by Mitzi Danielson-Kaslik
That had been all I had seen of Sylvester Spence Palvine. The note on the piano. Nothing more. Yet, if that note had not existed, I do believe I would have tricked myself into believing that Sylvester was simply a figment of my imagination. I looked at the words he had written nightly and stared blankly at the swirly formation the ink had left upon the thick cream parchment and almost watched as my hot tears re fell onto the page and re blotted the ink. The same tears that had fallen so thickly and had prompted me to plant the tree. Blossoms for Sylvester. I so wished he had seen the May blossoms.
As the summer escaped me and the nights grew ever longer and the leaves on the blossom tree turned copper crisp and cast themselves to the wind, I felt myself beginning to forget Sylvester and the night we had spent together. It frightened me. I feared that I would forget what had come to pass between us, though I was increasingly realising that that wasn’t much at all. It was the most precious memory I had and I prayed I would never lose it.
My struggle drew me to a quote from Peter Pan: Never say ‘goodbye’ because saying ‘goodbye’ means going away and going away means forgetting. If truth be told, he and I never did truly say goodbye so I had hoped that memory would be kind and time would forgive me and allow me to keep him alive within me. It only dawned on me that Sylvester Spence Palvine might, in fact, no longer be alive. I had then attempted to banish such thoughts from my mind, though with it I seemed to banish thoughts of the man himself from entering my thoughts which was surely not my intention.
I truly loved Sylvester.
But if had been so quick to fall in love with him, perhaps I would love again, but that thought was of little solace now.
So, for the better part of nine months, Sylvester Spence Palvine cased to exist as a part of my life. Life went on. Sylvester became a whisper from behind the door; the cold steam which clouds the mirror; the voice that guided me through the passage ways of my mind. He was a part of me. I continued to live as I had previously; alone and singularly wondering where life would take me.
It was a dull autumnal day that brought me back to The Palvine Residence. It was Halloween again and I somehow felt compelled to return. Though I did not go in the evening, it was almost as if I suspected there to be a pumpkin there, though all logic told me otherwise. I did not then know why I felt this way, but it seemed as if something was calling me to the now leafless blossom tree. So, with a heavy yet oddly hopeful heart, I returned to the iron gates of The Palvine Residence on Old Oakbourne Street. To my surprise, I had not actually re-visited the house for around six months and the paint work of the exterior was further peeling than it had been when I first had noticed the pumpkin precisely a year ago. The blossom tree still stood, thankfully. Thick ivy grew over the gate and the recent rain had rusted the fastening to such an extent that I had to press my entire body weight against it for the gate to open and allow me passage into the estate.
I tripped over the threshold and into the once driveway of the place and looked around, scanning my surroundings as if I were suspecting to see him hiding in the corner of my eye. He was not hiding. He was gone from this place. The prison of the world’s design. I sat down beneath the tree and placed my head in my hands. I closed my eyes.
Would this not all have been easier if I had never seen the pumpkin and never spoken to Rita Pearlhall and never met Florence Parker and never allowed my heart to be captured by a man of… - come to think of it, I didn’t even know how old Sylvester was.
I missed Sylvester with all my heart.
It was at that moment as I whispered his name into the wind that I felt something land squarely in my lap and opened my eyes sharply. It was a small piece of paper. I turned it over and felt it smooth and fine beneath my finger tips; thick black ink had left a swirly formation upon the cream surface of the parchment. I knew this handwriting.
I am so sorry I could not contact you sooner, but I only knew you would come back to the house today. I do so hope you are happy and will not think ill of you if you have met another. I have left this place for Paris and have just established myself there in the artists’ quarter of the city. I wish you, if you still wish to be my lover, to meet me with your things under the blossom tree you so kindly planted for me tonight as the clock strikes nine. We do not have much time. We shall, if you are willing, take a boat to France and board an overnight train into Paris and from there I will take you to my new home.
Until this evening,
I marvelled at his words. I would see my lover again.