The Burning of The House Of Sylvia

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I like New York
I like the flow
This bar
I come here to relax with the piano
I come here to forget ….Sylvia.

Sylvia
A widow
Her husband died in the war
She never came out
She never came to town
Or to church
You could see her movement through the windows from time to time
a shadow
Fleeting

I was just starting in journalism
I wanted to be a success
And my first real chance came
When a story regarding Sylvia
And the loss of her husband landed on my desk

It required staying with Sylvia
For three weeks
Documenting her life
What she did
What she liked
Find out who she was
And if she was grieving

Her house
Was intimidating
more like a manor or hotel
dark
as if it held every
Demon haunted story
Branded by this city.

Inside wasn’t much better
Cold and consuming any light
Rather than being illuminated by my lamp.

I was startled by her ghostly movements
She never made a sound
Rather just floated from room to room
Dressed in black
Her red hair framing her face

The days passed
Without her sleeping
she sat around reading
Or in her window
Whispering to herself
Often going away into her room
For hours
Once I asked about her husband
all she said was
I’m too young and old for this I don’t know what to do

And then rose and left the room in her soft way of moving

I don’t know what it was
But on a particular rainy Sunday
Exploring the house and library
I noticed her bedroom door open
I couldn’t help looking around

It was dark
Consuming all my energy
Old photographs
And painting
covered the walls
And a desk at the window

this is my life do you know what you’ve been sent for?

I was startled turning around
I hadn’t noticed her in the room
But there she was
Standing in the corner
Filling the blackness
Her red hair almost like a fire
Framing her green eyes

I’m sorry I didn’t realize this was …I just..couldn’t help myself

you will find..there are darker rooms in the world then what you’ve seen here and darker evils than all mystery

Later I woke at the darkest hour of the night
There was faint singing
Like an echo
moving through the house
I looked out my window and saw her
Sitting in the garden playing a piano
I left that Monday

all I had was
A story
About a young woman
Racked with loneliness
Voices
And mystery

They published it like she was a witch
Condemning her property under
Eminent domain
She refused to leave
The banks came
And burned her out

I never saw her again
I remember seeing her face in the window
They never found her body
I personally like to think
She went back to her family
In London but I don’t know

Her property was ideal for a large bank…which ironically burned due to an electrical fire last Christmas

That’s my story

I came here to New York to get away
And write about new things
Real things
From time to time I’ll come in this bar
And find an old photograph of the city or of me playing
waiting on my piano
Sometimes I think I see her in a crowd
A flash of red hair …
But I never know for sure
I hope wherever she is
She found her center
I hope she found her light.

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