Inspired by the Memento Mori cathedral in Chouchou, Second Life.
At the top of the long sunlit staircase I pause. A single arch leads into the cathedral, its brilliance setting me in shadow. Filtered light fades the arches on either side into an iridescent white glow. A single piano note wafts through the rafters, riding on the wind, followed by another hesitant note, then another.
Standing in shadow, white spiral staircases race above me into the sky, their patterns shaping the light. My eye follows their path, feeling the pull of their upward movement as if I was a small white bird, alone in the sky, catching the updraft. Piano notes fade, and the wind is left alone to create its own harmony as it flows through the lofty spires above.
Caught in the brilliance of the light tipped spires, I turn in place, blue gossamer skirts softly brushing my skin. The wind catches the feathering of my hair, sending it scurrying across my face.
Slowly, I lift a hand to brush the fine strands back when a searing pain averts my eyes. I withdraw my hand and step back into the shadows. Small gray wisps curl lazily upward. The once pale whiteness of my fingers are tinged with gray surrounded by a slight charring. I pull a long breath through my clenched teeth and realize the reality of what drew me here.
I remember the years of my life. Of those I loved. Of one I loved. Of my white fingers tracing the words on his grave stone. His life, long and full.
Through tear-filled eyes I look up into the light-filled room. Long had I waited for this moment, and now, I hesitate. Its beauty draws me. Its beauty scares me.
The first time I came to this place, I was so overcome by its beauty, I knew. This was my salvation. This would be my sanctuary. And now, I come for the last and forever time.
I draw a deep breath and step forward into the light, letting my robes fall behind me. White skin exposed to white light. Curls of smoke rise. My skin on fire without flame. I keep walking, leaving trails of ash of what was once my existence.
Before I reach the end, the light takes what is left of me. All that remains are swirls of smoke, caught and gathered by the wind.
Flowing upward and through the spires, I am a small gray bird, alone in the sky, catching the updraft. Piano notes fade, and the wind is left alone.
by Barbara Seaton/Helena Kiama (SL)
May 2, 2016