The Island of Dimmer Ends
The Forgetting began on Dimmer Ends
Exiting the museum, you mount The Cormorant, who wanders a bit now, which is unlike him. He wishes to avoid your next destination. You would let him, since you cannot remember what it is yourself, but by now you have made the best of friends with his wing, who has been paying attention this entire time, and tells you to dig down in your case. You do, and capture a coral cameo bound in filigreed silver with a tiny bell dangling from its base. When the bell rings in the wind of The Cormorant’s wing, nothing else can be heard. The wing maneuvers you downward.
Dimmer Ends is the most inviting of the islands of the Archipelago, with a rich, green and orange coastline, scintillating and warm. You spot a tower, astride two shorter ones. You finally recall The Baron’s Castle.
It was a letter in a bottle, written by The Baron, and found by you, that told you his story. And it’s made all the sadder as it is kindly excised from your mind by The Forgetting. The author wishes he could help, but helping is its own form of forgetting.
“My first Wondership carried us to the Archipelago in…I don’t know. It took somewhere between a day and ten years. We thought we were leaving to forget. I wanted to erase all of the colors of melancholy from her eyes and replace them with the hues of open ends. I wanted to wash the tatters of her heart in my ocean.
When we arrived, I built a castle for her, with rooms…I don’t know. It had somewhere between one hundred and ten thousand. Each one was faceted, sharp-edged, shaped like her strange habits and movements. Atop the highest tower I built an elongated pentagonal cupola, as she always suspected it was the shape of her soul. And the castle was so vast, and I was away and back and away so much, that I was afraid of losing her. So I fashioned a brooch with a tiny silver bell. The cameo was a portrait of…someone lost to her. It might have also been of her-I can’t remember.
I think she was happy. I also think she was never happy. You can’t really ask about things like that. They will go away. So I went away. Sailing away. Day after day after day. And she would stay, wandering from room to room tracing the meetings of walls with her skirt ends.
She took to things. Or the taking of her from me occurred. I would bring her things-fabrics, jewels, and spices from all of the corners. There were sixteen corners. That is one thing I can remember. With the bow of my Wondership I had begun to shape the world into a nonahedron for her and thought that I could give her a private geometry. She retreated into the reading of tealeaves and the winds.
Whenever I returned from sea, I would open the great oak doors, close them behind me, and hold my breath. In…I don’t know. It took somewhere in between a minute and six hours, but I would hear ringing, and pick up a loose thread that would lead me to her.
These threads came from the end of her skirts, which she would pick at all day. She would have looked so nice otherwise, but the pick pick pick.. Feet, yards, miles of thread. She picked because she said that she needed more loose ends in her life. I laughed at that, like a lot of things that she said. I think it hurt her. It hurt me.
One day, when I cam back form a particularly long voyage to the Mainland, I found her waiting for me at the door. Warm surprise gave way to panic when I saw that she was without her brooch. I cannot remember our conversation, but I will make something up for you:
‘What is the matter with you?’
‘You are away all the time. I hate being a lost and found.’
‘You’re never lost.’
‘Things are forgetting.’
‘I am as well. I am forgetting it all.’
‘Why don’t you come with me?’
‘No. I like the forgetting. I like the lost. I’d rather be one half than a hole.’
Or something like that. I left the next morning. When I returned, I entered knowing the silence and saw the brooch laying on the table in the atrium. The next…I don’t know. It was somewhere between a year and a century that was all a blur after that. I searched the castle, room beyond room within room next to room above room. I looked for threads, listened for the rustling of fabric or hair brushing forehead.
I searched and I forgot. My sturdy shoulders withered. My eyes moved from shades of waves to those of stone, sun lines faded to dust, my hands softened on the surface, but hardened underneath with the clutching for her. It took an age for dawn to break inside of me. What if she had left the castle altogether? Her wanderings could have taken her anywhere. I was lost!
An exploration of the grounds and Dimmer Ends yielded nothing. I had to find her. I had to get off of the island is she was indeed gone. Was she? There was not way to tell, only to feel that it was so.
By now nations had come and gone, and I probably was not even a Baron anymore. But the searching kept me, and kept me remembering while everything else embraced The Forgetting. The one thing I did let go of was the one thing I needed. I had lost my marriage to the sea and its ways.
My wondership gone, all knowledge of it working and construction vanished like her, like my Broached Woman.”
You know there is more to the…letter. Yes, that’s the name for it. A letter. You know that, what do you know? You know that it is time to go. The Cormorant is ancy and his…that word…wing…is asking to leave as well. But instinctively, deeply, you know there is another stop. Before you leave Dimmer Ends, you say this aloud and absently, but The Cormorant agrees in his own way: “A stop is in order. Now we stop so that we can start again.”
The Forgetting is the fault of those who think invisibility makes room for love.