By Steven B. Fuson
I took another sip of my Crown and noticed that I had been unconsciously servicing “the itch” by tugging at my shirt sleeve through my heavy wool funeral suit. I needed to chip but I couldn’t walk all the way out to the truck; she needed me near and people would see. It was raining and the overcast gray-white of the front-room window reflected off the various facets of the ice cubes in my glass which, when held in the foreground of the hickory flooring in her dining room, created a color scheme reminiscent of early 80’s minimalist apartment décor; you know, the kind with a Nagle print over the white brick fireplace. As I stared into the glass, I overheard a couple of the high school girls whisper about how hot he was and that they would have hooked-up with him in an instant and that they could not understand how she could give him up for that.
I remember thinking about how beautiful and caring and loving she had always been. All the way back to the summer days at the local softball fields talking behind the bleachers about G_d and Karma and Nuclear War. I remember thinking that she was the most intelligent woman that I had ever met. I remembered that she was always generous of spirit – never without understanding or true forgiveness for those who would do her harm. I remembered the way she smelled of saddle soap, hay and heady femininity after unloading the wagon in the August sun; how that very sun burst through, and back-lighted, the loose ringlets in her hair burning the image permanently in my mind’s-eye. I remembered how, on that day, she had convinced me that I could be forgiven; that to go on with my life was not an affront to G_d; that my sins were those of a boy forced to grow up way too quickly; that, at that instant, G_d was weeping for my pain and hoping that I would find solace. I remember how, even though we were damp with sweat, prickly from chaff and I was crying uncontrollably, I was not embarrassed or restrained in our hug. I remembered how, on the day she walked into my office, her hair and scent launched me into a reverie of that spiritual day three decades past.
Although she had tried to wipe her cheeks clean, I could tell that she had been crying. As she mustered the nerve to talk, what I saw in her eyes was sadness so profound that it could only have been known by one who dared to love completely.