Monday, August 3, 2009

Nothing But Ghosts

I saw my mom pull a flower straight out of a tree. I saw her stand, take the flower to the bride, and bow her head. I saw her go back to the bench and sit down the my dad and ask him, "Would you marry me again, Jimmy? Would you?"
"In a heartbeat," he said, "and you know it."
"I wouldn't take any of it back," Mom said, and maybe I don't know how you put regret inside a painting, maybe I can't figure out Miss Martine, maybe I can't really save my dad from sadness, but maybe so much time goes by that you start to understand how beauty and sadness can both live in one place. My eyes are heavy and the air is still hot. I may already be dreaming.


I lost Mom until the parade moved on, wound itself away from the harbor and up into the crooked streets. I turned and saw her standing on the edge of things--too thin, I realize now, and frail, the wind caught up in her hair. She'd kept her secret the whole trip long. She stood in that strange, chilled mist, alone, alive , but knowing what would come. History is never absolute truth. It isn't just the thing that was. It's the thing that could have been.


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