They arrived, at last, at the edge of the precipice. Midwinter twilight’s gold fell upon them. In silence they lowered the heavy thing between them. Fifteen years they’d carried it. One at either end. They’d hoisted it onto angry shoulders the day of Evangeline’s departure.

What had it been? This weight. This unforgiving pressing down that had prevented so much it had become a stopper on the forward beat of life.

They took its tapestry covering between them and began uncoiling it. Within the shrouding fabric’s weft and waft a story was told of love and death. Betrayal perhaps. Or escape.

Each recognised the other in the same role. The Usurper. Each saw, within the dyed threads, the same image of themselves as wounded hero.

The colours turned crimson as they rolled them out. At last there she was. Evangeline. Their lover. Departing on silver wings. On the rocky place from which she’d flown a goblet spilled its contents.

One last roll. The fabric lay flat, its story complete. The petrified burden within revealed, as black and impermeable as obsidian, as dark as wounded hearts untended. Both reached instinctively, touching it together. Tentative fingers suffered no resistance. With a puff the dust of their burden blew across the canyon. They faced each other across the emptiness that replaced it.

2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)