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Love and death in London

by viky7258 

Posted: 11 July 2003
Word Count: 1280
Summary: I submitted this for the Pulp.net short stories. They put that they don't give feedback, so I was hoping you guys could help out with any writing skill hints and tips you could give - thanks in advance.

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I remember wanting to see my one true love, my soul mate, my partner. The one being that I would spend the rest of my life with. It was a cold day back then as I remember and I did not have to look far to see him. He cared for me deeply as I did for him, and he was never far away, his love ran deep enough that he wanted to protect me and ensure my safety. London was no place for a female to be on her own, and I did not want to be, my body ached to be near his. We went along the river together, enjoying the closeness that simply being together could bring. I could feel the warmth of his body as he stopped and snuggled up to me that cold night. A fine specimen of male if ever I saw one, we only had eyes for each other that night.
The days were spent like many other love struck couples, together and I had always thought we’d be together. How wrong I was.
My story starts as all stories like mine start. It had been a day like any other; I had no impending feeling of doom. All I felt was happiness. I woke that day to feel the sun on my face and the body of my loved one laying next to me. What more could I ask for. I watched as he woke. It was slow and beautiful, he was beautiful. My heart skipped a beat as he lifted his head and nuzzled his face into my neck, a sign of affection that I accepted fully. I nuzzled him back with just as much affection.
Later that morning we took the same route as we always did for our morning wander along London’s riverbank. We both laughed to ourselves as the fish swam in fear of our presence, silly things we were no threat to them. The ducks on the river knew this well enough and paid us no attention, almost as if snubbing us. We didn’t mind, we only wanted each other for company anyway. We continued along the same route we always did, side by side always sneaking a sideways glance at each other, smiling inwardly at our own love for each other, but we both still needed the security of each other by our sides.
Even now, even though I know he is not here next to me, I still take that sideways glance, hoping, praying to see him sneaking a glance back at me. But he never is, not anymore.
Big Ben was chiming softly in the distance as I passed the same spot where I first met him, beneath the Millennium Wheel. Such a fitting place, this huge structure, for such a huge impact that he was to have on my life.
No time was lost at all; it was pure love at first sight. Such a thing did not exist until this exact time, this exact place where we first met, and in turn met each other gaze. Love is such a silly and trivial thing, until you yourself are actually lost in its romanticism for yourself, and then it is the most wonderful time of your life. But it is just that though. A time. Something that can be past, present or future. For my part, it is now my past, where it shall remain for the rest of time.
If you can find love, then you can also lose it, and even now as my heart breaks just that small fraction more, I feel another part of it being lost in the past as all the other parts have been. For all our love, the love I had for him, and I thought he had for me; he threw it away for time spent with another. That first look we shared was no longer to be ours alone; he now experienced that sweet feeling once again with another.
I do not know what happened, but I know that from now until I die, a piece of my heart will always reside in him, even if his memory of me does not live on.
We had taken the same route as always, it was a warm morning that day though, maybe that had been the clue as it was always quite crisp and fresh first thing in the morning whenever we went out on our London morning route. I will admit she was a thing of beauty, but he always gave the impression I was the most beautiful thing in the world to him, especially when he looked deep into my eyes each night before we slept.
He had thrown our love away for a stranger, I was always led to believe I was to find my life partner when I feel in love, but things are never as they seem and love is as fickle as they warn.
My life is now over; I was given a glimpse of happiness and clearly looked at it for too long. He left that day with her, her beauty had totally over whelmed him, but you should never judge a book by its cover, for what do the pages beneath hold?
I kept telling myself this, and hoped she was not for him, for all my foolish love I had for him, I knew I would take him back, but after many sunrises and sunsets he still had not returned to nuzzle softly into my neck once again. I knew then as I know now, he will not be returning. It was this one piece of knowledge that I shall take to my grave with me, for he has broken my heart and although I cannot live without him, my body cannot live without a heart. I decided to find a peaceful place where I could rest in peace after the heavens took me, and here I shall lie until they do.
A small boy walking along the riverside with his mother tugged on her hand and pointed. There amidst a hub of reeds and plants a beautiful white swan lay quietly.
“Isn’t she beautiful.” The mother said stopping to quiet her son. She bent down and took him in her arms. “I wonder where her mate is?”
“Her mate? Do they have many friends then Mummy?”
Laughing softly at her son’s innocence she explained. “When animals are together like Mummy and Daddy are, they are each others mate, that is their name for one another.”
“Oh right.”
“When swans are together like Mummy and Daddy are, they are mates for the rest of their lives, but sometimes, not very often though, it is known for one of them to leave their mate.”
“Well where’s her friend, I mean mate?” He asked watching closely as the swan started to move.
“I don’t know.”
The shape of the swan changed as she slowly moved further into the reeds, she gracefully lifted her head to the sky almost as if to kiss the heavens, stretched out her wings and then slowly came to rest again amidst the reeds. The mother was sure she saw a tear in the swan’s eyes.
“What did she do that for Mummy, why didn’t she fly off?”
“Because she wanted to stay here I suppose, she must like it there in the reeds.” But in her heart she knew the real reason. Recognising the swan’s pain she felt her own tears moisten her skin. “We’d better get going.” She said wiping them away quickly. “Daddy is waiting for us.”
“Bye bye Mrs. Swan” the little boy said as they slowly walked away.

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Comments by other Members

Nell at 12:50 on 13 July 2003  Report this post
Hi viky,

I found this a tender, touching, and beautiful little story, very simply told, and somehow fittingly so. It feels as though this is written from the heart.

One little thing seemed to stand out as not quite belonging to the narrator's voice - at least for me. 'A fine specimen of male if ever I saw one...'

Trust your reader to draw their own conclusions from what you've told them - I don't believe the following are neccessary:
'...a sign of affection that I accepted fully.' '...with just as much affection.' You may find one or two more.

Be watchful for repetitions - it's usually possible to find another word that means the same. Print the piece out if possible and read it aloud, you'll find things that need altering or editing out and you can mark them in red straight away and change them on the screen later.

I liked the quiet voice of the narrator here, and the piece has a dreamy quality which makes it special. I look forward to more, keep writing and posting.

Best, Nell.

stephanieE at 12:17 on 14 July 2003  Report this post
Viky - a nicely told story, and you surprised me, because i thought she was bemoaning the loss of a favourite pet. However, I thought it was a tad contrived - you struggled in some places not to give the game away, and those are the areas where you might find that to omit a phrase altogehter may make the whole thing more interesting. It would be less clear pehaps, but I think that could add to the sense of mystery and loss.

A minor point - do swans really frequent the Thames as far downstream as the London Eye? I would think it might be too populated and too polluted for them...

I like your gentle style though, so good luck with your writing.

Scott at 23:59 on 02 September 2003  Report this post
I won't go on about correctness because I am not one to give advice so I would simply like to say what I thought of the tale at hand.

I really liked the warmth in this at the beginning and throughout; the whole gentle manner of the story. The attention to small passing details and raw emotions really touches you if you have experiences to match the one of the story, a lot of what you wrote about I think people can connect with, my fiancée and I argue something terribly at time, always stupid and fruitless arguments but its the little details and signs we see and welcome from each other that let us feel loved, I felt you captured the essence of this at times at how your characters looked for the small things to get that big thing in return, love…really nice.

I think it all ended drastically, the character sounded almost suicidal and depressed, all hope of a similar experience seemed lost on a person who was portrayed as being too shallow to deserve such devotion in the first place, I really agree the most attractive beauty is not what lies on the surface.

A lot of emotions and all told with soul, I’d be interested to know whether the woman in the story was a mere character or if the story was based on the authors own experiences


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