The Last Waltz
by Peter J. Rosado
forum: The Last Waltz
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The Last Waltz


        Both of their lives had ended, and their memories of one another were but small threads of distant events. And the small line that balanced itself over the edge cut the rope that tied them together—separating them.

        Both of them were dethroned from the paradise that made them live and die.

        And only at the end of the tunnel, they stand together unrecognizable to one another.

        "I haven't seen you before." The woman that sold the tickets to the eleven o' clock train declared. She had asked, for everyday she saw the same monotony and waited—

        An old woman, of antiquity, asked for space in the line—

        A distant boy—apparently lost—didn't know he would never see his mother; he played with a small ball, humming a bedtime song.

        He couldn't distinguish the colors of life and death.

        The clamor of souls was endless. It was an endless line that awaited a turn at the ticket booth.

        But this man that now stood in front of her, yes, this same man, seemed familiar.

        The man, upon the declaration, felt an utter feeling of confusion envelop him.

        "I don't even know where I am, but I know I am dead," he replied, his face never changing the tone of confusion he wore.

        The woman shook her head in negation, stamped his passport, and gave him a ticket, ignoring the thematic.

        The accident had been very quick, while he was crossing the avenue, on the way to his house. In the distance a fiery metal beast approached—a killer weapon—and its rider a man in a great hurry, maybe to work, maybe to a date, maybe running from a crime, or maybe placed there by an unseen force called destiny, no one knows, for no one was there to help the doomed man when it happened. The driver of the car, as hurried as he was, found no time to press the brakes, impacting the old man.

        It had been a quick and painless death, a mad and wild death, an instant death, the envy of many.

        But before that, some forty years before… there was Alice.

* * *

        The woman wore a golden dress, not a real gold dress, for she was poor. She was a farmer's daughter and this was her wedding. A young woman she was, just about twenty, of straight brownish hair and blue eyes—a deadly, sensual and morbid combination—she was a princess. Of all the roses and tulips, she was the prettiest, a mixture of both. She gazed and smelled at a bouquet of flowers that embarrassed itself with her beauty.

        And the young man named Miguel noticed her husband was away chatting with the many gentlemen of the party, and being sparkled by the woman's beauty, he headed towards her. He had no shame of being a commoner on the house of a rich hacendado, and he had no shame at all of speaking to his wife, either. For he had something that had been passed down by his grandfather—he had pride.

        With his gentleman's hat in place, his lent coat very well ironed and dress pants a bit wrinkled, a smile his only possession. He spoke to her.

        The young woman raised her eyes from the bouquet and smiled at the gentleman and he smiled back.

        And as if it were a sudden command, a spiritual order, an invisible rope tied to his tail, or maybe just the pearly white: the man stopped in front of her and breathed hard.

        "Nice bouquet, isn't it?" she asked in between smooth lips, pearly whites and a farmer's daughter's accent.

        "Yes, it is perfect," he replied, "but you far surpass its perfection." he added with a smile, an educated phrase, and was replied by a perfect laugh.

        "You are one of those who flatter women," she said, still laughing.

        "No… I am one of those that fall in love."

        And he took her hand.

        Under infinite lights—and away from the hacendado—they both danced to the tune of a composer unknown to them. Stares riddling them, stares that said:

        "Why does the wife dance with the farmer?" one asked. "Isn't she married?" the other wondered. "It looks like the hacendado isn't worth a dime in bed." One full of envy insulted: "Who dances Mozart like that?" The other asked, "Only a farmer's daughter and a servant… only those that don't know Mozart."

        But never did they care, as Mozart provoked in them a sort of cryptic forbidden love.

        They danced all night, but sometime the night had to come to an end and every one had to leave, and the servants had to clean up, and the hacendado must have his honeymoon.

        So there they were, walking down the old hacienda's train station—over the cobbled sidewalks and by the lone wooden seats—just next to the hacendado's house. The life of the party was over, and they could hear the invitees bidding farewell. It was late, after all.

        So Miguel took Alice's hand and said:

        "This was a magical night." He looked at her eyes.

        "What is your name?" he asked.

        "Alice," she said, smiling, her head bowed low. But Miguel being the military man, Miguel being the well trained servant and Miguel being a farmer knew how to read facial expressions. Something was wrong.

        "I notice you are sad, what's wrong Alice?" Miguel asked.

        And Alice lowered her head, sporting several tears that ran down her cheek. Miguel saw this and caressed Alicia's face with a hoe-battered hand—for he was a farmer and not a rich man—but he was educated and had his love to offer her.

        "Oh, don't cry… just remember the magic of this night," he said, comforting, "our lov—"

        And he was interrupted.

        "Yes, it is because of that Miguel… this night has been so special, and never will it repeat itself again."

        There are no words to describe what happened next. But young Miguel felt as a knife was raised and then lowered, targeting his heart and digging deep into it.

        "I am very sorry, sir, but my husband waits." Alice said, letting go of his hands and bowing courteously, as she had been trained to do so, as she had been forced to do so.

        Like a golden shooting star, she retired to the house, leaving Miguel in his silent anguish—a hand extended in thin air—trying to catch her.

        But no one had gone to space and conquered a star.

        "Wait, Alice! Come with me! We shall leave this place and you shall have your freedom!" he thought about yelling. He thought about picking up a pistol and shooting his employer dead, but found no energy, for his heart had been broken.

        And so Miguel quit his job as a servant for the hacendado and spent his life roaming as an angry and anguished ghost right until the last minute of his life… right until the last impact.

        And it was in that exact same moment that the energy we call entropy acted, just right there in After Life's train station Miguel suddenly noted a familiar spark in said woman's eye.

        "Alice," he whispered and Alice recognized him.

        "Miguel," she replied, blue eyes full of tears upon the vague remembrance of that man that had ever truly made her happy.

        There was a rebellion of angry, hurried souls, on the line. But both of them were still in trance.

        Alice hung a sign on her window:

"I'll be back in one thousand years and stellar trips."

        Then both souls walked After Life's train station—over the cobbled sidewalks and by the lone seats—the rebellion of souls far behind.

        "It's been such a long time since I've last seen you," Miguel said, his hand on Alice's cheek. "I thought that I would never see your face again," he added, and she smiled.

        "You haven't changed one bit," he said again.

        "I have died, as you did. This," she said and her hand ran over her to show, "is what we call a reflex of the soul, a reflection of who we were." She kept on.

        "I died a ninety year old woman with lots and lots of children and grandchildren by my side. I was so old," she said. She smiled in remembrance, but Miguel lowered his head in apparent sadness.

        "I never had a family, I never married or had children—" Miguel lamented but Alice lifted a finger and put it on his lips.

        "Don't lament yourself here, dear. It is never too late to begin. Here is where the souls stop to buy tickets, like an airport to the after life. There is no paradise here after, just the train and then nothing but eternal rest. But here is where fathers and daughters meet, and grandchildren meet their grandmothers once more, where pets and small children reunite, and mothers meet their sons, and lovers meet their love—"

        "And I met you," Miguel interrupted. Alice's face shriveled, and she cried.

        But the train waited for no one, and so the train arrived at exactly eleven o' clock, drowning away the incessant droning of the souls that waited at the ticket booth.

        "And it separates us," Alice said in a sad, bitter tone as she saw the blue train tickets that Miguel still held in his hand.

        "No… we can still dance one more time," he said. And for the first time in his life after life, Miguel dared to challenge the forces that compose our universe… he took the tickets in both hands and ripped them apart, leaving him on an eternal limbo.

        "Perfect," he said and looked at Alice, and she shone as bright as ever, the same smile she had worn forty years ago on that memorable dance, her face unbreakable. He kissed her.

        There was the distant sound of the train leaving the station. There was the distant sound of the ravaging and clambering of the angry souls at the ticket booth, who waited for solace from beyond. And there was the sun that changed colors—from blue to green and then red again—and how the abstraction on the air. And there were the two souls and how that one last Waltz made them one… and how they shone forever.



copyright 2006 Peter J. Rosado.

Peter J. Rosado lives and writes in Puerto Rico.