darkening

her eyes were pleading as she swore she’d met me before. her words were low. calm tones, but it was her eyes that were slowly draining of hope. i brushed her arm off, as gently as possible. her eyes, i would have remembered, i thought; outloud, i only softly spoke that i didn’t know her.

still her eyes haunt me.

i began to walk away, withdrawing as delicately as her hand had first been on my arm. a desperate pause, a twinge of indecision before she followed me. anxious, like a bird on my heels that knew it should instinctively run, she followed. her murmuring voice didn’t wheedle or annoy. it was filled only with quiet, end-of-the-line desperation. i spun to face her again, a touch more edgy than i intended. she coiled back, a maneuver that i could tell was perfected with use.

gentle again, i placed my hands on her shoulders. it was almost imperceivable, but the same instinctive flinch displayed as i’d turned flitted through her countenance again. it tugged deeply at me, as if i should know its source. resting lightly on her frail frame, my hands placed her stillness, only her eyes moving.

their green was many faceted. the outer rim was dark, a thin circling, and inward flashed emotions she’d try desperately to hide. that outside shell was a wall for the flowing colors displayed as her iris led to the inky blackness of her pupils. as if protecting the inner hues, the dark green edges seemed to expand as i search her eyes, myself now desperate to hear the full notes of the chords of remembrance her eyes echoed within me.

with a sharp intake of air, she realized where she was. her shoulders squared under my hands, their strength as steel, where before i thought i might have to catch her as she fell. the change in her caused me to reflexively lift my hands. again, she flinched, but this time she controlled it as she squared her chin.

the darkening of her eyes completed. her shoulders now rigid under my hands, her voice filled with that same steel, sad finality.

“you do not know me, do you.”

it would take me several years to access my memories and place those eyes. before they had their hard, dark ring around them. i realized she’d given me my last chance. her will had resolved for the final time as she uttered the last seven words she spoke to me.

i saw her, a few years after i realized what i’d lost. she was alone, and still beautiful; more-so for the smile i was unaccustomed to seeing in my memories. i stopped my instant desire to run to her, or rather, that smile stopped me, because she’d never worn it around me. that gave me pause. that, and her eyes.

they way they’d darkened haunts me still.

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