Of the Leaves and of the Waves
by Everett A Warren
The following manuscript was pieced together from a large number of copies found strewn across the library steps. Someone had attempted to destroy the papers in an ash fire, but they somehow escaped extensive damages in part from the flames, and almost wholly free from ruin from the rains that extinguished them. Sadly, the author's name did not survive on any of the copies...
I am of the leaves, and she was of the waves.
They did not believe me, and they did not understand me. They talk of listening and they talk of hearing and they expound on the differences, and they straighten the diplomas on their walls, ever so unsubtly referring to the learned status heaped upon them, but they spend more time talking and speaking, so they do not understand.
Perhaps, now, they will take the time to read this missive. They will not need to hear, nor to listen, only to read and comprehend. I fear even that shall prove elusive, but I shall write this down nonetheless.
To begin with, I did not kill Miss Popularity. I shall call her thusly, and those familiar with the case will know of whom I speak, as it was for her death I faced my meagre sentence in that crawling chaos that is known as a sanatorium. A sanatorium, at least, to those who have never been imprisoned in its soft bindings. To end with, I did not kill Mr Popularity, although I daresay I shall be accused of that, should they ever find a remnant of his body or his flesh, or should he ever be indicated as having been last seen following me to the waves. By choosing to name both of my, pardon me, my alleged victims with the same surname is not entirely by accident, although they are not of relation by blood or marriage. But more of that as I am finally given the freedom of time and am lacking the quickening of their medications to loose my tongue and their gentle chiding and rearranging of what they may call my metaphors or similes, or whatever misuse of the lexicon comes to their feeble minds. For some, truth may not be enough. For others, quite plainly, the truth is far too much.
So how shall I start then, this tale of murders? Of the madness of the murderer? The pathos under which he laboured, blinding his caretakers so that they might think him harmless enough to release? The victims, then? – each well loved by family and community, for they never did no wrong to no one, speaketh the wise in television interviews. That is how this tale will be repeated, as journalists digest and decipher the clues, and juries hang on the words of lawyers and psychologists, and still they are all blind to the truth. I shall begin there: with the truth.
She was of the waves. I am of the leaves.
Metaphors spring to mind. Illusions deceive the minds of the overeducated. Crazy, the falling leaves in some film about walls, they say. I thought her to be a mermaid, beautiful as the ocean itself, and I tried to assist her in returning home, too forcefully for her poor, champion swimmer cheerleader captain lungs. Fanciful illusions, nothing more. I stray. It must be known now that when I say she was of the waves, I do not, for the merest moment, hint that Miss Popularity was of the waves. I think, at this early juncture in my narrative this must be understood. I know, without exception, that no one, no matter how many overpriced hours they may sit and pretend to listen and sketch doodles mindlessly in their little notebooks, daydreaming of Freud and his fallacious fancies, has passed this point successfully with truth in hand, mind, or body. This must be understood. Still I stray.
I am of the leaves, she was of the waves.
I did not know this at first.
I thought she was of the leaves.
Copyright (c) 2004 Everett Ambrose Warren