Eyes Turn to Stone
"How often does it happen?". The question asked, barely above a whisper, between two souls wrestling with their own inner turmoil.
"Hmm? Sorry did you say something?" Grace's eyes darted around the room. Her mouth busy chewing on her bottom lip.
Victoria cleared her throat to ask again. "How often do the memories slip?"
"Oh... that. I... well you see it's... I... Well..." the words evaded escape. "I'm not sure I really want to think about that right now." She went back to staring at the green floral designs splayed on each cushion, eyes focused in on the curves of the pattern.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend. I was just curious, it... scares me." Victoria gripped the cloth of her dress nervously in her lap.
Grace's eyes snapped up to hers, perplexed at her confession. "Why?"
"Well, it's just ..." Victoria paused, searching her thoughts for how to say it nicely. "When I look at you, I see my fate played out in front of me." She spoke softly as the words washed over Grace. "When I see you, I see the fate of all of us, turned by you both. And to some lesser of us, an even worse fate."
There it was. The truth of it. Grace had been so blinded by her own pain, that she couldn't see it staring back at her. She hadn't wanted to see what their actions had produced. The price of good intentions.
"You... you're right."
Grace turned to look at Victoria fully. She needed to face her, to face all of them and apologize for the torment they would experience over time. "You have every right to know what this is... what it's like. It's my burden, and my sorrow to have to share it with you."
Victoria nodded apprehensively.
Unsure whether to be relieved, or terrified to hear her future.
"It's slow... at first. Names slip. Small sections of your life voided. It's when pieces of your past begin to lay overtop the present. When you search for doors that aren't there, or find new ones in places you don't remember them being. It's like traveling through time without a map, and no notion of having traveled. The only warning before my mind jumps, is a feeling." Grace shuddered at the vivid sensations of emptiness and despair. "I'm overwhelmed by loneliness. All the people I love are gone, and I'm left grasping at whatever fragment of life I have left."
She stopped talking, afraid to reminisce in the pain for too long. The brief explanation would have to be sufficient for now. Silence consumed them both for a small eternity before Victoria deigned to speak.
"That sounds... like hell."
Grace snorted out a chuckle. Hell was an understatement. "In a way, yes. But the true hell, the thing that'll haunt you daily is seeing that... look reflected back at you in someone you loves eyes." A shiver ran down her spine, causing her to pull her blue tinted shawl tightly over her shoulders.
The question gave Grace pause for a moment, reflecting on all the times she'd look into his eyes and see it. Tears glazing over the steel blue of his irises. Brows contorting into downward slopes. Frustration. Hurt. A knowing ache.
"It's the look that tells you they've seen it all. Every breakdown. Every sting absorbed from not being remembered. The hurt of being fully aware of each moment they can't fix, and each memory that you won't be able to share again." Grace closed her eyes and saw his. "Everyday the look grows darker, and I can't help but wonder... what will be the final straw? When will he decide that he can no longer carry the shell of who I was? Each time I see him, I fear he won't see mine. That day will be the true hell. The day his eyes turn to stone."