Christina Rasmussen

The Field Amidst The Two Houses: A Short Story

And then there is this knowing that affairs, even the love kind,

are not blameless. They foil with the future the way God quickens 

our destiny without caution, just like the rain dawns

in the midst of a summer’s day dampening the exposed ground.

At the cottage down the hill a wasted senile man is sitting, 

hair uncombed, its oil brims out, his eyes lingering between 

closed and open. But go back fifty years, he is dancing 

in our house, this same one. After his beers 

find their way to his mind, a lion swimming. 

Maybe drunk. Hard to say if he ever feels the lion. 

All he wants to do is toss me around, 

make me a lioness. Make me his. I run away. 

Like a scared cat. 

Oh I was once a fool moving life around 

like a puppet show using love as my strings: 

Whatever you are thinking of doing, 

you better stay right here. But his voice was full of

burpings and profanities, none of them carried love, 

so I forged on: while his brother was waiting 

for me to brace the field amidst the two houses. 

As I look back at it now it is clear how lost all three of us were. 

But this could not have been undone. 

He was only lucid two hours a day, 

no burps and beers early in the morning. 

And when his beers walked in I walked out, 

where the field opened up like a gateway to another life. 

Journeying to his brother’s arms, his hot off the pot stew, 

his doting eyes, his bed and white sheets waiting for me like a bride. 

But now it’s a ghost house that resembles the love nest he built just for us, 

away from his drunken brother. 

He has been gone for half a decade, 

buried under this cross I carved out the day after. 

And while I do not understand the yearnings of death,

still I think there’s a reason why we got found out that summer night, 

and both died. Him from his brother’s hand and I from a broken heart. 

In the midst of sitting old, I glance across the field 

I still see him standing at the door waving at me. 

Oh we are not forgotten, we are not past. 

Call it sin. Call it lust. 

His love, his laughter, his waiting. 

Then the old man moves from the chair 

and I come back to this drunken life. 

Far away from him. 

With many lost loves,


P.S. This may be a fictional short story, but the loss we experience in life is complex and spans our whole lives sometimes.

Lost loves. Lost identities. Staying in unhealthy relationships. Living life with regrets. 

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