And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me
~ Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left is under my head and his right hand doth embrace me.
~ Song of Solomon 2 4-6 (King James)
~ Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley
~ Song of Solomon 2 4-6 (King James)
|One rose by( biljana1313 deviantart.com)|
The Last Dance
Bucklebury, West Berkshire
Nina Sander must have been walking for hours.
But she had lost track of time.
It was dusk now.
She leaned against a tree.
Nina Sander closed her eyes to shut out the pain.
Memories were tumbling over themselves in her mind.
Bitter sweet memories.
Nina was twenty-three again.
Petite and exotic looking in a little black Betty Jackson shift dress.
Her dark hair tumbling about her shoulders.
And she was sitting alone at the bar in a club in Birmingham.
The Summarrow; the ultimate luxury clubbing destination.
Nina had left her lively girlfriends at their table.
Unable to hide her sadness any longer.
Now Nina was copiously wiping away her tears and trying hard to forget the man who had rejected her.
And she was losing the battle.
"Can I buy you a drink?" A sweetly accented voice asked her.
Those were the first words he ever spoken to her.
Nina turned to see a tall man.
Lean and athletic.
Scandinavian looking with white-blond hair.
He was boyishly handsome with an open face and the clearest blue eyes she had ever seen.
Then he smiled at her.
And Nina knew with all certainty that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.
It was simple.
"I don't drink ..." Nina said quickly looking bashfully away "my girlfriends thought they could coax me out for the night ... "
"This is the worst place to be alone" the man said as he grabbed a stool and sat beside her.
His warm voice was reassuring.
Suddenly Nina felt completely safe.
She was glad he was there.
"Sorry to pry but you look like you've been crying" the man added gently.
There was a sincere note of concern in his voice.
Nina looked up at him with big tragic eyes.
There was an earnest expression on his handsome face.
"It's a man ... what else could it be?" Nina answered trying to soften the edge in her voice.
She was trying desperately hard to the stem the flow of tears that were filling her eyes.
But the tears kept falling anyway.
"Sorry" he said simply.
And she knew that he meant it.
The couple fell silent for several moments.
There was a note of expectancy between them.
The young man noticed how warm Nina's hazel eyes were.
And how vibrant her olive complexion was and how lustrous her dark hair was.
Her pouting rose-bud lips were full.
She was as fragile and innocent as a May flower.
As exotic as a jasmine flower.
And she looked like a little lost girl.
The young man's heart skipped a beat.
Suddenly he wanted to be her knight in shining armour.
He wanted to protect her.
To kill dragons for her.
And take her to live in his big castle.
This tragic beauty was the woman he was going to marry.
Nina could feel the man looking intently at her.
And she liked it very much.
His gaze was suddenly very precious to her.
"My name is Nina" she said "Nina Toscano ... I'm half Spanish"
|papaveri (by absinth88 deviantart.com)|
His big hand was was firm and warm.
When he looked at her, it was as if he was looking right into her soul.
Nina's heart was racing.
He held her hand for the longest time.
"Great!" He answered jovially "My name is Mark ... and I'm half Swedish!"
They both giggled together.
Suddenly it all seemed absurd.
And Nina's tears were already a memory.
They were destined to meet.
It was written in the stars.
"You see ... you can laugh!" Mark pointed out cheerfully.
By the end of the evening Nina Toscano had forgotten about her treacherous lost love.
And that was how it all began.
"Do you know who he is?" Sara Romero asked Nina one evening.
Romero was half Spanish like her friend and she was an engaging brunette with large green eyes and an infectious laugh.
Sara had known Nina since they were toddlers.
They were curled up on the sofa in her smart Maida Vale flat.
"Take a look at this" Sara said opening a glossy magazine and handing it to her friend.
Nina's eyes widened.
The article was about him.
Mark Sander the handsome Formula One champion is winning hearts in Sand Diego as he enjoys a brief holiday before preparing for the San Moreno Grand Prix. There was no shortage of admirers as Sander sunbathed beside the pool at The Grand Del Mar hotel. "He's a gentlemen" a star struck holidaymaker informed Glitter magazine "He's so cute and polite" The 6ft sportsman is one of the most eligible bachelors today and has already entered the hall of fame.
Nina was smiling now.
There was a picture of Mark Sander.
Black Gucci sunglasses.
Black Speedo swimming trunks
Tanned and muscled.
Sipping a cocktail beside the pool.
Nina was lost for words.
She could barely contain her excitement.
"I think you've found your Prince" Sara Romero declared.
Nina had no idea that Mark Sander was a famous racing car driver.
The realisation had taken her totally by surprise.
He was so unaffected.
Mark was just the most handsome man she had ever seen.
The kindest man she had ever met.
And shortly after he called her.
And a new world opened up for them.
They spent hours talking to each other.
It felt as if they had always known each other.
Everything fit together.
Mark Sander treated Nina Toscano with the utmost circumspection and respect.
He was a gentleman.
And he was ushering her into a privileged world that she had never known before.
A world she only ever dreamed about.
Saw in the movies.
On the TV.
Suddenly it was her world too.
And it took her by surprise.
Before she knew it, Nina Toscano was caught up in a whirlwind.
They were the couple of the time.
They were mobbed.
They waited for her at her London beauty salon.
Her old life was gone.
Nina Toscano began to see her picture in magazines and newspapers.
She could hardly believe it.
It was like a dream.
The media interest was intense.
There were endless TV appearances and interviews.
And soon Nina was attending glittering parties and movie premier's on Mark's arm.
People wanted to speak to her.
They admired and envied her.
Nina's life had been turned upside down.
Every girl dreamed about marrying a Prince.
And it seemed that Nina really had.
Mark Sander was the most selfless man she had ever met.
He bought her parents a house in Highgate Wood..
And he helped her sister Marianna set up her own travel business.
He showered her with presents.
Delighting in her joy.
There was nothing he would not do.
"I've never been so happy" Nina told him one night.
They were on the balcony of his luxury Chelsea flat.
The whole of London glittered before them down below.
There was a full moon that night.
"People love me for who they think I am" he replied "they love Mark Sander the racing car driver. But you love me for who I really am"
They were soul mates.
They made love for the first time in a hotel in Paris.
Mark had been holding off.
Until it felt right.
The perfect timing.
They made love in a huge bed.
In an opulent hotel room.
The Champs Elysees Plaza Hotel.
A Parisian palace.
They sealed their love.
And barely left the hotel room for three days.
Mark Sander was the perfect lover.
Nina Toscano wept with joy as she nuzzled her face into his taut and muscled chest.
She had never tasted ecstasy like this before.
The couple dreamed about their future together.
The kids they would have.
Life could not be sweeter.
Fame cocked a snoop at Mark and Nina's private life together.
And she took it all in her stride.
Because with Mark at her side, Nina felt completely invincible.
She clung to him.
She clung to him as they ran through the streets of Paris to their limousine as camera's flashed away and reporters vied for their attention.
She clung to him as they walked down the red carpet at the Oscars ceremony.
And she clung to him at the funeral of his beloved father in Sweden.
She shared his grief like no other.
And now Nina Sander clung to her better-sweet memories.
Each precious to memory.
Not even the beauty of her surroundings could shake Nina from her reverie tonight.
She was trying to assuage the growing ache deep down in the pit of her heart.
But she was losing the battle.
Everything hurt like a physical wound.
It smote her.
The whole of time began the moment Nina Toscano met Mark Sander at The Summerrow.
And the whole of time ended when ...
It was getting colder now.
Nina hugged herself against the rising winds.
She ached for him.
Nina was lying in Mark's arms beneath the old oak tree.
"I think I'd die if I lost you" she said.
The dying light had cast his handsome face with a golden glow.
"Then why don't you marry me?" Mark replied with a smile.
"Really?" Nina said excitedly.
"Will you be my wife?" He asked her.
"I will!" She answered him.
Then they kissed.
"We were meant to be together"
Everything was beautiful.
Nina stared at the spot where they had lain that night.
Mark bent down and picked a daisy.
The symbol of purity and innocence.
Then Mark gently placed the flower in her hair.
"You are utterly beautiful" he whispered in her ear.
Mark took her hand and they walked hand-in-hand to the waiting limousine.
Nina smiled when she saw daisies growing beneath the tree.
Tears filled her eyes.
"How can they still keep growing?" She whispered.
Didn't they know?
She closed her eyes.
Mark was making love to her in his big bed.
Nina was transported.
Every erotic love play drew her deeper into him.
And even now Nina could still taste Mark in her mouth.
She could still smell Mark.
On every inch of her body.
He was under her skin.
He was a part of her.
She could still feel his warm touch.
|Kiss (by Teddy-bear1 deviantart.com)|
His muscled chest.
The white-blond hair as it fell across his brow.
She could still see his beautiful smile.
And hear his heart beating.
Nina lay on the ground beneath the tree.
Where they had once lain together.
The ground was sodden and damp.
Nina Sander opened up her arms.
Like Jesus on the cross.
Mark and Nina.
Running barefoot through the lapping waves on the day of their wedding in Maui.
They were both dressed in immaculate white.
Nina was a vision of loveliness in an elegant silk Chloe wedding dress.
She was holding a bouquet of pure white rose and her dark tresses were piled high upon her head with white oleanders in her hair.
Mark was a picture of dashing elegance in his pristine white Prada suit.
They were like a couple of angels.
And it was a brave new world.
Everything was brand new.
Pure and white.
Like the sand.
The sand the couple tumbled into as hundreds of cameras flashed around them and wedding guests and admirers cheered them on.
"We love you!" They cried.
The whole world was sharing in Mark and Nina's joy.
And they wanted to share their happiness with everyone.
The beach was crowded with hundreds of people clapping and cheering.
But Mark and Nina were lost in each other.
They only had eyes for each other.
Nina had said a little prayer.
In Sacred Hearts Mission Church.
She was counting every blessing.
Because her life was so beautiful now.
One moment she was running a little beauty salon in Notting Hill and the next she was a media darling with the most eligible bachelor in sport.
A man with a huge following.
A role model to countless people.
The whole world seemed to be at Nina's feet.
"Thank you" She whispered in the quiet church.
She had stepped off the roller-coaster.
All was still.
Nina Sander could still feel the peace she felt that day.
Now she saw herself racing through the lapping waves with Mark.
They were laughing.
And everyone was laughing with them.
The entire world was on the beach that day.
That night they stood on the balcony of their luxury hotel suite and Mark Sander looked deeply into the eyes of his new bride.
"You look absolutely beautiful" He said.
Then he kissed her tenderly.
The sun was setting.
Mark led Nina over to the big silken bed.
"I want this moment to last forever" she said.
It was perfect.
Now Nina's eyes filled with tears at the sweet memory.
A large crow suddenly squawked loudly as it flew overhead.
And she was taken back in time.
Nina was watching the race at the Formula One World Championship.
She had already seen Mark give the thumbs up.
Nina was sitting with the other wives in the stalls.
She was wearing a purple cotton Christian Dior dress.
And Nina could barely speak because she was so tense.
The other woman seemed to be taking everything in their stride as they talked animatedly among themselves and looked out for their loved ones.
But Nina Sander was not like them.
She could never relax until she knew Mark was okay.
Until he was in full view.
Until she saw his handsome smiling face before he put on his helmet.
Until he gave her the sign that everything was okay.
Only then could she settle.
The loud vibrating noise of the racing cars that sounded like thunder in the streets.
The smell of diesel.
The mounting sense of high expectations.
It was the breath of life to Mark Sander.
But it frightened Nina.
She sat restlessly in the stalls with the other wives.
Her almond-shaped eyes feverishly searching for her husband.
And a red and white Ferrari.
Then she saw him.
Mark Sander grinned broadly.
He gave Nina the thumbs up.
"I love you!" Mark mouthed.
Nina blew him a kiss.
Today she was particularly anxious.
Her hands were protectively cupping her swollen belly.
She was heavily pregnant.
Carrying their child.
The fruit of their love.
The baby had been stirring and discomfort had been steadily mounting all day.
Before the end of the race Nina was already in a private hospital in London.
The Portland Hospital.
They had taken good care of her.
The nurses encircled Nina as she groaned and writhed on the hospital bed.
The agony and the ecstasy.
"You're doing great, Mrs Sander!" Nurse Judy Gray informed her "Just a little push!"
The scream came from somewhere deep within her.
Fading into the sound of a new born baby's cry.
And the squawk of a black bird.
Nina stared up at the noisy bird as it let out another shrill cry.
Perched on a spindly branch.
It stared down at her with its nonchalant eye.
The bird of ill omen.
Portent of doom.
Then she remembered.
Mark being interviewed after the race.
It was half an hour into the press conference.
Ryan Lewis, Mark's capable PA, promptly entered the room and whispered into his ear.
It was news of great portent and the champion racing car driver gave a yelp of victory.
"I'm sorry to cut the party short, ladies and gentlemen!" Mark unexpectedly announced "But now I am going to go home to my wife and our new baby boy!"
A cheer arose from the press.
Mark Sander was beside himself with joy.
That evening he held baby Oliver in his arms for the first time.
The couple were back in their Berkshire mansion.
And life was sweet.
"He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen" Nina declared as she lay curled up on the white leather sofa.
Still exhausted from the exertion of childbirth.
"Beautiful like his mother" Mark Sander replied.
Then he handed the child to Lucia, the maid.
Nina looked so drawn and fragile.
Mark took his wife in his arms.
"Our family is complete" he said.
Nina closed her eyes again.
The sky had darkened and the ominous black bird had flown away with a piercing screech.
"Let him go" Mark urged her gently.
But Nina Sander refused to give up her child.
He had only lived for three months.
He would never be forgotten.
Nina was sitting on the edge of the bed and gently rocking herself and the dead baby in her arms.
But her eyes were fixed straight ahead.
As if in a trance.
Their beloved son could not have wanted for more.
But they had still found him dead in his cot.
Little Oliver looked as if he were sleeping.
Nina was overwrought.
Not even gentle Lucia the maid could soothe her.
Only Mark could reach her.
Nina had not stopped tormenting herself over little Oliver's tragic end.
She blamed herself.
"I should never have left him alone!" Nina kept repeating
"It's all my fault"
Mark gently removed the child from Nina's grasp.
And the waiting medic quietly took away her baby.
Then Mark gathered his distraught wife up in his big arms.
Nina watched over his shoulder as they took her son away.
She clung to her husband.
"Promise me that you'll never leave me!" Nina urged him.
"I will never leave you my love" Mark Sander assured her.
Gradually the nursery had become full of family members and friends.
Mark's mother Lottie had flown over from Stockholm in Sweden.
Nina's parents, Charity and Santiago Toscano had flown over from Álora in Spain.
Mariana was standing beside Sara Romero and her partner Mickey Carter.
And there were countless other family members and friends crowding into the bright yellow nursery room with its little rocking horses and mountain of teddy bears.
All grieving for little Oliver.
Nina Sander would never forget the face of her son.
It was burned into her soul.
The memory of his smile.
The bright blue eyes of his father.
As they lowered his tiny white coffin into the ground.
As Nina clung to her husband.
On that sad day.
Nina Sander was inconsolable.
Little Oliver had gone.
But he hadn't really left them.
The pain of his loss engulfed Nina like a tidal wave.
She rose from the ground and for several moments she stood looking up at the starless sky.
The moon had risen in a starless sky.
How lonely she looked.
Like Nina Sander.
An isolated figure against a tragic sky.
The sad face of the moon.
She must know how it felt.
The ancient graveyard looked so peaceful illuminated by the moonlight.
|Audi Heineken Formula One (by motionmedia deviantrt.com)|
Called to her.
And Nina Sander obeyed.
She walked towards the graveyard as the day she walked towards Mark Sander in the beautiful church.
She could see him now.
Standing beside his best man, Jake Aaker.
Mark was like the Prince in a fairy tale.
Handsome and brave.
Then Nina saw herself dancing with Mark to Louis Armstrong.
We Have All The Time in The World.
Eternity stretched out before them.
Mark was holding Nina close and looking deeply into her eyes.
Their souls were dancing too as they glided gracefully across the floor.
He spun her around and around.
And their audience erupted into cheers and terms of endearment.
The wedding party was carrying them along on a great tidal wave of love.
But Mark and Nina only had eyes for each other.
How she longed to dance with him again.
To be held in his arms.
To look once again into his beautiful eyes.
Such as the night of their last dance.
Alone in their beautiful Berkshire palace three days before ...
Just three days ...
It was the last dance.
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.
Time had stopped.
It had become obsolete.
Love was all that mattered.
Now Nina Sander walked through the graveyard.
She walked past endless gravestones and memorials stretching through time.
People of the past.
The fragrance of countless flowers filled the night air.
Flowers placed upon the graves.
The aroma of love.
All was peaceful.
All was still.
Somehow Nina Sander had anticipated it.
Perhaps it was because Mark had insisted on racing this time.
That Nina had begged him not to do it.
But he was daring and courageous.
Mark Sander had wanted to ride the Grand Prix one more time.
The smile on his handsome face.
The look in his shining blue eyes.
They had kissed so passionately on the steps.
And she would not let him go.
"I will never leave you my love" Mark Sander whispered to her.
And then he was away.
Pausing at the limousine.
As if something were pulling him back.
Mark turned and bounded back to Nina on the steps of their beautiful palace.
Nina was crying with joy.
As Mark spun her around and around.
And they kissed each other over and over again.
Their golden world.
Mark had paused before getting into the limousine, as if something were pulling him back.
Then he gave her one last look.
His eyes calling out to her.
Just heart speak.
Then Mark Sander disappeared into the limousine.
And he was gone.
And a part of Nina went with him.
The birds had stopped singing.
Surrounded by a sea of sleepers.
There beneath a sheltering oak tree was the small grave where a little one was buried.
Our Little Angel.
Beside it slumbered the one who needed no fanfare.
A heartfelt inscription upon the marble headstone.
Died 35 years.
"One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Nina's journey was finally over.
And at last she gave full vent to her grief.
Harsh sobs racked her body as she knelt at the grave of her husband.
The moon looked mournfully upon her.
Silently grieving with her
"I miss you so much" Nina Sander cried.
Tears streamed down her face.
Now she hugged herself against the rising winds.
Golden leaves swirled around her.
Mark had been killed on impact when his racing car veered off the track and crashed.
"He knew nothing" Jake Aaker assured Nina gently.
But she was too overcome to take it all in.
It was too much.
"You were his world" Aaker added.
And he was hers.
It had begun to rain now.
Then Nina remembered.
And her hands instinctively cupped her belly.
There was another life growing within her again.
A candle had been lit.
It was the child of their love.
Nina Sander remembered.
She discovered she was pregnant three days after his death.
There was a part of Mark living on through her.
And she could see him now.
"I will never leave you my love"
Nina Sander gave birth to a boy.
And she named him Mark.
Now Nina lay the bouquet upon her husband's grave.
Like the ones she wore in her hair the day they were married.
Her mother held the newborn in her arms as she watched her daughter spend precious moments at the grave of her husband.
Mark had gone.
But he had never left her.
"I will never leave you my love" Nina Sander whispered.
Love had conquered death.
Nina Sander never remarried.
No one could ever replace Mark.
And she would lay a bouquet of white oleanders upon his grave for the rest of her days.
|Sadness (by biljana1313 deviantart.com)|