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shadows and swans

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Complicated shadows look down from the bridge. Your ashes float on the water, then sink, the ones not eaten by swans. What is left of you here, in the city that held your life for the last twenty years, now your last instruction is fulfilled? Only your skull, a memento mori currently playing Yorick to Jack Crew’s Hamlet.

The shadows on the bridge were both your loves, though only one of them was – briefly – your lover. If you can call it that. You might: euphemism comes easily to you, more easily than honesty.

Both of them had that in abundance, on stage at least. Ellen was the most heartbreakingly truthful Ophelia you’ve ever seen, but just that little bit of added guilt and panic made her shine so bright you could hardly bear to watch her. And Geoffrey – the raw truth of every show made you weep. Still does, when you remember it.

That Hamlet you brought out in him was the thing you’d be judged by for the rest of your life. The hell of perfection you’d made for all three of you. A very well-lit hell if I do say so myself, you joked, but it was true.

Did you mean to break them up, or to light that hell still brighter? Even to yourself you wouldn’t admit it either way. That was about power, you told Geoffrey in prison, the truest thing you’d said, or let yourself think, in years. Has death freed you into honesty at last? Only time will tell.

Whatever of your consciousness remains, your body is gone now, scattered, drowned, working its way through the digestive system of the local wildfowl. Your complicated shadows on the bridge, temporarily in sympathy with each other, turn away in search of coffee, Ellen clasping Geoffrey’s arm.