The familiar arrival of the after light fluttered by, trailed inward from under the entryway like the rattling tail of autumn smoke, made ominously bright by the hanging kerosene lamp burning ever so softly beside the dusty wooden chair left on to light its way. She breathed in the crisp November dusk, mixed with the sharp pain of the unforgiving tides from the hovering affairs of her recent life. Her gloveless fingers had grown numbed with cold, smoothed along the aged writing chair set away from the curved stairway; the lustrous inky strands had since came loose of the ivory comb and tousled down upon her shoulders in disarray; those amber eyes have lost their dazzling brilliance, now flashed instead of anger and pain, then all at once hurled themselves across the stained teal tiles and directed up, brought to a standstill by the steadfast gaze which reflected back from the looking glass on the dressing vanity against the corner wall, and under the gold-colored lamp they appeared unflinchingly bright with unshed tears.
It felt like the whole world had moved on, herself breathed still but not living, abandoning her in a nostalgic and derelict past she'd never again visit. Just as suddenly, a startling sob escaped her lips, conceding that any consoling word of insight already came too late, as if out of whimsy, each and every crafted word had wittingly lodged themselves deep within her catatonic consciousness, idled away under its dark recess while slithered to the bottom-most among the overlays of time, where they at long last, mingled with the other muffled and unspoken thoughts which had lain dormant in hush suspension. The artless illusion of her innocence, made haste by the weight of neglect, had her swiftly sped downward to a maddening void of guilt and torment; and there, was where she stood at sea, on the verge of coming to be a lost beauty, no longer a misspent and simple youth yet holding on to traces of the girl she had been. How hauntingly sad and mad and bad it was, but then how it was sweet, this gravity of regret. And how utterly sad to realize it's too good to leave, and sadder still, too bad to stay.
*Author Note: Robert Browning was written with the poet’s famous quote in mind: How sad and bad and mad it was. But then, how it was sweet.
Lana Bella has a diverse work of poetry and fiction anthologized, published and forthcoming with over one hundred journals, including a chapbook with Crisis Chronicles Press (early 2016), Aurorean Poetry, Chiron Review, Contrary Magazine, QLSR (Singapore), elsewhere, and Featured Artist with Quail Bell Magazine, among others. She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a wife of a novelist, and a mom of two frolicsome imps.