Stiff as Granite


He had promised never to leave her. Now, as Lucy stands by the river, she wonders how he could have fallen back on those words.

Emily Stocksdale, Literature Editor

She had fallen in love with him slowly, over the course of four squandered years.  He had loved her from the minute he saw her, and had vowed never to leave her, regardless of the reason.

He had repeated that vow so many times that she had come to take it for granted, to take him for granted.  Now, as Lucy waited by the river’s edge, looking down at him, she wondered where that promise had faltered.

“I just, I can’t believe you would do this to me.”

She stood rigidly, in the ever-proper manner of the English, with her hands swallowed in the coarse black of her dress.  The willows bent their heads in acknowledgement, but the man she actually spoke to remained still and silent, chilled as granite.

“You don’t have anything to say for yourself, I garner? No last words to the poor dame who gave four years of her life trailing after your miserable shadow, lapping eagerly at whatever casual scraps of love and affection you threw her way? Nothing?”

He didn’t so much as glance at her.  Lucy tilted her head and smiled, despite a shivering lower lip which did its best to thwart her efforts.

“So that’s it, then? You’re leaving.”

It was hardly a question, and he didn’t attempt a response, but she had come to expect as much.  With a swift turn on her heel, she sought as far a distance as she could get away from that place.  Still, in the inevitable lapse of the pretty and damned, she glanced back at him, engulfed in the serenity of warm air and frigid manner.

Her chest contracted painfully upon itself.  “I can’t! How could you do this to me?” she shrieked.  Distraught, she crashed to the earth, to ashes and dust.

He never moved, never spoke, never so much as breathed.  He failed to offer comfort, even as tears puddled in the grass beneath Lucy’s face.  How out of character, for a man who had once been so chivalrous and kind!

But then, it was impossible to ask anything of the dead.  So, beneath layers of rock and dirt and stiff granite headstone, her love lay equally stiff and impassive, oblivious to the plight of the girl he had abandoned.