His first thoughts were so unsure, arms, legs, chest, he seemed to run together as nothing and still so much more. He looked down and saw the burning embers below hi, a medium size fire was smoldering below him, and he was unsure. Willing himself to move he found he could twist and writhe in the air and was not bound by normal earthly bonds. He raised his hand, and in its place was a wisp of smoke in the shape of an arm, he lifted his other arm and another spectral arm appears with after shadows of smoke trailing giving definition to the places he had been. His legs too had form but trailed down to the embers below. Like a champion swimmer he twisted and twirled in the air and his form dissipated and changed as though a writhing small tornado, gone was his form, but he was still there. He stopped and watched as arms and form appeared once more.

He kicked up as a swimmer would and moved higher and higher into the sky, and as he rose, his form wafted in the wind and spread as smoke does in the sky. Looking down he saw the world from a new and exciting perspective, and was lost in the feelings that raked his very soul. The breeze blew through him and he felt the winds strength pulse within. The sky above beckoned him forward while the trees, and grass below beckoned him back. He dived down and slipped through the air with ease, loving his newfound freedom, and enjoying the sensations which pulsed within.

As he closed upon the fire it popped, and a smoky form rose into the air as a newly birthed child. Like him, the form moved and flowed with the fire as it too learned the edge of its bearings. He drifted closer, thinking only of the move and letting his spectral form move for him.

As he drifted close, the form turned, and there she was, the woman from the fire in his earlier dream. Floating embers rose to her translucent hair and lit the smoke with glowing red, then died out and fell. She was truly alive in this form. He tried to speak and found he could not, as she too tried and he saw her mouth move, but no sound would come. After all they were but smoke floating in the air. He smiled, and she smiled back and he was again, at peace. He reached to touch her and suddenly his world opened. Her hand became one with his and where moments ago he felt the wind, now he felt her. Warmth spread over him as he understood and knew what she felt, but no sound or thought was exchanged. She moved her hand and ghostly nerves sent tingles through his mind and heart. Where they touch was as the tingles from the star spangled banner, or the greatest love story as they crescendo hit. He smiled and kicked up into the air and his arm came away leaving him only with the wind for a moment. He looked down and realized she did not yet know how to move, so he concentrated again, and lowered to her.

She looked at him with waifish eyes and he motioned as though swimming, and pushed down again, and rose towards the heavens but this time she rose with him. He saw her laughing playfully in the wind, but no sound was there. He twirled in his newfound body, and she twirled as well. They stopped, looking at each other with laughter in their minds. He cartwheeled in the wind as she looked on, then followed as they fluttered lithely though the air as little pinwheels in the wind.

He stopped, laughing, with not a care in the world and she stopped near him a moment later. He gazed at her in awe, and reached out, touching her hand again, and felt the warmth spread over them both. As he felt her hand, so he felt her feeling his hand, and knew she felt the same. He moved closer, and even in this smoky form he saw her face, the beautiful curves and subtle shades, her eyes gleamed with the stars behind lighting them. He moved even closer, their bodies touching, and felt the trueness between them as he felt himself as well. The warmth spread over him as they let the wind guide them together, closer still. He felt her heart beating with a life of its own, pumping rapidly even as it too was but a mist.

The wind twisted them both as sensations played across their minds and unseen nerves were lit with primal fire until all that they were became one, and for an instant he knew her, truly and utterly as she knew him and the words came in his mind…

The Portrait


The colors flowed from his brush so easily. He remembered the moment as if it were yesterday, or only a moment ago. He dabbed for a bit of cream and orange and his brush deftly slid across the canvas. Where there had been nothing, there was now color. He built texture as he thought of the moment. Their old home, built with care, but not so perfect as homes he had seen, not so perfect as her.

She had smiled that day, it was the start of a new life with her and his hands remembered as easily as his mind. He squeezed more paint from the colorful tubes onto his pallet, and mixed those colors into the image in his memories, an image of beauty and passion, and a love most couldn’t even imagine.

They were so young then, it was so long ago, but still the image was clean, and pure, and so vivid. He mixed skin tones from several colors and her body seemed to come to life, while strokes of black and grey gave her dimension. The crispness of her shoulder, the lithe beauty of her neck, and the small of her back, so perfect, so lovely.

He remembered how they started their life together that night. She had told him she would love him forever, and he too was bound to her for all time. The image was burned in both of them as their passion truly knew no bounds, not that night, nor any night to follow ‘til now.

He took a fine brush from the table next to him and began recreating a face that he could never forget. Each line, every curve taking on a life of its own as he remembered the curve of her nose, the subtle lines of her lips. There was no stopping, no pause as every detail so locked in his mind that there could be nothing but perfection, nothing but his memory creating that perfection.

It had not been moments, but hours as he recreated every detail and felt his hands guided, each hair was placed with the highlights of the sun, just as he remembered, just before he held her, just before they made their love forever. The wrap surrounding her, with its plethora of colors, still burned in his mind, still driving him until it was closer and closer, then finished. He did not forget, the red hair tie, that a moment later came from her hair as she turned and looked at him. He remembered how she had looked at him with her hair down and simply said, “I love you,” and how he had stammered, so sweetly and said he loved her as well.

He looked at the picture, his perfect picture. He had never painted before today. He gazed down at his knurled hands, worn from the years and not the hands that had touched her that night. He felt the callouses, and slowly wiped the paint from his hands as he stared at the picture, hoping, even praying it would come to life. The picture seemed pulse with each passing moment, but it did not come alive except in the corner of his vision, the depths of his never to be lost memories. He stood slowly and carefully cleaned up the paints he had bought today. He had not known what he needed, but was driven to buy them, the brushes, the canvas and the easel. The picture now sat on that easel. It had a life of its own, not just in his memories but in every moment since then, that moment, seventy years ago where he had felt the most powerful feeling of his life, and only watched it grow. He carefully moved the easel to the head of the casket and gazed down at his once beautiful, still beautiful wife. He was lost in the decades, the years, the hours, and even the moments and as he remembered all they had been together he fell to his knees and cried.