Something cracked or popped in her head, it wasn’t physical, like the realignment of joints or soft tissue cracking under pressure, it was an emotional pop; an explosion in her brain, a soft pop, like a bubble of chewing gum exploding, as the force of the trapped air escaped the flimsy gum membrane. The membrane was the thin line between Denise’s dreams and the reality, and the pop now occurring was those dreams being punctured as she read the words, and as she comprehended the reality. It is far more painful than joints cracking, these are emotions on a downward spiraling roller-coaster ride to oblivion, the ride will last for a lifetime, past happy memories, triggering future hopes – the fracture now ended future hopes, separating forever dreams from reality in the emotional psyche. Replaced in the future by a lifetime of sadness, and what might have been. Now the flimsy membrane had burst, the separator between delusional insanity and sane reality had vanished, where the realization and loss of deluded hopes and dreams had been vanquished – irreparable - never to return. Better the delusion. Where once in this deluded state of mind, joy and happiness existed, it was now being replaced by reality, reactive thoughts and emotions appeared like sticky black ink, bringing her mind to suicidal darkness and depression.
She was standing in front of the window, the diffused autumn morning light created a shadow on her downward looking face, which darkened rapidly as the light from the window dissolved into the darkness of the bedroom. Denise was using the light from the window to read the sheaves of paper in the letter – the letter from Susan, her lover.
Her head bent, her face half lit from the window, lace curtains indistinguishable from the misty grey of the dawn on the other side of the pane. The light of the dawn outside shone on her face, one could see a her elfin shaped face, boyish looks, enhanced by the French cut hairstyle, but her lips were tight, trembling, her eyes glared at the handwriting, her delicate long fingered hands trembled as she shuffled the pages of the letter, reading intently the lines of text, which were now burning into her mind, the pressure of her emotions boiling, and popping in her head. Those eyes, the corners of her eyes, her lips trembling, all creating spider web lines, only seen on the window side, the lighted side of her face. The transformation of her young boyish elfin face, changed into a grimace, those lips started to retract in a grotesque way, as her mouth open, her eyes widened, and the most primitive of howls came from origins in the mind and soul, no sane person would have knowledge of this croaking howl, the origin is known only in the private depths of the mind, it can never be put back into a proverbial box, it can never be stored into the archives of the mind. Waves of sorrow, and dark sadness overpowered young Denise, and consumed her entire physical being, as she dropped the sheaves of paper, and collapsed onto the floor.
Daisy the dog looked at the scene, only when Denise fell to the floor, did she whimper. Like any companion dog, but she was no ordinary dog, she was a Jack Russel terrier, from a long line of Jack Russell terriers; all the way back to the original; Prumt, and her owner the Reverend Jack Russell. Daisy felt the emotional pressure, for Daisy it was a scent, a smell attached to this human emotion, it smelt like danger, but no like fear danger, it smelt like a danger far worse, a pervading danger, that can cause damage inside a human being, a damage to their centre, that affects their outside personality, where there was once good energy, now the good energy was evaporating; being replaced by bad energy. Daisy couldn’t hear the explosions, the popping, but she could smell the odour, the smell of catastrophic change from good to bad in her mistress.
Daisy knew that this smell wasn’t like a newly born baby smell, no smell of freshness in physical fleshy terms, but inside, the soul, the newborn, acclimatizing. It wasn’t the smell of a dying person either, although sometimes the odour of fear of dying was the closest smell that now was emanating from the collapsed and distraught figure of Denise – it was the smell of despair.
The letter from Susan was now discarded on the floor, the parchment paper full of lines of handwritten words. How a form of communication, whether verbal or written can destroy perception, destroy dreams, and reverberate the mind, the well-being, the soul. The letter from Denise’s lover was to inform her that Susan and Denise’s brother Richard would announce their planned marriage and wedding in the coming days. For the heap of clothes and body that was Denise on the dark floor, on the barely new dawn of that day, outside the mist lifting by the moment, inside the room the lifting of perception of the news, the reality destroying future wishes and desires, shattering dreams of unfulfilled passions inside Denise’s mind. Only Daisy the dog sitting above the heap on the floor – which was Denise, her future in disarray, like the skirts and petticoats surrounding Denise’s sobbing shoulders. Only Daisy would be able to repair a small part of the damage, in a loyal silent companion sort of canine way.
She sat on the bank of the river, under the shade of the tree, where the bank had been ruptured over many years by the tree’s roots. It made a small, tiny bay in the step of the grassy bank, and an easy entrance to wade into the river. Naturally created and crafted, always an improvement over artificiality. She looked at the old, withered trunk of the tree, where Denise and Susan carved the message announcing their secret love. Denise remembers that first time with Susan, the picnic, the tension of anticipation of her mind. Would her feelings be reciprocated, or rejected? The wanting. The nervous anticipation. What would Susan look like without the covering of clothes? She looked at the buttons of Susan’s blouse, and saw the rising of her breasts, as she moved, these thoughts created movement in her own confided body, amongst her own clothes, and covering. She wanted to be free, she wanted to show Susan her body in the full bright sunlight. She jumped into the glimmering water, with complete unashamed abandonment.
She remembered, standing up suddenly, as though she was released from years of slavery to clothes, stretching, raising her hands and arms to capture the warmth of the sunshine, to close her eyes, and feel intensely this sudden feeling of recklessness, freedom, complete abandonment. She tore off her blouse, and dropped her skirt, and ran into the warm still waters of the river. Susan and Daisy, the dog looked on, only Daisy barked, shocked by the suddenness of Denise’s movements.
Susan followed, as always Susan did in those days. Completely mesmerized by Denise’s words, her outrageousness, her confidence, and knowledge for someone so young. She waded into the river waters, lifting the water with outstretched hands, her naked body slowly submerging into the depths of the cooling river water, only Daisy the dog remained barking on the riverbank.
Their first embrace in the waters was natural. Like the surroundings, all the surroundings encouraged the arms, the bodies to join and entwine, the heat, the smells, the sounds were reaching towards this crescendo, the day, the surroundings, water, sky, the heavens demanded it.
From that moment, a small crack appeared in the morals of Victorian society, a private moment for these young women, invisible from the gaze of all. It was a moment to treasure in their shared privacy, their idealism, a perfect loving moment for both Denise and Susan’s carnal knowledge. It was desire fulfilled with abandonment, morals tossed to the breeze, submerged in the cool waters of that unique sunny day. It was a moment to live in their lustful, young erotic memories for life. It was a joining of two young full feminine bodies, their surroundings desired it, and the heat and sounds became still and quiet after the crescendo, and simmered in a thankful manner, after the sacrifice in the river waters to the gods of Aphrodite, and the poet Sappho. All were consummated. The previous tensions of the surroundings, the previous tensions inside the two women; all subsided, into a quiet soothing melancholy, as the two lovers caressed in the still waters, only their heads bobbed above the waterline.
That day the gods enjoyed the sacrifice of shared sensual love between Denise and Susan. Denise in her carefree and radical thinking understood the attraction and control she had over Susan. Susan was whimsical, and capricious in nature. Over time their enraptures were like creeping vines, the vines entangled them both, engulfed both Susan and Denise into a vortex of uncontrolled passion and lustfulness, hunger that could never be satisfied, not on this earthly plain. But there would be no acceptance of their shared desires and lust, not in society, not in those days. Gradually, pervading social consciousness would erode and weaken those vines of love and desire between Denise and Susan.
The rumbling voices of Denise’s father and her brother Richard rose through the ceiling below. The voices grew louder, and laughter could be heard below. She listened, but not intently as she scribbled and scratched with the quill pen, feverishly writing on the paper, words, turning the paper always clockwise, and writing continuously in a circle. The words in the centre were in large letters, as the penned words cascading and twirled around the large letters, the words appeared like the petals to the centre, the large words in the centre, were centred like the bud of a flower. Denise’s writing continued in this frenzied, crazy manner. Her face was contorted against the flickering candle flame. Daisy the dog, as normal looked on with loyal, compassion, yet a concerned look on her canine face.
Only Daisy heard the soft tap on the door of the bedroom. Daisy yelped, not a bark, it was a questioning yelp, for the person knocking on the door, and for her mistress to acknowledge the knock on the door. Daisy had become a connector between the events, and she wanted both to know, at least she knew what needed to occur next.
Unconfidently, the bedroom door knob slowly moved, as Richard opened the door, and then his head popped alongside the door, peering to find out the whereabouts of his sister, Denise. He looked at the scene for a moment, Denise bent over her desk, with quill in hand, just an outline against the candle, her shadow flicking as the candle fluttered in the slight breeze from the closed windowpane.
“Sis?” He whispered.
Daisy the dog gave a short bark.
“Hi Daisy, good girl.” He said acknowledging the dog, only the dog’s glistening eyes were visible in the darkness of the room, the pupils reflecting the candle flame.
“Sis?” He said, no longer a whisper. “I have some news.” He continued. He was still at the doorway, only part of his body could be seen, the rest was behind the door. He then came into the room. He was timid in front of his older sister; they had never had a close relationship. Both his mother and father doted on Richard, but all were cautious with Denise. Denise with her boyish looks, and distance, private thoughts, her passion for poetry, and her unconventional views had not found compassionate or loving ears with her parents or her brother. She challenged her father’s traditional views, his presbyterian way of life, it conflicted with Denise’s modern feminism tirades, which also created very short conversations with her mother. Richard tried to be the peacemaker, but even though he thought his sister was different, not an easy woman, her views challenged his image of young women, young women he sought for good companionship, easy conversation. His timidity was caused by the constant verbal wrath of his sister, and the discomfort of her company, whether it was alone with Denise, or in the company of others.
He came right up to the desk, and the hunched body of Denise continued writing, ignoring Richard’s presence.
He found the courage to state the purpose of his visit to Denise’s bedroom. He spoke. “I have asked Susan for her hand in marriage, and she has accepted.” He felt revealed to express his message to Denise, the enunciation causing the air to deflate from his chest, relieving his tension, and his pose relaxed, as he finished his words. The sentence lingered in the room. He then stood there waiting for an answer. None was given, Denise didn’t give any reaction, as she continued her scribbling on the paper.
Richard looked down over her shoulder and read the words on the paper. The large letters in the centre of the paper could easily be read even in dull candlelight. It was the same words carved on the withered tree trunk by the river. It read.
Susan loves Denise