Disclaimer: I don’t the characters, places, or the poem. They belong to J.K. Rowling and Thomas Hardy. I also don't own the quotations by Shakespeare.
Warnings: Bring a hanky.
Queer are the ways of a man I know:
He comes and stands
In a careworn craze,
And looks at the sands
And the seaward haze
With moveless hands
And face and gaze,
Then turns to go…
And what does he see when he gazes so?
The black-haired man, standing tall and dignified as he strode through the ancient cemetery, with measured steps, passed the gravestones marking right and left where such brave heroes had fallen once upon a time. He held no interest in these, what concerned him was further along. Finally stopping beneath a great old willow tree, he paused and suddenly the memories came rushing back to him.
They say he sees an instant thing
More clear than to-day,
A sweet soft scene
That once was in play
By that briny green;
Yes, notes always
Warm, real, and keen,
What his back years bring-
A phantom of his own figuring.
He sees them, relaxing underneath this self-same tree, hidden away from the prying eyes of the populace in general. He sees them playing and picnicking underneath the tree’s shade, making large amounts of daisy chains, and the laughter. He remembers the laughter most of all. The bubbly sound of pure joy that emanated from her perfect little rosebud lips, the impish grin on her insufferably cute face, the twinkle in her little green eye, and her short and messy dark brown hair. That was what he remembered best of all about his angel. He had no idea of why this was, but for some inexplicable reason the vision of her was most vivid here. She was almost tangible.
Of this vision of his they might say more:
Not only there
Does he see this sight,
In his brain-day, night,
As if on the air
It were drawn rose bright-
Yea, far from that shore
Does he carry this vision of heretofore:
It wasn’t just here that he saw her; she was with him everywhere he went. She affected everything he did, everyone he saw or helped. Her essence had given him a new purpose, a real reason to keep going on after the war when he’d been so tired, so soul-weary that it wouldn’t have taken much for him to surrender to the urge to just give it all up and die. She brought joy back into his life, something he hadn’t known since he’d been a baby. She taught him how to smile again, how to sit back and just laugh. She taught him how to really enjoy his life. He’d been in the pits of despair and she’d just burst in like a little ray of sunshine and changed his life completely. He missed her more than anything and after she’d been taken from him, it had been a good while before he’d been able to function in an even remotely normal manner. At first, he’d shut himself off from the rest of the world, simply unable to come to the terms that she was, in fact, gone. He wouldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, all he’d done was sit in her precious little bedroom, the one they’d had so much fun decorating and just stare blankly at the walls. It’d been his old school nemesis that had finally gotten fed up with his so-called ‘martyr complex’ and had had the stones to beat some sense into that thick skull of his.
And for one of the first times in his life that he could remember, he cried. He just broke down completely and cried and cried until he had no more tears left to spend. Then, for the first time in more years that he cared to remember, he slept without nightmares. That to him was precious beyond words, since he’d been a young boy he’d always suffered from nightmares and it’d not gotten any better with age.
A ghost-girl-rider. And though, toil-tried,
He withers daily,
Time touches her not,
But she still rides gaily
In his rapt thought
On that shagged and shaly
And as when first eyed
Draws rein and sings to the swing of the tide.
Jerking himself out of his memories, he carefully laid the wildflowers on the small gravestone and kneeled to lay a tender kiss on the name inscribed there.
“I love you, little one.” And with that he turned and strode quickly out of the cemetery before the tears could overtake him. As he left, a small, still voice floated in on the light breeze blowing through the trees, “I love you too, Daddy.”
Dusk settled on the ancient cemetery, the last rays of sunlight illuminating one marker in particular, the elegant inscription reading:
Jaenelle Marie Snape
“For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come -
She was the stuff that such dreams were made on.”
Forever missed and forever loved.
She was her father’s light when all others had gone out.
b. May 1, 2000 d. September 8, 2005