Monday, 7 February 2011
I would have slept all night, snug as a lass in a two-man tent, if he hadn’t added another blanket to the two he’d already placed on top of me. The weight was welcome but dream math told me he was down to zero covers, and when I opened my eyes he was shivering against the taffeta. He wouldn’t accept his blankets back, I knew. He wouldn’t get under the pile of sleeping bags with me, either.
I said, “We should take a walk.”
It should have been September. It could have been October, at the latest, but he waited until my first real live real work project was over and packaged and printed and done. The middle of the night in the middle of the Nantahala in the middle of winter. February 14th.
The stars were bright and the moon was brighter and we walked without flashlights to a bluff overlooking the only still water a hundred miles in any direction. “You could convince yourself you’re a god up here,” I said. “God!” I shouted over the edge of the cliff. God-od-od-od-od.
“You could be a god,” I said, turning around to face him. “You could be trusted to use your powers for good.”
He said, “How do you know?”
I said, “Because I know what you want.”
He said, “Really? Do you?”
“Sure,” I said. I grinned in the moonlight. “Why, you’re all love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and self-control. Fruits of the spirit. Bind up the broken-hearted. Preach good news to the poor. That’s what you want. Exactly what you want. That is just the thing.”
He said, “Really? Is it?”
“What do you want, then?” I nudged him with my shoulder. “What do you want most in the whole wide world?”
“What do you want most in the whole wide world?”
“I want you to answer the question.”
He laughed, loud and clear, because it was true. It’s always been what I want rightthen, a million best desires every day.
“I want to be what you want most in the whole wide world.”
I said, “You are!” And he laughed some more. Because, again, I was telling the truth. Right then, I was telling the truth.
His wedding was perfect, overlooking that lake. And his daughter’s eyes were an even blue-er blue. Her middle name was “Anne,” he told me. “Anne with an ‘e’.” “Like the book!” I said. “Like the book,” he said. “The book is just the thing.”
I would have slept all night, snug as a lass in a king size suite, if her hand hadn’t found its way under the hem of my t-shirt. The weight was welcome, but drunk math told me I’d only known her two days, and when I opened my eyes I could barely see her irises. I wouldn’t ask her to move her hand, she knew. We wouldn’t be getting under the covers, either.
She said, “I could convince myself you’re in love with me.”
I said, “I could too.”
She laughed like he laughed, like the thousand laughs between them, said, “When do you fly back home?”
It was eight years later, exactly eight years after the lake and the moon and the echo of the Lord. “I suppose,” I said, “I suppose you could be my Valentine.” Then, “I leave the day after tomorrow.”
We had seen the sites, the tourist haunts. I would go, and she would stay. Chicago Hillary would be my new Boston Mike: giver of perfect days, frozen in time. A single shared plate of spaghetti. “Lady and the Tramp,” I said. “Bella Notte!” she said. And the taste of her lips was chalky.
O U Kid.
Ur EZ to luv.
Posted by Heather Anne Hogan at 3:13 pm