Anthony of Padua
You don’t really describe the person herself. It’s more an essence. It’s a collage of snapshots, magazine clippings that you assign to your memory. They’re incorruptible images that become digitalized in the recesses of your mind. They float up unprovoked when recalling her.
You don’t need a direct picture of her or a still frame of her entire body or a close up of her face to understand every fraction of her that creates a realization of her as a whole.
Enter a room. She has been here. You can tell, because her scent wafts across your nose hinting of hazelnut or vanilla, yet still those familiar smells are unique to her fragrance. You know disappointment, having just missed her. You don’t know it long though, because soon she has come back to you. You hug her, breathing her in. You squeeze tight, not wanting to let go. She squeezes back, but it feels soft. It’s more like you are holding her, and she is clinging on. You know what it is to be needed.
Most people would be in a rush. You aren’t though. She stands at the sink and you lay on the bed watching her. Her arm passes into the door way as she brushes her hair. Her slender calf steps back. You can see its smooth slope disappear around the corner. Thick hair leans backward as the brush goes through, making even rows along the auburn locks. Before she comes out and presents her beauty, a tiny hand grabs the doorframe, expectedly half a face looks around the bend and her eyes smile at you. It’s the eyes. You can get lost in each pool of beauty reflecting off an even deeper pool, never ending until you get to the depths of her. You know what it is to marvel. You marvel that of all the people of the entire world, you found each other. You wonder. The wonder that is creation, the wonder of probability affects you. But you dismiss it. Its depths, just like hers, are beyond your sense of understanding. You accept it. Joyously you plunge into the acceptance. Faith, luck, divine intervention, the reasons don’t matter. All that matters is she is here and so are you, together. With odds defying logic, you know God.
It’s the way you can lay in bed at night, listening to her breath that lets you know she is sleeping contentedly. You can’t see her, but through the streetlight you can make out her silhouette. You know she is there, though you can barely make her outline against the slightly illuminated shade. If she were gone, you would feel the emptiness of the room, the emptiness inside you. But you can hear her there, still breathing and you know comfort. It’s a feeling. You know exactly how her heart beat sounds; you can perceive its beat like a percussion symphony playing in perfect unison. Perhaps it has been weeks since you rested your head gently on her chest but you know it nevertheless from having heard it thousands of times in private moments together. While she lies there, you know her mouth is slightly open and in the morning she will savor the first sip of ice water that trickles unabated into the dry crevices of her mouth. She will wipe her mouth when she is done and flash a quick smile. It’s that smile you see. Maybe not even the whole smile commits itself to your memory, maybe just a corner where her mouth meets and turns upward into her cheek. You know love.
And when, in a flash all that gets taken from you, finally you know hate. You feed that hate from the fat of vengeance. You use it to stop the bleeding of your aching heart. Your pain is so great that you numb it by drinking deeply from the chalice of retribution. You embark to kill, while you yourself are already dead. You curse the God you came to know.
And you, dear reader, might come to curse me, for I am Antonio. Named so after Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of things lost. I lost my heart and carried with it was my love, my life.
My tear fell upon the ink that adorned the parchment with her perfect handwriting. My imperfect tear left its mark on the page, leaving a wet blot of ink where the signature of my love’s name had once rested unblemished beneath the words that would forever flaw the fabric of my soul.
I am Antonio named after the Saint and though forsaking my forgetful God, I find it hard to completely ignore the teachings of my unceremonious upbringing. I mutter the words that my mother had me speak so surreptitiously, “Saint Anthony, Saint Anthony, please come around. Something is lost and needs to be found”.