Georgina gave him another clap on the shoulder, but Finnian only chuckled and settled back with his head against her knee. And as she looked down on his unruly dark hair, a most curious sensation came over her. The years fell away, and it was another young man sitting at her feet, another dark head leaning against her knee. Like that time when she had stood among Dr. Neuburg’s collection of dead birds, the memories rose and whirled around her in a mad dance. Past and present melted into one.
He had poured out his innermost thoughts, had let her into the closely guarded bastion of his heart. Glowing with ardent love, he had read poems to her, out in the gardens, where the wind had ruffled his dark hair.
“Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
O I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands of life shall run.”
Empty fancies of youth.
How quickly his ardour had passed. And still … and still …
But it was her son who turned his head and smiled at her sweetly.
“Ah Mama, I love you so.”
A short, sharp sting in her heart, then she leaned forward and stroked his cheek. “I love you, too, my Finn.”
So much that she had given up her past and all that she had once been. So much that she had turned her memories into pale spectres. Horrid ghosts, which she tried to keep under lock and key because their bones could never be found and buried.
But Georgina had no regrets. Given a choice, she would do it all again.
Happy, happy, happy! 🙂