Death by Proxy
by Joe DiMino who retains all rights.
In some primitive religions as with some modern intoxications as well, there is belief, that if one's life is saved by another, a debt is owed which must be paid. And if someone plucks another from a premature demise, putting his own life in great jeopardy during such noble action, he who was saved, in the future must duplicate the act, or thereafter be slave to his benefactor, owned body and soul. To further illustrate what I am forced to get at by circuitous measure: Some believe, though psychologists would call it a twist on "The Death Wish", that when a person is there to comfort a suffering soul, especially where great love has been shared, the bereaved no longer belongs to just one world. Death by Proxy:
She was what authors of love write about, realizing no other expression will do. She was an image likened to light, too luminous to justly define--subtle gradations, suspending the enchanted beholder on a high of breathless change. A haunting melody, eluding all analysis of tempo and time. More, she was a poem I wished I had the skill to write; for on the subjects of passion and devotion, by her ways it was all said. And I loved her more than life. Cliché, but true. Life! Taken from her so unfairly. So young! such injustice to compare her to the dim brilliance most of us call living...no other before in parallel with Divine essence as I saw her. Sadly, I am struck dumb by my own inadequacy to recall, to define, even make a futile attempt at what is within my grasp, a veiled description, but none-the-less magnificent folly. Yes, why speak of her in the same type breath as commonly used to draw in and force out life, what most define as living, such dim travesty to Art. The Art of living! The Art of loving! The joy of giving, and by thus doing being totally filled or, as in the instance which now I speak, myself left entirely empty and eternally longing.
Before her my passions had always been solely art, the desire to contrive, to frame, to create my own reality through the dimensions of mind and emotion. Giving all fantasies free-flow, to miraculously appear, I swear at times by divine intervention and guidance, upon a piece of primed, linen canvas. In fact, as I look back, I sometimes doubt that Lisa was ever anything less than deep, star-like compression of dream burst to radiance for I had never met a more challenging creature. That's right, 'Challenging!' I say this with fire: Challenging! A beautiful beast who had little control! Whose enemies had better take heed, and whose lover, I, whom she swore she had attached herself to for all eternity, was in constant danger of being devoured by insatiable appetite. Myself her only sustenance! But what man could ask for more? And having been feast at such delightful cuisine, what man could settle for diet of less? So one can easily sympathize with me that upon her death also went out the light in my eyes.
For several hours afterwards I gazed listless at her limp body upon the bed.
I tried to convince myself that she was just sleeping and soon would open her eyes motion for me to come into her arms; I would melt, and she would melt, again to be as one.
Sadly she was now the cold victim of a strange virus the physicians were at lose to describe let alone treat.
So to distract myself, I began to recall the pleasant past, in particular, those long evening walks together: As newborns, we often explored, pink hand in pink hand, the flowered meadow seen from our bedroom window. I thought of the playful glint of her eyes; savored once more the scent of her blossom hair and caresses as our bodies entwined upon the new, spring grass. Then, as pain of loss softened with memory I found myself at the easel, and without the slightest thought to what I was doing, guided by something so natural thus not to question my own entranced behavior, I began painting.
Her flesh had already turned that horrid marble gray morticians are all too familiar with, yet I mixed health into my pallet. And though her body upon the bed had stiffened, resembling a bloodless doll, I assembled her casual, seated on a chair before the window. Butter-sun dripped warmly over her hair and bare-shoulders; the same glow I wished inside of her, all too real and compelling, as was the entrapment of her smile, one of her many singular expressions I had come to cherish, certain I could now not live without.
Already having made up mind to never again take of sustenance, for life without Lisa meant nothing, I laid her lovingly on the bed and then my listless self beside her, hugged her cold flesh, morbidly aware of the stench of death making foul every one of my labored breaths. I had painted for what I thought to be days, though the sun had set and risen but once, with concentration so extreme, that upon completion of my hopeless task, exhausted, I sank quickly into a coma of sleep.
How long I slept I do not know?
Some say dreams are only seconds of measurable time, which can hold eternities of nightmare.
And I had no idea of the time I actually fell asleep, for oddly, I recollect, at the exact instant of her last expire the antique clock on the bureau, one with an extremely loud mechanism, had also stopped. I also recall Pain's pitiless press on my heart. Then I was gone.
I dreamt a strange mixture of wonderment and terror:
I was above my body. Somewhere between there and then, where love is forever found or forever lost.
I saw myself in bed still beside Lisa, yet I quickly rose my soul a-helium of sorrow; my arms straining to reach-as infants do, my hands clutching to grab and draw.
She was gone--fearing I had truly risen or she falling to some irretrievable depth?
Soon I was apart of the great heavens.
Of each angel-like being that I encountered I asked the same, forlorn question: "Have you seen my Lisa."
"Sorry--we don't know your Lisa."
I began to describe her in detail, certain they were mistaken or perhaps lying, to torment me or spare me some horrid truth.
But each new being accosted replied, as did his predecessor, in the chilling negative.
I was struck numb by the dead pan of their countenances. A lack of sympathy I would not have imagined even in the most devout ghoul.
Expelled yet higher by strange and morbid magic: I flew passed opal essence spheres, once bright bubbles of hopeful future bursting about me, splatters for the dark-flick theaters of long ago but not forgotten time.
I am at a loss to describe more clearly the sickening hues, pus and blood running down the lens of my fluid imagination when at last I came upon a beautiful creature but short distance ahead of me. The pulse of the great spheres hammering in my ears!
As I came closer I realized at last, it was she, Lisa, whom I sought now with mortal imperative.
I called to her she laughed sounding more the taunt or howl of a demon.
I raced toward her only to have her flee; draw me further, in frightening pursuit; pressing hard into piercing arrows of contrary light.
Convulsive heat filled my lungs and heart, where once was air with charming scent, and careless skipping into song.
Hellish infernal all about me! At last I felt myself falling perhaps finally giving in; once loved earth, now despised for its lack of poetic pity, raced up at me, shouting me deeper into sucking madness.
When I awoke, I was still lying on the bed but Lisa was gone from my side. Had I dreamed it all perhaps even her death? Or had they come and removed her, as I slept, deciding to leave a tortured soul alone, having willfully driven him self to a tomb of unfathomable delirium?
Now arose a startling tick in my head. Was it just there, in my mind? No, the antique clock on the wall had once again begun its dutiful vigil.
And as my eyes cleared of the veiled prism of sleep, my scan proceeded along a path of light illumining drips of paint still moist and glistening upon the floor, leading onward toward the window and a Ghost like silhouette seated in the chair by the easel.
It was she, Lisa, a drench of morning glow.
She appeared as in still wet oil alongside of her, as I had painted her, vibrant! Spilling over with health and life!
"Have I been ill?" she said. "I feel strange, as though I have been terribly far from you, my love!"
"Terribly far terribly far I approached as former prisoner just reprieved of life-sentence. Later for now I must simply hold you."