Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 32 (Epilogue)

Three blocks away the winter raven lies.

He has fallen to one side and his tiny heart beats no more.
There is a movement inside his belly where vile little things crawl.
One by one they make their ascent out a warm throat.

From his mouth, they drop to the stark ground and blister.

I fear it has begun. . .

“Dark Monday”

The following morning, my mom and step-dad packed up the car and we left for Ontario
for an entire week. “Why can't Harmony come with us; this isn't fair!” I bolstered.
But they just kept ignoring me like I wasn't there, but there was no radio was on.
“Why won't you answer me?” They kept silent, and refused to say a word, while
I sat there; feeling like I was on a Holocaust train being escorted to Auschwitz.

Something was going on, and yet I could not pinpoint it.

Four hours into the car ride, I realized they were both acting very unusual.
Mother had not smoked one cigarette; he had not uttered one word, and it
began to feel as if I were now in a car with two strangers.

What is going on here? “Is this going to be another
ending badly?”
I thought. One day we'll show them what real
love is, and then they will understand

I am only on this trip at Harmony’s request, and she was so insistent!

Why couldn’t I stay with her like the last time?
Why was she pushing me away?
Why did she want to be alone?

All these thoughts floated around in my head like dust
and so they could not be put into any type of order.

Why wouldn’t she let me take care of her as I’d been doing for
the past three weeks? Why is everything changing when she needs
me the most?
We could weather the storm together, I just know it.

Although, this bug she had was a real persistent one, and
I pleaded with her
on numerous occasions to see a doctor.
medicine, she was not going to get better anytime soon.
Still she would not hear any of it, and told me to have faith.

Halfway through this vacation, if you can call it that, I began to withdraw. Like an addict
in need of a fix, I was becoming mentally unsound. There was no doubt about it, if I did
not get back home soon, I would not be able to last much longer like this. Aside from the
physical aches and pains that 'I would assess' had come from an intense longing, I was
becoming very confused and distraught. Before we left, this had progressed into pure panic
accompanied by a feeling of complete unbridled terror. Unable to do anything, I found
myself agonizing over it, until at last, I'd back in the loving arms of my baby once more. 

                                My beautiful angel, I have so much to tell you!

Even though it snowed here every day, it did nothing but torment me, for in my heart
I was alone with them. While the powers that be were inscribing my fate, I decided
I should just try to relax and make the best of a bad situation; not knowing that
once we arrived home, the very essence of my life would be displaced.

I picked up so many trinkets for Harmony/Timmy
and was overjoyed at the prospect of leaving!

When we returned home, mom found a pile of letters on the dining room table.
One of which was addressed to me from Harmony. It appeared our mail had
been brought in by Mrs. Papilloni, who left it there in a nice little stack.

I guess Harmony knew my mother wouldn’t open the letter, cause she never opened my
mail, and would hand it to me like she always did. There would be no reason for her to
start opening them today. I looked at the envelope and found I was exploding with joy.
I ran up to my bedroom, and could not wait to read what was inside it!

All the while, thinking that perhaps she was feeling better, and had planned something
wonderful for my return. My heart was racing with anticipation, for I knew within the
hour I would be safe in her loving arms once more! At least that's what I thought.

As I pulled the letter out of the envelope, I was elated!

The sweet smell of her favorite perfume emanating into the air, found my nostrils!
My heart exploded with joy and apprehension at the same time! I was baffled by
her erratic behavior, that would have caused major implications, had my mother
decided to open it first. As the letter was revealed, I saw the impression of her lips
in the form of a ruby red kiss on the upper right-hand corner of the page; and two

makeshift hearts in the bottom corners, that almost looked like a child drew them.

The letter read as follows:

My dearest love, I am so sick. I can barely move my legs,
and my arms are weak.
My complexion has become pallid
and my spirit sad. I am dying. I did not want to
alarm you,
but I find I have no other choice now than to tell you.

Please be strong,
and know that I wanted you forever.

In time, you would have been my husband.
(If you still
had love for me then.) You were wonderful to me.
No one has ever treated
me as warm and as kind as you,
but the time has come for me to say goodbye. . .

                                                                               Pg 229

I was diagnosed with cancer last year, and found out last month
it has spread to my pancreas. For a time it went into remission,
and the doctors told me I should have a positive outlook on life.

I really tried my love, but cannot put you through this
any longer,
and there is no way I can survive on my own anymore. My mother
and father have returned to the states
and are taking good care
of me, so you need not worry.
I feel I may not have much longer.

I do have but one wish for you, my little prince.

If you cannot fulfill my one wish, then you never loved me at all.

My wish is that you do not follow me. Where I am going you can
not go. Not now. I will watch over you and protect you, if I can.

Promise me you will not do anything foolish to hurt yourself.

“Promise me.”

If you do, then we will be separated in death.

I know this is difficult, but please try to understand and do
worry my love. God will call upon you when he is ready,
and I will be right here waiting for you.

P.S. - It's okay if you find someone else to love.
          I understand. It is your right.
          You'll always be "my" one and only.

                  Love forever - Harmony

She must have forgotten to put a return address on the envelope,
because I wanted to write her and tell her how badly I missed her
and how much I needed to see her again. To hold her in my arms.
To whisper softly in her ear and make everything better again.

                               It never happened.

Once Cupid was our friend. He pulled back on his bow to release
a flurry of love that continues to revolve around the earth to this
very day. Such angelic bliss was ours for the taking, and it is sad,
when I come to realize that only a handful of people shall ever
come to experience it again.

Soon, the days and nights of contentment and joy will be replaced
with indescribable misery to a point of suicidal rage, for I have
been filled with poison arrows, and the light in my heart that
once burned brightly is slowly growing dim.

If you can imagine how much I loved her,
then you're not even close.

After reading the letter, I ran to her house as though I were
being chased by demons.
I tried to open the door, but it was
locked, and so I reached into my pocket for the key.

As I stepped in, I saw with my own two eyes there was nothing there.

In slow motion, the key fell from my hand hitting the dull linoleum tiles
with such a dead sound, I thought it stuck to the floor. Standing there
in a catatonic haze, I felt my entire body succumbing to shock. Like
an incision had been made in my chest and my heart had suddenly
been yanked out; the blood drained from my face. . . It was over.

The house was now nothing more than a hollow shell, and there was
not one thing in that whole entire dwelling to remind me of Harmony.

Just the cold emptiness of lost dreams,
and one pink plastic Rainbow hanger.

She had been erased.

For a second everything seemed to stop, and I lost my balance.
I was too numb to cry. As I looked around, I honestly thought
I might be dreaming. I trembled as I walked up those stairs into
her room. Upon seeing the red rug and nothing else, I collapsed.

My thoughts swirling in confusion and I needed her so bad right now
that I felt like I might actually die. It was all gone and all I had left was
a tiny picture of her. I never thought it would end. I didn't think it could.

                                                                               Pg 230

The feeling I felt at that very moment, I could not even begin to
describe. It was despair in its purest form, encapsulated in grief
beyond that of human understanding. It is the darkest and loneliest
feeling a human being can ever begin to experience, and there is
no darker a place than that of complete and utter abandonment.

It felt as though the lights had permanently gone out in my universe. . .
It was the beginning of Dark Monday.

Like I had eaten from the tree of life to become a weed of death, and was
being hewn down and trampled upon. Indeed, I had knowingly sampled the
forbidden fruit and was now cursed to walk the earth forever without her. 

It was a fate worse than death, and I knew at that very moment what
it felt like to be cast out of Heaven; it aches to the very core of reason.

From that point on, school which I had almost begun to embrace, would become nothing more
than a prison term. I distanced myself from everyone, including my parents and pondered this
cruel fate. It got to the point where I could no longer look out my window, for every time I
saw that house, I saw a graveyard. I saw her dying in that house, while I was so far away.

                                      How alone she must have felt.
                                Probably worse than I feel right now.

                                              Reparata and The Delrons - I'm nobody's baby now

I asked God again and again and again,
why couldn't you have given me the cancer?
Why did my angel have to die?
Why do you hate me so much God?

Tell me why!!!

Can anyone out there understand what it's like to lose everything?
I pray you never know. What hurts the most is when I come to the
realization that I have to replace her. You can replace objects, and
you can repair things, but a woman as wonderful as Harmony
can never be replaced; nor can my life ever be mended.

When the impassioned cries turned to wailing, I buried my face deep into
the pillow and screamed, till the shattered dreams within the numbness
of my own brain displaced my emotions, and all was calm again.

Truth be said, in any other period of time
I would have been left to rot an insane asylum;
maybe I should have been. . .

                  Every morning upon waking I would look out my window and weep.

                                                The New Colony Six - Can't you see me cry

Please God, kill me. I shouted and I cried, but could never quite
come to terms with it. Was what we did so bad you had to take her
from me? I would have given my life for her and everything in it,
and one day the world would have understood this love of ours!

Are you listening to me? Why won't you hear me?

I then realized in all this horror,
maybe there's no one there either.

                                                                               Pg 231

The most wonderful place in the whole wide world turned into something so dark and
dreadful, I went out of my mind. It was becoming difficult to understand people when
they spoke to me, because the words were no longer being filtered properly, and the only
thing I saw when I looked out my doorway were the memories we shared slowly dying.

I used a roll of duct tape to completely cover my bedroom window, whereby confining
myself to seclusion. There I would weep for hours on end. I knew my life was over at
that moment, and I felt so horrified and frightened of everyone and everything around me.
The mere thought of not going over there anymore to see my angel had me stricken with
such deep affliction that I wasn't sure I would be able to live through the night.

The very thought of having to change direction and
go somewhere else, after all we've been through
vexed me to a point of rending my own flesh.

It wasn't real.
It couldn't be!
If there was a God out there,
it couldn't be!

I needed to go back to that house,
and I needed for her to be there again.
I needed for this to be just a bad dream.
I needed for us to be happy again, but
happiness and laughter left with Harmony.

Cutaways - Now that you're gone

Everything I once held dear, had been taken from
me and smashed
. I don't know who I am anymore.

I feel so lost without you, my
precious angel.

So uncertain of everyone around me.
Why must I be the one to live?

In the end, mom made the choice to move away, and so we took up residence
in Annadale. The new kids seemed to like me and always came around, but
on the inside of my hollow soul, there was nothing there. Every photograph I
saw made me think of Harmony, and every game I played made me feel like
the last person I ever wanted to be. I was so lost.

Less than a month went by when I heard my mother in the kitchen
reading the evening paper.
“Oh, no... Charlie,” she said in a choked
up voice. “Harmony passed away last night.”

My blood turned cold, and it was the onset of nightmares and torments, which plague me
to this very day. “She was so nice, and she was only twenty-two years old.” Silently, I went
upstairs to my room and cried inconsolably. Feeling I was losing my mind, I released a
blood-curdling scream inside my head of such intensity, it raised the hairs on my neck.

It is sad for me to say there is no time machine, nor Aladdin's lamp that could
send me back into her arms. Nothing could free my soul from the torment
that longed to extinguish the tiny flame that still burned brightly in my heart.

As I was dwelling upon our love and all the time we spent together, a song
came over the AM dial. A song that would take me to the very essence of
all anguish in my darkest and most terrifying hour. It was a song by David
Ruffin called, “My whole world ended.” I thought it was a brand-new song,
because I didn't hear it until that very moment, and right there I felt like
Judas Iscariot before the hanging. I pleaded to God to let this all be a bad
dream; that I would learn from it, but all he wanted to do was torture me.

David Ruffin - My whole world ended (The moment you left me)

Why was I so hated,
and what did I do that was so terrible it could not be forgiven?

I then came to the realization I had been cursed by God.
All because I fell in love and
decided to care for someone?
That's your reason to punish me for the rest of my life?

Because another human being found it in her heart to love me?
Is that really so wrong?

Please, I cried aloud, don't do this to me!
It was like salt being ground into a wound.

Such exquisite torment for someone so young. . .

What was I going to do now?

                                                                               Pg 232

As I sit in another time, typing from a modern day computer, I find
my eyes still produce the same salty tears they did over thirty years ago.

My stomach has awoken and is growling, desperately trying to digest
itself as I again, begin to weep uncontrollably. Why did I have to open
that door? Everything was going along just fine, but I had to go back.

I unearthed her because she needed to live again.

She should never have died in the first place, so I decided
to go back. I went back to breathe life into her one last time.

I feel she deserves at least that.

To live on in the hearts and minds of others who will
carry her spirit with them as they read this book. . .

                                                                      *Our book*

I needed to feel her hand in mine. Her warm embrace. Those beautiful innocent
eyes, exposing the true fragility of my soul. I needed to see you again, and now
I'm sick, again. Harmony, my dearest love, you will forever be my weakness.

                                             Midnight Shift - She's gone far away

Sitting at this desk, I feel I am shackled to my own private nightmare.
I have everything I need, but nothing worth any value because I'm alone.
Gazing into the mirror of lost time, I fear I am surrounded by demons.

One night in my torment, I thought about going over to
her house
and just lying there in the darkness. Maybe
she would come to me
and free me somehow from the
anguish which has burrowed its 
way into my heart,
but I knew that if I went into that house again,
I would not be leaving sane.

Toward the end of the month, a small box arrives in the mail and is addressed
to me. Mother brings it upstairs to my room, and questions me about it. I say,
I'm not sure who sent it, maybe it's from Timmy, and she let it go at that.

Carefully, I opened the box with a very small screwdriver and pulled the letter
out. Upon doing so, something fell out of a tissue and bounced under my bed.
It went all the way back by the headboard, and almost down the shaft where
the missing register was. It was Harmony's peace ring, and I came undone
as I squeezed it ever so tightly in my hand. My universe was rapidly being
consumed by the same black hole I remember from the mushroom experience.

Inside this small box were pages to a letter that had been folded
up and then stapled together. The first paragraph is all I can
reveal to you, and this I do with much hesitation.

Please don't be angry with me for leaving you, my love.
This is the last thing I
could ever want.
I waited and am sad, you have not replied back to me.
Have you
forgotten me so soon?

No baby, I would never forget you. . . I blurted out in horror,
before realizing, I was pleading to four empty walls.

There is no way to explain in any words, or logical form, that
feeling of detachment; that feeling of sheer helplessness which
came from trying to understand the degree of this madness.

Why was there no return address on the envelope,
and why was this happening?
Could it be a case of letter tampering?
Did the person who mailed the letter open the envelope,
read the letter, and rewrite a new envelope before mailing it?
Not possible, because it still had her handwriting. . .
Just then, I noticed in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope
something had been torn from it. Years later I would come to
understand, that was where a return address label had been affixed.

As I read on, it became obvious to me that her brother
followed his own heart in doing the unthinkable.

As you can tell by the handwriting,
I am not writing this, but
my brother,
for I am no longer able to write as I am far too weak.
This will be my
final letter to you,
and if you are holding it now, I am in the next life.

As you read on,
you are not alone my little prince,
for I am standing right beside you.

                                                                               Pg 233

This is as far as I am willing to take you. The rest of the letter
is far too painful to relive again, and I will not do that to myself.
I apologize. As I have given you this story and bared my soul for
a world to judge, it now appears I have opened a floodgate, I can
no longer close. I am not sure I will be able to endure this.

As I continued reading the letter, I found it to be five pages of the
most heart wrenching words my mind could ever begin to fully grasp.
All her hopes, aspirations, and dreams, that washed away were revealed
in this letter. How much she wanted to live and continue revolving her
life around me, until I was old enough to accept the responsibility of
having children. How she longed for the day she could travel abroad
and see the world with the man she loved, and our children.

What I came to realize, was that the love she had for me
would far outweigh any doubt that might have previously
existed, for she spoke of it in depth in her final hours and
my mind shattered. I wanted so dearly to become a man,
that I got lost in her eyes. Till at last, I became nothing.

Nothing but a pallbearer of mourning in a terrifying

world filled with gut-wrenching despair.

There is one part on the fifth page towards the very end
of the letter
that invokes tears every time I read it.

Take what I've given you, my darling,
and give it
in time to someone new.
Make her your world.
The world
I can no longer give you.

There can never be another you, my sweet love.
I pray for an end that doesn't come, and I weep,
unimpressed by what the years have shown me.

Looking back on all the wonderful times we spent together,
I can
truly say I love you more now than ever. If only I could
you in my arms again; kiss your lips again; watch you smile.

What a precious and beautiful dream we shared.
Has anyone ever wept in heaven?
I will, when I look into your eyes again.

As I look down at my hands, I notice my skin is changing.
I am no longer young. I am forty-four years old and that is twice the
age you were when you were taken from me. Will you even recognize
me when I come home to you, or will I be lost there too?

The letter which tore my heart open
I absorbed into the very fabric of my being,
till I became the pain of losing her.

                                                                               Pg 234

In the last part of the letter Harmony writes,

I saw something in your eyes that day.
The very first day we kissed; you remember.
The day I wanted to kill you, I was so angry!
Then your eyes filled with tears,
and you told me how much you cared for me.
I was stunned beyond words.
To see you that heartbroken over me
was more than my own heart could bear.
That look in your eyes, I will never forget it.
A woman knows when she is loved, Charlie.

When she is adored.

That is the picture I am taking with me,
when I leave this world.
Before I go,
I will give you a sign that I am okay.
Then you must promise to move on
and not dwell in my shadow, 
for I will not be in it.

Do you know that as I got to that part of the letter,
I felt an icy cold mist surround me, as if something
was trying to embrace me?

It went through my clothes and touched my skin like a moist towelette.
Then as subtle as a goodnight kiss, my lover departed forever.
A bond so precious, her loving wraith could not forget.
Harmony," I cried, "I can't hold you anymore!

Then I passed out.

From time to time, I can almost feel myself bleeding inside.
A gnawing pain that refuses to let up, like a painful addiction
that only hides; it no longer goes away. If only I could stop
thinking about you, sweetheart. To put this whole thing to rest,
so I can continue living. Maybe it's not too late for me to start
a family. Who am I kidding? I'm hooked on you baby.

If I have to wait a lifetime for the pain to subside, so be it.

Yet sometimes still, I am happy for I am loving you again.
In a place where remorse is non existent, and the innocent
virtues which once captured my heart are alive in your smile.

Traveling to distant places, I make you laugh as I have
always made you laugh, only this time I do it as a man,
but you can still see the boy in me.

Then we arrive at our house, which is noticeably different in
every dream! Nonetheless, it is beautiful because you decorate
it so well. Then I open my eyes to find it was all a deceitful lie.

We never made Jasmine and Ornelo either, I guess, or is this
the nightmare and the other side real? I'm not sure anymore.

                          It doesn't really matter anyway, for I am almost Home.

Sometimes I wonder how our children would have looked. Part me and part
Harmony, they would have been wonderful kids. We would have given them the
world, and in return they would have given us unending joy and consolation, but
some things are just not meant to be. They are the forbidden fruit of our sorrow.

If I should never have another enjoyable day;

see another beautiful smile;
touch another wonderful face.
If I should never hold another gentle hand;
then I can honestly say with a whole heart,
you were worth it, my darling.

What's worse than growing old, than growing old without her?
This I ask myself from time to time, but can truthfully think of
nothing worse than the fate I've been predestined to share
those kind enough to listen. . . Thank you.

In life, I learned more than I should have about love,
but I just wasn't
ready. Time holds no place for me now.

To be a man before you can be a boy
will ultimately destroy your soul.

In all truth, what we had was simply too beautiful
for this world;
it had to be saved for the next.
Where the wedding bells will toll, and there will no longer
be any
racial injustice, because we will be pure of heart.
At last, I will be found worthy to walk Harmony hand
in hand down
the misty lane for all eternity; while our
ancestors smile upon us, and God radiates his heavenly love
from a magnificently painted white ceiling known as infinity.

Through the terror, the madness and the outpouring of tears,
I never
stopped loving God.

I thought it was
God who stopped loving me.

The most ironic part of it all
is that once I was terrified of death. . .

Now I'm terrified of life.

                                                                               Pg 235

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