Title: On Going Home, Chapter 7
Word Count: 671
Disclaimer: I did not invent them
On Going Home, Chapter 7
Sometimes Horatio thought that he could remember her. Sometimes he thought that he dreamed of her. There was a portrait, in his father's study, with grave brown eyes, and a face much like his own. He had seen the portrait every day of his childhood. Other boys had real mothers. He had his father, and the portrait. He learned early not to speak of her. It was not that anyone rebuked him, Dr. Hornblower answered all questions, always. But his eyes went shadowy when Horatio asked about his mother. So, quite soon he stopped asking.
He never told anyone, anyone that he spoke to her, when he was alone. It helped him figure things out. Sometimes he talked to people from books, but when he was sad, or lonely, or when things were very important or confusing, he talked to her. Sometimes he imagined what she would say, if she talked back. Sometimes he thought he knew what her voice would be like. He imagined that it would be gentle, wise and kind. But he didn't really know. He imagined that she would sing, and it would sound the way music was supposed to sound. Music never sounded like anything to him. He thought that if she sang he would understand.
He had expected he would stop talking to her once he grew up. He had expected he would feel less confused by then. But he was eighteen now, and he hadn't.
He awakened with the gray light showing weak in his window. Last night Archie had told him the rest of the truth about Simpson. He had related the horror in a quiet distant voice, drained of color. And Archie had blamed himself. That was the worst.
Horatio had wept last night, until he couldn't weep any more. He and Archie had crouched on the floor at first, kissing, because they didn't want to let go of each other long enough to stand up. Horatio's tears had wet the both of them, flavoring their mouths with salt. By the time they gained the bed, the kisses had gone from comfort to delight. From there the great waves had taken them, lifting them and dashing them onto the toothed reefs of pleasure. As the waves subsided, they had found lagoons of rest, where they floated, weightless and touching, nearly asleep. until the waves found them and drew them again to quivering madness.
Now. Archie lay sprawled, with his face in the pillow. He was taking more than half the space. Horatio had been annexed slowly to an intolerable corner. Archie had almost all the blankets too. But that was all right. Horatio was awake now. He drew the blankets up over Archie, he rationed himself to just one kiss, on Archie's exposed ear. Archie muttered something growly, and flailed with one hand. But he sank back into sleep immediately, they had been awake most of the night.
Horatio took a book with him, and climbed into the other bed. He opened the book, but he wasn't ready to read it yet. Instead he whispered, in a very small voice, “Mother, I want to tell you about Archie.”
He was deep in his book when Archie woke. Morning had come with golden light pouring in, and indecently loud songs of birds. Archie stretched, and moved so that the sunlight warmed him. The light painted his skin with flickering gold. “Come here Horatio.” He said.
Out on the track, at the bottom of the yard, a girl was singing. Horatio could not feel the tune, but her words were clear.
“Love, love is going to take you by the hand
Into a white and soundless place
Now we see things, as in a mirror dimly
Then we shall see each other face to face.” ****
****The song is by The Mountain Goats. It is called 'Love, love, love'
(I can't imagine where the milk-maid learned it!)