Contributed by

= For Marianne J. =


She had the most beautiful blue eyes.
Not surprising really as the rest of her was beautiful too…
…her long blonde hair…her slim stature and refined features. Astounding.
The only thing I could fault was her last name – ‘BLOMST’.
Certainly not the most beautiful name in the world…
…but even that was somehow endearing.

I do miss those times…just as I miss her.
I know I’ll never be able to replace her, not in the true sense anyway.
It all makes perfect sense to me now. All the signs were there.
I saw the signs but could never summon the courage to fully entertain them.
I just couldn’t put it all together…until it was all too late.
It was all just so surreal. All just so fantastic…

There’s one time in particular that sticks with me now.
We had been busy between the sheets but that isn’t so much what I remember.
It was just after…when I collapsed exhausted, staring into those mysterious blue
eyes. I remember distinctly what she whispered, placing a soft hand on my
unpillowed cheek…

“I wish you could come with me.”

“Where?” I asked with bemused curiosity.

She just smiled enigmatically, almost sadly…and reached for a cigarette.
You see Evi Blomst smoked like a train…and I guess, in hindsight, she really
could afford to? She never subscribed to the harm it may cause. It seemed she
smoked with unchained immunity. I liked watching her smoke. She really was
quite adept at it – if indeed, one can be? Soon her jaw was clicking out smoke
rings – two or three smaller ones shimmying expertly through the centre of the
initial larger one that was now floating up in an obtuse, swirling oval.
Her smoking skills were nothing short of uncanny.

She put her cigarette in the grooved slot of the ashtray and sat silent on the
edge of the bed.

“So where exactly are you going?” I asked again, cheekily commandeering the

“The kitchen…” she said abruptly, wrapping her beautiful body in a silken

I sensed her initial statement was somewhat more profound…
…but there was no time to press her on it.

Evi left the room while tying off the cord on her maroon nightgown.
I soon heard the crystal clink of glasses and the fridge door being opened.
Upon her return she smiled as she walked through the door…
…just as an obscure Bach fugue filtered in from the lounge room speakers.

You see, while Evi Blomst was more than an accomplished musician
when she listened to music it was, invariably, some BACH.

* * * * *

I had no need for a car – not in this wonderful tree lined city.
I preferred my expensive lightweight bicycle as my mode of transport.
Evi had a car though…and she always insisted that SHE drive it.
We had a nice SAAB for a while but our current car was a Volvo.
I initially put it down to her Scandinavian heritage but I now realise
it was much more likely about safety. I think she felt kinda vulnerable.
She always seemed uneasy in the car…rarely chatty and always in control.
We only used the Volvo when it was absolutely necessary.
I really think now that she hated cars…and I was fine with that.
I hated cars as well.

We had been extremely happy for a decade or more…
…but things began to unravel once Evi Blomst hit 40.
Suddenly she was more sullen…more withdrawn and introspective.
I first put it down to boredom but it was much more than that.
I think she was just getting tired. Tired of the familiarity.
Routinely tired of our life?

Curiously enough, it was around this time that I started asking about children.
She would say things like “It’s not the right time” or “I don’t think I’d cope”.
I tended to agree, in some ways…but I also felt there was some underlying
problem. A problem she was very reluctant to discuss or in any way divulge.
I felt like, in her subterfuge, that she was trying to push me away?

It was also strange – bafflingly hypocritical…as around this time she also
developed a profound interest in pregnant women.
She would stare at them in the street and occasionally I would come home
and find her talking to a pregnant lady on our couch.
She would briefly introduce me and laugh it off as normal…
…but I couldn’t deny the feeling that something weird was going on?

Eventually, Evi became good friends with one of these pregnant ladies – Joanna.
Joanna and Malcolm. They were really quite interesting people. Friendly. Kind.
They also seemed to be fairly well off.

Joanna was plainly attractive with large green eyes and long brown hair.
She was a talented, well-grounded artist – into graphic design and the
occasional abstract oil.

Malcolm was an entrepreneur. A lanky, red cheeked Englishman with short tan
hair. He was polite and softly spoken with a reserve of quiet intelligence.
I admired his terse sarcasm most of all though…and his general lack of
pretension, distinctly non-evident even though he was a financial success and
what’s more, a sophisticated and well-rounded human being.

Despite our complicated problems, Evi all of a sudden started treating me really
well – kind and thoughtful. I did notice that her demeanour had changed however.
She went out of her way to please me and I was happy again for a while…
but for her, I don’t know…she just seemed kinda sad.
I knew something was up but she astutely resisted and kindly refuted my
continual and ongoing investigations to both fathom and remedy the situation.

She would often say…and I can still picture her sincere and beautiful face…
“I’m okay…everything’s fine!”

But it surely…most certainly…was not.

* * * * *

I remember the night with the utmost clarity.
It was cold and rainy. We had finished our meal and the best part of a bottle of
wine. I stared into the fire, content with Bach playing triumphantly on the stereo.

A bottle of wine later the phone rang. It was Malcolm.
He called from the hospital to let me know that Joanna had gone into labour
and that they wouldn’t be able to honour our upcoming dinner engagement.
I was really happy for them and thought Evi would be too.
I was completely wrong though…she acted pleased but I sensed sullen.
I asked her what was wrong but she wouldn’t say a word.
Instead, she just turned up the volume on the Bach…
and we slithered down…wordless and naked…
…to lay in the sensuous warmth of the fire.

“I’m sorry…” she whispered to me afterwards. “I’m so sorry…”

I was just plain baffled – happy…sleepy…and a li’l too drunk.

She soon slipped off to bed…

In the morning I awoke feeling terrible – parched with a prefrontal red wine
headache. She was cold to the touch and motionless…still and lifeless in the
eternal sleep of death. The shock, despair and disbelief – a page of words would
barely ‘scribe…

* * * * *

The police were suspicious of course…but were guarded in my grief.
The partner in these circumstances, as we all know, is always top of the suspect
list. The Coroner however found nothing. No culprit at all surprisingly enough?
I just signed all the forms and resigned myself to concur – a victim of
‘Natural Causes’?

It was of little consolation at the time but Evi’s insurance policy
(which I knew nothing about) had left me very well provided for.
I also discovered some very healthy and well hidden bank accounts.
So with a few astute and continually profitable investments…
…I would never have to work again.
I would give it all back though, if it would somehow bring her back to me.

I was also surprised to find out that she had left a sizable sum to Joanna.
They didn’t really need it but I was in no state (and didn’t feel the need) to
contest. They were after all our best and only friends…and Malcolm would soon
prove a very valuable ally – especially when it came to shrewd and robust

* * * * *

So yes, I stayed friends with Malcolm and Joanna.
And one time, years later, ‘Malcky’ had invited me around for an evening drink
to celebrate our recent windfall in South Western bean futures.

I’d arrived a bit early with a nice bottle of red but no one answered the door.
I could see a light on and walked around the outside of the house to see if
anyone was home. Much to my surprise, Casey, their teenage daughter was
sitting in the lounge with some headphones on. She was reading a book and…
much more to my surprise – was smoking.

Now I guess that was not that unusual although she was still quite young.
It was really the way she smoked – it was adult and adroit.
The cigarette looked right and comfortable in her hand. A veteran of many
cigarettes? And, to my amazement, she blew smoke rings! Smoke rings just
like – no…not possible?

I suddenly realised how ‘creepy’ it all was, so I tapped lightly on the window.
She soon noticed me – poor thing! It scared the livin’ daylight out of her!
She instantly sprang into action and frantically stubbed out the cigarette.
I motioned to the front door and after removing the headphones she walked off
to open it.

She opened the door with a flustered, guilty smile.

“Hey, sorry…I didn’t mean to frighten you. Is ya Dad home?” I felt uneasy too.

“He just called…said for you to wait. He got held up at work. He’s hopeless!
He said they won’t be long.”

“Ahhh…ok.” I said. “Would you like me to come back…er…wait in the -”

“No…of course not silly!” said Casey interrupting with a smile of reassurance.
She pulled me in by the arm and then closed the door.
“Come in…make yourself at home.”
I stood there momentarily, once again admiring the familiar open plan…
and then her, walking confidently back to the lounge room couch.

It wasn’t the first time I’d noticed it over the years but this time, for some reason,
it really hit me – her long blonde hair…her slim stature and refined features.
Astounding. There was no doubt whatsoever she was a beautiful young girl…
…but there was something else, something distinctly familiar?
And this familiarity sent a cold and stunning chill down my old and aged spine.

“Hey you won’t tell him will ya?” She started waving her hands around,
trying to diffuse the stale levitation of potentially incriminating smoke.
“Dad would kill me ya know?”

“Doesn’t he smell it?” I put the wine down and removed my heavy coat.

“Nah. He can’t smell shit. I usually put the fan on anyway.”

“Ah…right. Don’t worry. I won’t say a thing.” I made my way towards the lounge.

“Cool. Thanks. Hey do ya want a drink or sumthin’?” Casey walked off towards
the kitchen which was just a chrome filled section of the whole open living area.

“Sure…a beer would be great if you’ve got one?”

In the girl’s short absence I could hear the frequency of faint, tiny violins.
They were emanating from the still functioning headphones that she had hastily
discarded on to the couch. I leaned down towards them, squinting quizzically…
…and my ears soon detected classical. Classical!?
I would have firmly expected, for a girl of this age, some obscenely diatonic
boy band?

My astonishment was soon broken by the arrival of a cold beer.
In appreciation I lit a cigarette. I didn’t really need one but I thought it might help.

“Cool…thanks for the cover.” She sipped softly on a fresh can of Coke.

I was relieved…and secretly prayed that she didn’t drink alcohol as well!
“Hey sorry for…I mean…er…I didn’t mean to scare ya like that.”

“That’s ok. It was just with the headphones on and that…bit of a shock.”
The girl sat back down, stopped the CD player with the remote and placed the
headphones on the side table next to me and the ashtray.

“Hey where are the kids?” I said, still standing, looking off towards the unusually
quiet hallway.

“Asleep I hope. They had a big day at a party.”

“Ah.” I leaned down and tapped the ash off my cigarette.

“I keep hasslin’ Mum to have another one. They’re so cute…”

“What does ya Dad think about that?” I asked with a smile, knowing full well the
probable gist of Malcolm’s sarcastic response.

“He still blames me for the first two!” The girl looked up at me with wide blue

I chuckled with a closed lipped smile and looked at her for a moment.
“A party eh? So when’s YOUR birthday? I keep forgettin’…”
(I actually had a perfectly good idea when her birthday was but for some reason
I felt compelled to confirm the obscene, previously neglected coincidence.)

She was quick to divulge…and yes, the day was precisely what I thought it was.
That day…that strange and horrible day that left me wifeless, depressed and
empty. I sensed Casey had an inkling why I asked…but it was not in her interest
to either ask questions or answer them. She just drank her coke and carried on
like everything was normal.

I knew what was in there…there was no need to look but I pressed the button
anyway. It clicked and whirred…now buffering easily into mind – and suddenly it
all made perfect sense. And there, of course, sliding out in the now open CD tray
…was a silver disc of BACH.

* * * EPILOGUE * * *

So I sit here now, at home…tired before the fire with a dry glass of wine.
On the oak coffee table before me sits an old wooden chest that was Evi’s.
It’s quite small and the inside is lined with a thick purple felt which is scuffed and
worn. Fastened to the inside of the lid is a fancy but tarnished brass badge
which says ‘EVIGUNG’.
A paper note, scrawled hastily in Evi’s hand, sits atop the various effects and
clearly pronounces: ‘KEEP SAFE’.

Under the note there’s a very old photo album which I’ve barely seen before.
The first thing I notice is the faded but exquisite hand writing on the album title
page. It says:

The Eternal Flower’

I am able to quickly ascertain, via my li’l phone app that this is Danish or
Norwegian. ‘EVIG’ means ‘eternal’.
‘BLOMST’…that somewhat peculiar and wonderful sounding last name means
‘flower’. ‘EVIGUNG’ interestingly enough, translates to ‘forever young’.

There is also an old photo of a young Evi in ‘Frogner Park’.
(A large garden in the heart of Oslo).
Her oddly smiling but happy face takes up most of a long shot of Vigeland’s
rather astounding ‘Monolith’ monument.
And yes, while the resemblance is now somehow expected
…it is still uncanny and strangely unnerving – it could easily be…?

Easily indeed – if the truth be known. Deep down I always knew it was her.
Bach? I guess it was more her eyes, her face…and even the way she walked,
talked and blew ‘dem darn smoke rings.
So I have no doubt now, that somehow, Evi was now Casey…
…Mal and Joanne’s beautiful daughter.

I have a feeling that one day she will come for these possessions.
Or maybe she will wait ’til I’m gone – passed on from this world?
I mean one can only guess how this whole thing works?
Perhaps one day I would summon up the courage to ask her?
I have already decided however that I must keep her secret safe…
…if I am to keep HER safe – as all I ever really wanted to do was protect her.

I realise however, in that regard, that this very document is a betrayal but I pen it
now as a confession. For I know, dear reader, that very few of you will actually
come to regard these words as an esoteric truth. In any case there is no real
solid proof that cannot be explained away by mere coincidence.
So I conclude now with absolute certainty that no one (of sound mind) will ever
actually believe me.

While I may not necessarily agree with some of the aspects of the process,
I would say “LONG LIVE EVI!’ and that, as I have described, is a practical,
inexplicably profound certainty – barring some sort of unfortunate accident?

So…I know now that she had had…and would continue to have many
more incarnations…and many other very lucky men…
…but none of them, like myself, would ever wither with her.


ART DESIGN: Jamie Ryan
BASE PHOTO: Frogner Park – ‘The Monolith’
Photo by Andrew Shiva (Wikipedia Commons)
File: NOR-2016-Frogner Park-Vigeland Installation-The Monolith.jpg

STORY:  © Jamie W Ryan 2021


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