September’s Thursday Song

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In her house…

She stood watching the gathering dusk from the window as it settled along the back fence and slipped down to the ground as easily as a child returns home after an afternoon at play. The days were growing shorter. September brought the beginning of the dark months, the time the garden would lie dormant. Her hands moved over the food she was preparing for the evening, cutting the stems away from the long summer beans.  She sighed quietly as she cut the beans he had sent home with her in a chipped crockery bowl. The beans that grew in the garden where he hid his heart. …

 In his house…

He stood in the kitchen in front of the microwave; heating the food she had cooked for him earlier – the food she brought to him smiling like a girl, her long skirt whispering against her legs.  She offered a small feast in glass containers, their lids held on with blue rubber bands.  He watched the light settle behind the sky as he ate alone realizing he was single, again.  His thoughts deliberately turning away from her as he made his lists planning for the things he must do to complete his tasks.  He felt a chill, a draft of loneliness and he had a sudden desire to visit the garden in the night, to crawl among the beans, to feel the soft furry texture of their growth against his fingers. The garden where he sat alone one evening and admitted what his soul had known from the beginning. …

 In her house…

The scent from his garden lifted from the long summer beans and touched her, curling around her and pulling her into a longing that she wanted to forget.  Suddenly she thought of the shape of his hands as he had cooked for her that first time in his kitchen and his eyes as they followed her as she moved back and forth to set their table.  She remembered standing near him as he rinsed his hands in the water from the faucet, letting it run down his palms, and splay between his fingers making fans, and she felt an odd desire to plunge her own hands into the water with his and to feel the cool lick of the water along her own fingers.  She stood still and closed her eyes to this strange desire and when she looked up, he was watching her, a smile hidden in his eyes and the scent of the garden growing in the space between them.

 

In his house…

He rinsed his dishes under the faucet, never knowing of her desire to plunge her hands into the water with his, to grasp his fingers under the cool splash of the invisible.  When he thought of her, it was in frames of time, like photographs—the way she lowered her head sometimes when he looked at her—the depth of her eyes.  Her eyes haunted him.  He would look at her and her eyes would catch his, and he would feel as if she had reached deep inside, deep enough to touch something that had been only his, something more private than even he realized.  He would be unable to breathe until she broke her gaze, his heart slowly returning to the normal spacing of his rhythms.  He wondered in these moments if she would betray what she had found there.  He did not doubt that she saw more than he revealed.  What surprised him was her acceptance of what she saw.  She would tenderly touch his face, or run her thumb over his lips and the moment would pass into another memory.

 

In her house…

She pulled the window shade against the late summer darkness.  The beans lay on her plate uneaten, their life spent, and she traced their length with her finger.  Remembering the warm pull of his fingers against her skin as he had traced the shape of her breast in the moonlight one night, as they stood hidden, sheltered by the corn and tall beans.  She thought about the rituals they each performed and how they protected each of them, gave them a focus against this surprising longing that pulsed as steady as her heartbeat.  How those simple tasks that became rituals kept her from flying into jagged pieces, kept her from running through the garden screaming and demanding he admit that he knew what she knew.

 

In his house…

He sat before the computer screen reading the mail that she sent like doves across the sky. He was touched by her raw emotions but remained resolved in his determination to complete his tasks and perform his rituals.  He could hear the garden calling to him, and he knew that he would go out tomorrow and walk there alone. Gathering strength, just as he gathered the seeds for the next season, he would gather the unspoken secrets from his life.  His thoughts turned to her despite his resolve and he remembered that first magical night when he had showed her his home and his garden in the moonlight.  He remembered her earrings sparkling against the starry sky and his compelling desire to kiss the star she wore on a chain at her throat….

 

In her house…

She prepared for sleep.  Her body not nearly tired enough to fall into the ease of dreamless sleep without him.  The moon cast a milky shadow against her window and she stood for a while sending prayers across the sky, remembering another night.  Her fingers reached for a small glass box, a gift from him, and she held it a moment against her heart, hearing his voice, as it had been when he sang to her of his life, remembering the sweet timbre of his song and a thousand other moments that flickered and moved on.

 

In his house…

He climbed the stairs to his room half expecting to see her lying there wearing the soft blue gown that he (always) removed in another ritual.  A lover’s ritual they wove together beginning in the garden.  He saw the book she had left on the night table.  He held it a moment, and then furtive as a trespasser he carefully opened it and read a few pages.  He could hear the sound of her voice in the words, just as it had been when she read to him caressing the thoughts from the page, sometimes too softly for him to hear, but lulling him into peace with the rhythm of her breath.  He forced himself away from thoughts of her, reminding himself that he must complete his tasks, he must complete the goals he had set for himself, and he must keep moving his life forward with those things.  He had never meant….

 

Copyright 2008 This may not be copied or reprinted without express permission from the author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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