BACK TO THE PAST: DAFFODILS FOR VICTORIA

This literary piece was first written by Mrs. Rosemarie Pia L. Sagsago, former “roving reporter” of “The Saint Louis Student Chronicle”, in 1983. This paper served as the predecessor to “White and Blue” and was thus, the first university-wide paper of SLU. By looking at the past and realizing what may have laid within the minds of the previous generation, we hope that our readers may become enlightened and appreciative of those who have set the foundation for what we have today.

Typewriters were used by publications at the time this piece was written. Typos may be found unchanged and labeled with a “(sic)”. Everything has been copied verbatim from the blogger’s original copy of the newspaper where the piece was published.

The drawing included is the original art piece that accompanied the piece. Due credit goes to the artist, Rey C. Romero. 


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Sunlight filtered through the thin, dusty curtains, as the old man rocked back and forth in the dwindling light. It was half past six in the evening, and once again, no sound was heard in the huge, ancient house except the creaking of his rocking chair. He felt sad, so sad, and so alone…and he thought, “I am like a tired runner; the marathon is over; the spectators have gone, and suddenly, I find that I have nowhere to go”…and suddenly, he felt very bitter, and very tired.

His weary eyes travelled  across the room, and one by one, he saw objects that made him recall another time…another age. The huge candlesticks, the high-backed chairs, the black volumes that lined the shelves of what had once been one of the most renowned libraries in town…all these somehow made him feel nostalgia, a malancholy (sic) sadness for a time of the past. He turned his white, slightly-bent head. His eyes scanned the room for something that he had gazed at for the last forty years, something that brought him pain, and also joy…something that made him smile sadly, even as he felt that tug at his heart…even as he wept.

And there she was…smiling as ever; gazing at him with soulful eyes; eyes that only Victoria had. Her eyes that told him everything, and yet, seemed to make him feel that there was still a secret depth in her that was unknown to him, a mistery (sic) that he didn’t want to solve; because he wanted her to stay that way…he wanted her to look as she had always looked…he wanted her to stay forever.

How easily he could recall the past…and he was young agin (sic); no longer was he an old man with a crop of snow-white hair, with wrinkled round eyes, with a pained expression in his every move and gesture. He was young again, and very happy…for he was married to quiet, lovely victoria.

“Old Victoria is twenty-four; old Victoria is getting old…” he had chanted, as Victoria chased him round the room. It had been Victoria’s twenty-forth (sic) birthday, and he could not help making fun of her, for he was very much in love with his wife, nd (sic) it ws (sic) easy to lugh (sic) and look at life as one happy circus, because she was round (sic) to make everything bright.

“Wait till I get you, you little rat, and I’ll make you so sorry you’ll start crying for help,” Victoria yelled, as she chased him. She caught him, nd (sic) later they lughed (sic) and talked about how it wa sto (sic) grow old.

They had looked at the setting sun, and he had told her that, on his way home, he had seen some lovely daffodils by the side of the road, and they had looked beautiful against the sunset. He did not know just then what great sorrow his remark would bring upon their life together; he only remembered the daffodils, and how Victoria would love to put them in her hair. He had wanted to go out then, and take some for her, but the sky was dark…and he was afraid it would rain…

We had not seen her leave the house that night, forty years ago. It was only when he was reading a book that he heard footsteps running, footsteps muffled by the sound of the rain. He opened the door, and there stood Victoria, all wet and laughing, with several daffodils clasped in her hands. It was then that he remembered that she had always picked flowers on her birthday; she once told him it always helped make her day happy.

Dear Victoria…those daffodils made her say goodbye–made that smile fade forever…and suddenly, he felt old again. Gazing at her soulful eyes, he could not remember why she had to say goodbye. It was one day, too many years ago.

She looked beautiful in her portrait–the portrait that he himself had painted of her on her twenty-first birthday, shortly after their baby girl had been born; a portrait that had magically captured the meaning in her eyes, and the unspoken feeling in her smile. But he still could not understand why she had left…

Suddenly, somewhere behind him, a door opened, and in a bizarre moment, there was beautiful Victoria, standing in the doorway, gazing at him, smiling…

“Victoria, my dear, dear Victoria,” the broken voice uttered, for age had made his voice weak, and soft. He felt so old, and so tired…and Victoria ran and threw her arms around him.

“Grandpa, you’re sitting in the dark again! You always look so sad…would you like to come out and watch the pretty daffodils by the side of the road?”

But no, this was not his Victoria, for in a fleeting moment of sadness, he remembered that his wife Victoria had died forty years ago. She got soaked in the rain, and she died of pneumonia a week later. She had died on this day, forty years ago.

The old man looked out the window, and the daffodils swayed in the breeze, a great distance away, as young Victoria’s arms rested around his sagging shoulders. His tears blurred his vision, and deep in the recesses of his heart, he knew that no matter how much he wished and prayed, Victoria was never coming back…not even for the daffodils that made her say goodbye.

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