Carry Me Home
I once began a journey down a path most often travelled by the fool, by the type of man who was so unaware of his own mortality that he became blind not only to the hazards on the road but to the beauty that surrounded him.
I'd like to think that life, its trials and its joys, and the general passage of time have made me a stronger, wiser man. But life, as it is with time, is not without its sense of irony. The road before me now seems shorter somehow, and I am acutely aware of its dangers and of my own limits.
The horizon before me is wide and it darkens with every minute that passes. I must get home, but in the dimming light I cannot find my way. You are waiting for me, so I cannot pause to take even a moment's rest. I must leave the comfort and security of the road most-often travelled. It is my only way to get to you.
I have never missed a meeting. The day I do is the day that I die.
I begin my descent into the briar patch, following your directions through the maze and on. The hues of the setting sun cast a crimson glow on the flora, of which beauty I can no longer appreciate in your absence. Instead, I am sickened by it. And in my need to cast my eyes away, I lead myself astray. I am lost.
Why did I go that way?
My heart beats wildly in my chest and the feeling of trepidation settles deep inside me, all the way to the bone. I talk myself out of any unsubstantiated fears and steady my bearings and my breathing, which, in turn, settles the palpitations of my heart.
Why do I still feel?
The panic attack subsides and I continue to tread through the thicket, ignoring the thorns that tear at my cheeks and slice through my skull, cutting through hair and skin. The hot, searing pain will go away, I convince myself, but then I stumble and fall, unable to stand back up.
I refuse to be so frail and vulnerable; so, with an extreme effort I push myself up to my knees. This is not enough—not nearly. I will not submit to the laws of gravity, and I abhor the notion of kneeling before anything or anyone but you. I struggle and I labour until I find the strength to stand and carry onwards.
I will find my way to you, even in the darkness—even in the darkness.
I finally make it out of the brush, alive but not unscathed. I am bleeding—covered in burrs and thorns from head to toe. What little light is left in the night sky, from the last rays of sunlight to the clouds revelation of a few scattered and distant stars, illuminate another path—one less worn but often travelled by me.
I try in vain to wipe the grime and dirt from my once pristine clothes. I can feel the warm wetness of my own blood trickle down the side of my temple and I take out a handkerchief to clean my face. I must make myself presentable to you or you will laugh at me and call me dirty or something equally plebeian.
I pocket the cloth and take a confident step forward. I cannot show weakness to you. Never. I have to be the strong one, but—but then you were always such a better actor than I.
A gamut of emotions that only you are able to so effortlessly stir in me bring me to my knees. I kneel before you, exposed. The tears, they come so freely—even now, after so much time has passed.
How could I let you go?
I place my hand on your cold, marble face, brushing away the dirt and vines that managed to creep their way up, claiming you. I will have none of that. You are mine and mine alone—even in death.
I wait for you to chastise me for my tardiness and unkempt appearance. You simply laugh. Always am I in trouble with you, yet you manage to turn my incompetence into something worth laughing about. Try as I might, I cannot help but smile with you.
"I fell and lost myself in the thicket," I say, knowing that my confession will draw your sympathy. "I waited for you to come find me and carry me home, but you never came."
I offer you a devilish smirk that can still be seen through the deep lines of my face. You offer me that impish grin of yours and reach out to caress my cheek. I smile, basking in your warm light that banishes the black darkness surrounding me while I kneel before you on the cold, damp ground.
I put my hand back on your unyielding surface and use my fingers to dig the dirt out of the etching of your name engraved on the fading marble.
Ginevra Molly Malfoy
Beloved Wife, Friend, and Mother
"Life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon..."
"Come find me, Ginevra," I whisper. "Come find me and carry me home."
I sit back on my heels and wait for the inevitable, praying for my road to come to an end so that our paths can meet again.
Author notes: The epigraph inscribed on Ginny's tombstone is taken, in part, from a quote from Rossiter Worthington Raymond.