Once, a generation ago, very drunk and very desperate about far too many things, we’d lain near this tree, by this gravestone, in this cemetery, and made love in a very dark night. Not just shagged. Not just. It was more than that. It was, I want to think for both of us, an act of dressing wounds, of offering sanctuary, of providing respite.
Today the sun is bright and it touches us with warmth and we are older, safer, surer. Fuchsia climbs wildly up the ancient marker. Birds serenade us.
“I am so glad that you rang me this time,” she says, her voice not having changed at all, “I’d’a begun to imagine you were avoiding me.” She laughs, a perfect laugh. “No, I’d much more than begun. But now, it is wonderful to see you, to hear you.” I look down into the not cut recently enough grass. “I was nervous about it, too nervous, you were my mate’s girl, even if he was away.” I wait. I listen to the silence of her breathing. “I thought we shouldn’a done it.”
She puts a finger to my lips. “Don’t,” she simply says. “The best friends give the gifts we need when we need them.”
In the sun, in this place, we sit beside one another and say nothing. Later, in other places, we will tell each other of the twenty years past. Not now though. Not in this sanctuary.copyright 2008 by Ira Socol