Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Lost Love, a Year Later

They threshed the field's long golden grass while I was gone this last week. Now all that's left is a wild turkey picking through the leavings and just below the fence, a tangled knot of Queen Anne's lace.

Everyone complains that the summer heat came too early this year without realizing that summer is here. The new green leaves of spring trees deepened and darkened into baked green - a hot, kiln-fired color. The final blooms on the magnolia turned a waxen buttery color, and the petals hang heavy and limp. Only after a rain does the melting Southern heat relent, turning briefly to a mist that rises from the road, the smell of ozone and wet burned things.

It's that sudden oppressive heat that descended when we weren't looking that reminded me of year ago: a surprisingly mild evening, late twilight, cool enough to go outside without losing your breath. How we walked slowly through the grass that felt fleshy and alive. And then the next day that came with merciless heat, even in the earliest hour of the day, when we pushed ourselves into the car with death at hand.

Who could breathe in such humidity and tears? The hot damp flush of despair rising up my throat, staining my neck, my cheeks. Who could avoid choking on thick air and salt water?

Who could forget the bright clear light that slanted through the windows, the dry, dead wheatness of the grass, the fervent green of the trees that he must've seen just before he closed his eyes?

Who could not wish, even a year later, for a gentle twilight and cricket song to soothe the sadness of missing him?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Haters Say the Darndest Things

The Linguista: "Ashley, that shirt you're wearing...it looks like you're trying to hide a pregnancy."

Evil Woman with Whom I was Forced to Work Last week: "You look nice today. You did well. I've never seen any of the women at your firm dress that well." And, on another occasion, "I told my boss that you are pretty competent."

Even More Evil Man I Encountered Last Week: "That's a sad look. You know that look on your face is why you don't have a ring on your finger."

I don't have a ring on my finger, but I clearly have a "kick me" sign on my back.