LIFE LINES

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Last Dance

I woke with the whisper-image
Of a mass of wind-swept golden curls,
Awash in desert sand
And boyish sweat,
Dirt and motorcycle grease

Then, there was “The Grin”
Huge and dopey.
Mouth corners would
Upward turn
Evolve into a crooked smirk
Then, unable to contain the mirth
A beautific smile would emerge,

Warm like Sunshine, from ear to ear.
Followed by a throaty chuckle.
A voice, teasing, taunting,
Deep for a young boy
Full of joy and abandon
Promising adventure,

Daring me to mount his bike,
Wrap my arms around
His sweaty, shirtless torso,
Rest my cheek against his
Naked, sun-bronzed back.

“Yeah, no,”
I dismissed him.
“My hair will get
Messed up.
And I'm wearing a skirt.
You're not wearing a shirt.
And you smell.”

“Girls like it,” he teased.
He revved his dirt bike,
Loud, Loud, LOUDER
Ignored my grimace.

His grin widened.
He pulled my hair,
Punched my arm,
Brushed his fingers
Against my cheek
Winked, as I slapped at his hand.

“Girls think I'm cute.”
“In your dreams,” I scoffed.
“In yours,” he said.
Then, just like that
He was gone.

The whisper-image clouded,
Spun, twisted, turned, then cleared.
Fast forward several years

Now, a young woman
Alone, on a stoop.
The concrete cold and unyielding…
“Like my future,” I thought.
Staring into cold winter's night
The glare from the lamp lights
Sparkling diamonds on damp grass.

He walked out of the party
A black knight with a
Golden aura.
“Didn't recognize you
In a shirt…” I quipped
“You can take it off,” he offered.
“Pass.” I rolled my eyes.
“Shame,” he teased then grinned.

We sat there, listening
To the sound of our breathing
Watching as each exhale
Danced and mingled in the cold air.

“So, a baby…”
“Yup”
“Dad?”
“Virgin Birth.”
“Plans?”
“Dunno.”
“How…?”
“Dunno.”
“Where…?”
“Dunno.”

We sat in silence
Watching snow.

“You know…”, he said.
“Nope,” I said.
“I could be your hero…
Rescue you…” he said.
“Yep, still nope” I said.

More silence. More snow.

“You know…” he began.
I shook my head,
Rested my cheek
Against his hand.
Resisting the panic
To be saved.
“It's okay,” I say.
“I'll be okay…”
Then, once more, with conviction,
“We.
Will be.
Okay.”

More silence. More snow.

“Dunno,” you said.
“But…
I do know
That Girls think I'm cute.”
“Oh, for heaven's sake…
In your dreams…” I smiled.
He tugged my hair
Lightly punched my arm.
Kissed my hand
And then ever so quickly
Brushed his lips
Against mine.
Stealing a kiss.
“In yours,” he laughed.
“Incest,” I retorted
To the only kiss
Ever shared.

Then, just like that
He was gone.


Years passed
Life changed,
I changed.
Wondered if he had changed
Hoping not.
Wondered if he was happy.
Hoping so.
Wondered how his surname
Would sound with my given

Laughed at my momentary lapse
Rolled my eyes; shook my head.
Wondered at the ‘What if's…”
What if… I had said yes?
Then, I tucked the ‘what if's'
Back where they belonged
And locked the file with a sigh.

It was enough to know
That somewhere
He continued to Be
And just maybe
Smiled, sometimes,
At the memory of me

I heard the other day
In the most
Casual of ways
That he had gone.

Inexplicably bereft
I excused myself
And left.
Made my way
Into another room
Caught my breath
Wept
For things I might have shared
Like loving him
All these years.

Now, just like that
He was gone.

I dreamt last night
Of deepest purples and blackest blacks
Rolling and turning,
Blotches of color pushing and splitting,
Each color melding with itself
But never with the other.
Our last dance.
A chance to say goodbye.

Sometimes, I see his smile
The twinkle of his eyes
Among the night sky.

“The angels think I'm cute,”
I hear him say.

“In your dreams,” I whisper into air.
Just like that, he answers back.
“No, in yours.”





© Copyright 2023 K. Orian. All rights reserved.


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Last Dance