A crossing . . .
By Jing Villamil
WAS it browning or greening, this broad strip of grass fronting the half-block of her home? And as she pondered on the puzzle, she slid down to it on her numbed haunches. She crossed her legs, leaned her elbows on her thighs, and rested her chin on clasped fingers. Her eyelids drooped low, and she watched between lashes the world winding down to dusk lazily, drowsily.
She sighed: this heatwave is stretching too long; but, stretched longer is the pandemic. She saw the frontliners briskly shuffling by. They were coming home. Where and what else to, but family, dinner cooked by loving hands, group cuddle in front of the TV, a goodnight sleep?
She sighed again. Then she saw him wafting to her through her lashes. So familiar, so clear, so dear. He wore white this time, blue thin stripes running down. He paused across the street. He crossed over. He dropped down by her side. He crossed his legs. And reached out for her hand. They talked, mostly of things mundane. They did not have to be smart. They were content listening to each other’s voice. His, with a hint of a smile, of a burst of a laugh. Hers, sweet and low and a song waiting to be sung.
After a long while, he helped her to her chair. He stepped back to push the chair through a shaded path. To where her parents were taking their afternoon tea beneath the arbor, a calm spot before the forest of a collection beyond. Her parents gave their hands to bless his forehead. And offered him his cup of coffee.
He sat with them for a while. He took in the sight: of her, of her Dad and Mom, of her, of the beauty of a wilderness of leaves and flowers reined in, in ordered abundance. Of her.
“They like me,” his brows squinted his question. She nodded her reply, “yes, did you not know that by now?”
When he left, it seemed he took with him the light. It was gone in one swift fling of a wand. A crossing, from dusk to dark.
One recent night, she dreamed he came back. She was looking out to the far mountains, in search of heaven yonder. “You do not wear white over the red of your dress. You stifle the colors, the surge of life.”
She whirled around in surprise. And he lifted her, hugged her tight. And loved her with his touch and with his heart for the first time and last.
But. It was just a dream. If it was not, it would have hurt more.
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