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 Category:  General Fiction
  Posted: April 28, 2015      Views: 65

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Ashley Wilkes
"Bring back The Wind IV" by joann r romei

Ashley Wilkes retreated to his study and opened a drawer of the worn pine desk. It was his great grandfathers and a safe haven for him when he needed to ressurrect the stability of his beloved past. He understood his future would now become a misery. And now more than ever he longed to escape not only the world, but the universe. What would become of him now?

He had been Major Ashley Wilkes and fought with the best first generation calverly the south ever birthed. But they lost miserably, something their forefathers never experienced or arrogantly thought possible. Ashley Wilkes knew he could honestly stand before God and proclaim he had no regrets about it. It was his duty to serve the Confederacy because he believed the south had created a perfect world. A magical place that embodied a leisurley experience of day to day living.
Time was spent experiencing beauty and the acres and acres of lush plantations where devoted slaves catered to their masters day and night.

He was fortunate to have returned from war in one piece, yet he knew he'd left his sanity somewhere on the battlefield of Gettysberg. Ever since the war ended and he returned to Georgia he felt useless as a man, human being and person for that fact. He hadn't learned a skill and had been raised to live a sheltered life as an aristocratic gentleman, content to fill his day with talking about philosophy and music. Entertaining guests from sun up to sun down serving the finest of delicies and mint julips.

His grand home of Twelve Oaks had been burned to the ground. His father had been killed at . When he heard the news a light had gone out of him. There was a sadness in him that remained no matter how much time had passed and he found it difficult to cope with the reality of a ravished south no matter how many distractions there were about him.

At any given moment Ashley would find himself staring off, aloof and despondent to the bustle of the new south the Yankees managed to rebuild about him, not knowing if an hour or minutes had passed by. For he was out of sorts and felt more like a spectator than particpant. Moreover the overwhelming reality that the purpose of his life, and what it symbolized to the old south, was gone forever.

He removed a bundle of worn letters tied with a ribbon from his beloveds bonnet on the day they announced their engagement. It was now three days since Melanie Hamilton Wilkes his wife died. They were apart during the war and the letters were the only thing that sustained him. He fingered the frayed worn edges slowly.

But she was gone now, taken from him. And for the first time he experienced true fear. A fear that left him paralyzed and full of despair. But nothing could remove her voice, the memory of the soft lines in her face and feel her warmth next to him. These images were imbedded in his conscious and as fresh as the flowers in her coffin. He reflected remosely, that it will be impossible to continue without the perfection and symmatery their marriage embodied. She was in his awakened breath and her essence was the perfume of the quaint home they made together. How will he survive not having her reassuring touch to bring him back to the world where he chose to escaped whenever a conflicting event send a wave of nausea through him.

Her melodic voice calmed anything and everything that ever plagued him. For Melanie was the gentlest of women and understood his thoughts without words or false demenstrations of outward affection. Never the less he thanked God he knew such a fine woman and wife for the short amount of time he had her, and ended each miserable day, inhaling the freshness of her memory on the pillow, only to awaken drowsy. Left with another harsh reality of having to live without her. He trembled like never before.

He opened the letters, many times he slept clutching on to them as they were alive, and may disappear into the harsh night. Ashley feared he'd never see Melaine again and it was a miracle she had survived the war being pregnant. His prayers were answered when he returned to find her alive and with a health baby boy named Beu, now five years old, a gentle child very much like himself, who would rather run off stoicly than strike a friend in retaliation of an insult.

Ashley picked up the quill He could not bear to never communicate with her again... and the visions were not enough to sustain him throughout the day or night. He printed carefully and methodically like he had years ago when he was in Fort Sumpter, To my beloved,... The dead cannot enjoy the things of life. And I am now dead. I ate pitifully this morning and could not taste what he was chewing. Words spoken to me by friends and family were unclear and as useless to me as his war rifle. With a fluter in his heart he stated that she had completed him in every form of a man. And was grateful he told her that daily as he held her fingers in his hand and kissed each one gently. For he had not one single regret, except never being able to hold her again. She had made him a better man, and human being. Ashley put down the quill, and rubbed his stiff fingers ,writing had made him tired. And he craved sleep. For sleep was a solace for him now.

He looked up and saw Uncle Peter, dressed in his mourning suit cautiously entered the room carrying fresh handkerchiefs. During the past few days he'd been checked on him frequently.

Ashley asked, " How is Aunt Pitty? A mess as well as I? Yet I will wager it is easier for you to comfort ten women than me these days Peter. " And he forced a tiny smile.

"Mr. Wilkes, someone here to see you."

Ashley rose slowly, the ink well tipped and spilled on the letter, but he did not notice. He was helpless and needed guidance. There was only one person that could help him. Always did help him.
He knew exactly who it was. And he needed her more now than ever.


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