Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Prompt: Use this mixed personification: sorrow croons as love begs.


Response: I touch his hair. It's still wet with pool chlorine, drying in funny little spikes all over his head. I touch his hair as Simon and Garfunkel plays in the background - still blaring loud over the backyard speaker in the glow of strung Christmas lights from months before, but from inside the house it sounds like ambiance.

His hair is just starting to grow out from the last time he cut it - the ends are tangled and the whole mess is blond from exposure to the intensity of summer sunbeams.

It is our last day. Our last day in the last summer of our shared lives. Tomorrow I will wash the chlorine out of my own hair - less blond than his, though more green - for the last time in his family's shower with the black and white tile like an old-time diner. Tomorrow I will load my stuff into a truck and drive away to another state, another school.

Tomorrow he will wake up - later than me, after I'm already gone. He probably won't bother to wash his hair because he swims so often. He'll wear casual clothes and lounge all day until his mom orders him to finish packing. At the end of tomorrow, he'll load up his car and drive across the state line to go to college. He might call me . . . Maybe. But I know that this is our last day - last night - last moment.

He will forget me - making friends and listening to his favorite oldies so loud it drives even them crazy. I know I won't forget him - as hard as I'll try - but I also know that I won't call him either.

I realise I'm stroking his tousled hair and stop, afraid that I will wake him up. His skin radiates heat from the light sunburn of the day.

I have known him since worms were the only subject either of us knew anything about. I have loved him since before I met him; I dreamt up a prince just like him - bold and gallant and funny, though the affection for music from another time and an infectious smile were unforeseen perks.

I touch his hair again, gently. My dejection sings deep in my chest - trying to lull me into self-pity and doubt. My affection pleads not to be separated from him. Sorrow croons as love begs and, as neither of them can do me any good, I tell them to shut up.

I leave the living room. He will sleep on the couch all night, but I always go to the spare bedroom after he is sleeping so that his mom never has to wonder what we've been up to.

In the spare room, I cry. My sunburned face feels like it's cracking under the strain of the salt and power struggle of keeping my tears quiet.

I wake up early and wash the chlorine from my hair. I touch a bathroom tile - a chipped little black one - almost tenderly.

I walk past the living room - to see him one last time - but he isn't there. Feeling worse, I make my way to the kitchen. I can hear that his mom is up, cooking, and she will be furious if I leave without eating.

I walk in and feel my abused cheeks lift in a grin I can't control. He turns toward me and indicates a plate of pancakes at the place next to him. "Though we ought to celebrate our last day."

I get syrup in my bangs and my sunburn starts to sting as his mom tries to embarrass us both with stories about worms, but we both just laugh and Peter, Paul and Mary play in the background - as reassuring as a loved one's heartbeat.

Notes: This is dedicated to Julie, with love and oldies.

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