Waffles: The Syruping

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.


look at me, ma!

He was sitting alone in the library. I’d noticed him around campus before. So quiet. So cute. And always so alone.

When I was eleven years old, I decided that I would marry a man who wore a trench coat and khaki pants and dress shoes, and who would be cool and reserved in public but warm and affectionate at home.

I’d never seen him in a trench coat, but he definitely had the khakis and the dress shoes and the cool and reserved in public thing going on. We could work on the trench coat.

these are not  my beautiful waffles

Was the darkness in him then? I try to remember now, as I watch him press his fork down into his waffle. The syrup flows into the space he created, and I wonder if he even knows who I am anymore.

I never did get him to wear a trench coat.

I knew the rules. You take an interest in their interests. You laugh at their jokes. You make them feel important, feel good about themselves, and then they will feel good about you.

I took a deep breath and walked up to him.

I'm doing Sims thingies!

“So, what are you reading?”

He didn’t respond, at first. I thought maybe he hadn’t heard me. Maybe his book was more interesting than me. Maybe he was reading about a gorgeous librarian spacetime traveller who could zip between worlds as easy as she put on her lipstick, and I was standing there without any lipstick and with limp stupid hair and I couldn’t travel through space and time, I’d tried and it never worked, and I was boring and I knew I should just walk away, but I didn’t. I stood there, waiting.

this is not my beautiful stats page!

He reached a stopping point in his book and looked up, so slowly, so coolly. So reserved.

His green eyes, swimming with darkness and light and intelligence and pain and something else, something else that I cannot name even now, met mine. And I was gone. I was his, forever.

this is not my beautiful WordPress blog!

“Words.”

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love –
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

I’d smiled and laughed and joked and flipped my hair, and he had spoken in monosyllables and not smiled at all. Still, somehow, I had gotten him out of the library and into the world. Or at least into the park.

He wouldn’t talk.

I asked him where he was from. He said Sunset Valley. I asked him what his parents did. He clammed up. I racked my brain for something, anything to talk about.

this is not my beautiful game

Then he saw the plants.

this is not my beautiful story!

I know, I know, that then there was no darkness in him.  He was pure light.  And I know that light is still in there somewhere. It is.

He reached out and brushed the leaves with his finger. Softly, gently. Lightly.
I shivered.

He told me the names of the plants. He told me their Latin names. He told me about their properties and how they could be used in alchemical compounds, and how the landscaping crew obviously did not know the correct way to care for them.  His voice was low, liquid. I let it wash over me, soft and slow and gentle like his fingers on the leaves.

This is not my beautiful cardigan!

He does not talk, now. Not even about his plants.

He gets up, his waffles half-eaten and all mushed and runny with syrup, and he says “I’ll be home late.” The only words he’s said in days. His voice now is dry, rasping.  It’s full of sharp edges that cut my skin, that leave me bleeding on the edge of his abyss.

Was it always thus? Did I just not see it? Was I so eager for my preteen fantasy, so intoxicated at the thought of being the only one who could bring down his guard, the only one who could gain access to his hidden creamy nougat center, that I did not realize that I had invented the creamy nougat center?

This is not my beautiful HTML tab!

No, I know it was there.

Oh Seth.  What happened to you?

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsmen came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

Seth always seemed happiest at the park. He didn’t like movies. He didn’t like football games.  He absolutely hated parties. He liked grass. He liked solitude. He loved plants.

So we went to the park, with the plants and the benches and the statue of Riverview University’s founder.

I wanted to share my love of  dark and haunting tales with him, the way he shared his love of growing things and alchemy with me. So one evening I took a flashlight, determined to tell him a ghost story.

This is not my beautiful flashlight!

He flinched when I brought out the flashlight.

This is not my beautiful hair clipping glitch!

I lie awake at night, remembering, trying to pinpoint when the darkness came, trying to figure out if it was always there, and I remember the flinch.

This is not my beautiful bed!

On the nights that he comes to bed I pretend to be asleep until I hear him snoring, and then I open my eyes and look at him. Sometimes the moonlight shines directly on his face, soft and sweet in sleep as I remember it, as I know it once was, and I wonder if maybe the flinch was because he felt the darkness even then and the flashlight reminded him of it.

Maybe he saw me carrying a flashlight as me trying to peer into his darkness, trying to illuminate it, and it scared him. Maybe he didn’t know he had a creamy nougat center, and he thought that if I shined my light into him I would find the darkness, the sharp edges and the yawning abyss. And he didn’t want me to find it. He didn’t want me to leave.

He doesn’t want me to leave.

This is not my beautiful Valley!

I can’t leave.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me –
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud one night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

I saw the flinch and I was afraid, but then it passed and he actually sort of smiled, and he said go on, he’d like to hear my story, and he sat on the ground like a child at story time.

This IS my beautiful Seth!

I don’t remember, now, what story I told.

This is not my beautiful zombie!

Possibly it had zombies.

This is not my beautiful flaming skull!

And perhaps some flaming skulls. I do so like flaming skulls.

Look, it's my beautiful Seth AGAIN!

Seth seemed to appreciate the story. But then, he’s always had a thing for flaming skulls himself.

I finished the story in grand style and he clapped. He actually clapped.

He did care, once.

Sigh. I've really missed this.

He stood up and brushed those khaki pants off, and then we giggled like schoolgirls about flaming skulls.

I miss that Seth, the Seth full of light and laughter and…love, I think.

He’s never said it.  Not in all our years together. I didn’t mind. I loved his walls. I loved his defenses. I loved his silence, his reticence. He didn’t have to say it.  I knew it, when I was the only one who was allowed inside. I was the only one who saw his smiles, heard his laughter. The only one he touched.

This is not my beautiful marriage bed!

On the nights when he doesn’t come to bed, when he spends the whole night off in his garden or staring at that damn waterfall or wherever he goes, I cry.

I hate that waterfall.

This is not my beautiful waterfall.

It booms in my ears all the time. I never have any peace, any quiet.

I liked it when we first moved here. It was charming. It was unique. Who else had their own waterfall in the backyard?

Then over time the booming receded into the background.  Seth went to his lab and studied his plants, and I made waffles. And fruit parfait and grilled salmon and lobster thermidor. But mostly waffles.

Maybe if I cut his waffles into flaming skull shapes he’ll remember me, and he’ll talk to me and smile and laugh and touch me again.

This is not my beautiful Riverview.

On the nights he stays outside and stares at the waterfall, I remember that night in the park.

This is not my beautiful hand!

I remember his fingers sliding across my palm. I remember how soft his skin felt. I remember how nervous he was.

This is my beautiful kiss

I remember how he tasted.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we –
Of many far wiser than we –
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

My sister writes me sometimes. She lives back home in Twinbrook.

oops I forgot this one

She says, did you know Tim Burre is still single? He always had a crush on you in high school. She says, he’s taken to wearing dress shoes. She says, I saw him in a trench coat the other day.

She says that Seth is gone, that he’s never coming back, that he’s not the person I love anymore.

She says that the fire at the lab killed the Seth I loved, that staying isn’t doing any good, that I have to grieve and move on, that the Seth I married would want me to do that. She says that nursing him back to health fulfilled any obligations I had to him, that I’ve done all that I can.

This is my beautiful letters playlist.

I write her back, and I tell her that I can never dissever my soul from the soul of the beautiful Sethabel Lee. I tell her that I love the dark, his dark. I tell her that I am his flashlight, that I shine light into his dark places, that if I just keep shining he will follow the light back to me.

I don’t tell her about the flinch. I don’t tell her about the time I tried the Sethabel Lee line on him and he just grimaced and left. He’s always leaving, now.

My waffles!  My beautiful beautiful waffles!

Except when I make waffles. Then he comes to the table, and he presses his fork down, and he plays with the syrup, and then he leaves. But he’s mine for a while, while he is tearing his waffles into little pieces and staring into the syrup.

I’ll find a flaming skull mold. I’ll make little flaming skull waffles. Then he’ll remember, and he’ll look up and he’ll talk to me and he’ll slide his fingers along my palm, slowly, gently, and he’ll laugh and he’ll smile and he’ll be mine again. My Seth.

This is not my beautiful Sarah!

Sometimes I go outside, and I stand in front of the waterfall. I stand where he stands all night, sometimes. And I scream.

This is not my beautiful night sky!

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling -my darling -my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea –
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

I really miss my beautiful chaos mod painting.

Author’s Note: The poem Annabel Lee is the wonderful work of Edgar Allan Poe. I really don’t think he’d mind me borrowing it. 🙂

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15 Responses to Waffles: The Syruping

  1. I don’t think he would mind either–you have totally done it justice here. This is so amazing, so completely and utterly beautiful. Wow. Makes me want to cry, knowing how it will end. And leaves me speechless!

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      Thank you so much. *hugs*

      I’m all proud of myself for doing this – it’s like I’m finally beginning to recover from everything that happened last year. 🙂

      I did it for a writing competition on LiveJournal – I’m just playing along right now because I found it too late to join in for real, but I will be joining for real next season. This week was “open topic”, and I’d had this idea for a topic two weeks ago, “counter intuitive”, but I didn’t write more than the first three paragraphs. So this weekend I put some elbow grease in it and got it done. 🙂

      It was really awesome, taking pictures of them again and working with the game again. I’ve got two ideas for something else like this. One is to take these same pictures, name it “Syrup: The Waffling”, and tell the story from Seth’s point of view. The other, inspired by a comment on this over on my LJ, is to do a little short about the fire at Seth’s lab and explore it more. That one would require finding the hacks the kids are using these days for posing and starting fires though, since the Chaos Mod Painting is out of date and not being updated anymore.

      Again – thank you so much for sticking around and reading this and commenting on it. 🙂 2011 was a hard year for me, with the ulcer and other issues, but 2012 looks like it’s going to be better and like it’s going to have a lot more writing in it. 🙂

      Like

      • Of course I’ve stuck around! It’s actually good to see you posting again–seems like 2011 was a crap year for a lot of people. I would love to see this story from Seth’s pov, as well as more about the fire at the lab! These stories need to be told!!

        The writing competition sounds like a good idea, too. I’m in a community over there which I unfortunately don’t use enough. I get such good ideas when I do, though, I should go back!

        Like

        • medleymisty says:

          Here’s the link to the writing competition – http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/.

          I feel like I fit in there a lot better than I did in the Sims LiveJournal community.

          Yeah – I think I will do those two! I also really want to edit 10.01 too – I posted it in a critique community and got some real critique on it, and I’ve always known that it had some problems that needed fixing. And then I’ll go and edit the other chapters of 10, and then eventually I’ll write 10.09.

          Oooh I just had an idea! I should email you, and talk, and we can be friends and stuff! Yes! 🙂

          Like

        • medleymisty says:

          I has emailed you. 🙂

          Like

  2. Zen Greenway says:

    Dude, this is freakin’ awesome! What a great story. And I love the Sims and have always wanted to use it as a storytelling tool. This is a prime example of how it should be done.

    Like

    • medleymisty says:

      Yay!!!!! Also on your blog I noticed tweets about WoW – I am actually playing again now. 😉 But still updating Surreal Darkness too.

      Oh, and my Dabrowski/Jung/growth type stuff is on my LJ, but it does show up as the themes of my Sims work too. 🙂

      Like

      • Zen Greenway says:

        Yeah, I’ve been having a lot of fun with WoW, though I’m currently on a Second Life kick. I had to look up LJ and if it’s what I think it is (Live Journal), I’ll have to check it out. It sounds interesting …

        Like

        • medleymisty says:

          Yeah, it’s the Behind the Valley link over to the side. I haven’t been updating it very seriously for a while though, because stuff.

          I’ve never really done anything with Second Life.

          Like

          • Zen Greenway says:

            Stuff. I can relate. I used to get really uptight about not posting enough and then I realized it’s mostly for me anyway. I should just do it when I have something to say! I started Second Life when my Sims game was lagging so much I couldn’t stand it anymore. The interface is a lot more complicated. Getting your avatar to look how you want is much harder, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty awesome. And, of course, there’s the opportunity to talk to real people instead of AI, which at first scared the heck out of me, but again once you get the hang of it … pretty awesome. (Okay, I just zipped over to your LJ and got immersed for like 10 minutes. I really like your writing style and relate to a whole lot of your ideas. Now I’m going to have to figure out whether to join yet another social platform. Sigh.)

            Like

  3. RipuAncestor says:

    This was beautiful and so sad! I liked how Sarah’s voice was very down-to-earth but still quirky and poetic. Her and Seth’s relationship is very complex, interesting and tragic. Knowing that Sarah still sees the light and wants to save him but doesn’t know how makes it especially heartbreaking.

    Also yay, an Edgar Allan Poe -piece I recognise! I should read more from him again… Anyway, the poem worked really well with the story. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      *hugs* Thank you! I think that my writing of them post-Bad Times got more complex because I’d had to face how I’d gotten into a very unhealthy friendship, and all my feelings around that. It’s not the same thing as them but I think it does help round out my understanding of them, especially Sarah’s perspective.

      I LOVE Poe! 🙂 Learned my trade at his feet as a child. I’d repeat The Raven over and over to myself, just listening to the words and how they went together.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love Poe’s Annabel Lee. I knew immediately what it was and got very excited. was thinking of using it in my SIJR, but I don’t want to steal your thunder. 🙂

    I loved this story from Sarah’s perspective. It provides insight into her character and choices. Her train of thought when approaching Seth for the first time resonated with me because seriously it could be my internal thoughts too. Thanks for pointing me to this over on the forums. 🙂

    This is so powerful. Poor Sarah. She is brave to stay and her love for him is so strong that it hurts. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • medleymisty says:

      This story is four years old. I think you can use it now without stealing my thunder. 😉

      Yeah, I think a lot of people who grew up being socialized as female in our culture could identify with Sarah. If Seth carries my anger, Sarah carries my anxiety and insecurity.

      Two of Sarah’s traits are family oriented and hopeless romantic. 😉 She really values marriage and romantic love and domesticity. Which makes her very interesting – she was created to be a demure passive housewife who existed in Seth’s shadow. Thus her traits, and her clothing, and her paleness and thinness.

      But she outgrew what she was meant for very quickly. She is still quite feminine and still motivated by being a homemaker, but she busted all up out of those stereotypes and became her own person, and she became an equal match for Seth. She’s hiding a quiet ferocious strength and enormous courage under that fragile surface.

      Like

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