Tales of the Storage Space, Part 65

Edward had not thought it possible.  Neither his long, weary years upon the stage, nor his far longer and wearier years being dead, could have rendered such an event an even remotely believable plot development.  Yet here he was shifting his thoroughly fixated, lover’s gaze from the lovely maiden Karen…she who had so consistently reminded him of a long-lost summer’s day…to the face of a woman in her 70s!

Edward scoffed.  He persisted with undoubtedly protesting far too much.  He imagined strutting and fretting his hour upon the stage, until this escape proved futile, since whatever remained of his venerable old stage was most thoroughly, one might even say most noisily, enraptured by this old hag…whose admittedly beautiful voice Edward had done all possible to ignore.

Finally Edward felt most decidedly forced to look this woman in her 70s full in the face.

It was fortunate, profoundly providential, that, being dead, Edward no longer needed lungs that could still breathe or a heart that wasn’t stunned to a sudden full stop.  “But thy eternal summer shall not fade!”  What stood before him was no ghost but the living, breathing, one true love of both his life and death.  For all his Shakespearean elegance and incessant verbosity, he was…for the very first time in either life or death…silenced.

Still, after a very long time of pure childlike wonder and thoroughly unbridled joy, some tiny little voice within him did the math at about the same time another little voice noted that those were not his true love’s lips, after all, but rather, miraculously and unmistakably, his own.

Switzerland!  Where he’d sought in vain to find his love so very long ago, but also where women in the theatre often went when…

All those uncharacteristic complaints before she left for Switzerland about the costume department making her gowns too tight…

She hadn’t abandoned him for another lover, she’d…

But suddenly something yanked Edward back to the present, and even the revelation that this present included what must be his own…granddaughter?…wasn’t enough to keep him from shuddering along with the rest of the building.  Both the lovely maiden Karen and his elderly granddaughter looked up startled and struggled to maintain their footing.  A line from The Tempest, “Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” rang through Edward’s mind over and over again.  For the thing that had yanked Edward back to the present seemed so insidiously evil that even Shakespeare couldn’t sufficiently capture it, and…like Edward himself…was no longer alive.

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