A Farewell to Eloise


young victorian or edwardian lady with a big fancy hat


The morning was a dreary one. My thoughts were clouded and heavy, as if the London fog had seeped in through the cracks in my skull. I hurried along the cobblestoned street as if I had somewhere to go, but it was only mindless drifting. These days I am more absent than ever; I am but a ghost in my own body. I feel as though I’m watching myself from a small, safe corner elsewhere. The streets are suffocatingly quiet. All I can hear are the words in my head, screaming and thrashing about, reminding me that I will never be loved, that I am hopeless, a disappointment to my immaculate family. 

My tired feet have led me to the concert hall once again. The curves and arches loom above me as memory after memory washes over me. How could I forget? The memories seem to be the only thing left in me. Everything else is gone, gone with her. She packed what little remnants there were of me into a suitcase and left on the midnight train. My head spins with the desire of that night. I can see it so clearly, it is so close I can almost taste it.

The evening was warm, the air sweet and promising. I can still see the sky, immense and overflowing with stars. If I listen very closely, I hear the rustling of the red chiffon dress as she walks through the door. She made heads turn. She was a pearl, the spectacle of the night. I remember her hands, warm and soft in satin gloves, gripping my fingers as we entered the dazzling ballroom. The air was heavy with smoke and laughter, and the clinking of champagne glasses. She leapt and turned across the floor in a whirl of crimson fabric. She was a ruby amongst a sea of muted greens and grays. She looked back at me, grinning, her chocolate curls tumbling over her shoulder. 

“Come and dance!” she says to me. Her voice is warm and syrupy, like caramel, oozing into the cracks in my heart. Now she is grabbing my arm, leading me to the floor. We are dancing, waltzing across the room, two hearts, two souls entwined. Or so I wanted to believe. I am dizzy with yearning. The brilliant lights dance in front of my eyes. 

“You are weeping,” she says, “it is too much for you.” No, I want to say to her, it is only that I am so deeply and utterly in love with you. 

The night was so full of magic, it seemed that anything could be possible. Perhaps I truly believed that she was in love with me. Perhaps I was only giddy with my own love. But I let myself dream, I let myself hope, I offered up my heart only to have it seized from my trembling hands. I will never understand how she could leave me there with so little. She will never know how much she meant to me, how she was my whole world, the entire epitome of my existence. I can never forgive her, yet she will always be forgiven. How can I be angry when I am still so entirely in love? 

I have grown so very, very weary. There is nowhere I can look that does not remind me of her. Memories haunt the streets like ghosts, whispering in my ear, fingering my heart with gentle strokes. I find that my eyes have been closed, and when I open them I am standing on the delicate stonework of a bridge, staring down at the Thames. My cheeks are damp with salty tears. The water below is so calm and gentle, I want to bathe in it, wash everything away.

“Come, come to me,” it murmurs. My eyes are growing heavy, so very heavy. My fingers slip from the cold stone, and I am falling, tumbling through the mist. 


Everything was always for you, Eloise. Always for you.