, nothing much, certainly not important. And now, really, she must be going.


When Kathryn says good-bye for the last time, she will allow you but a minute more before she goes, a minute in which to say so much, to plead, to beg, to cry out into the vast hollow of her heart. No matter that you have so much more you need to tell her of life, of love, of hope. And of being human. Of being loved. Of being touched. Of being cared for. And of being . . .

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Copyright 2018 by John Kremer
Open Horizons, P O Box 2887, Taos NM 87571