As a very young child, usually around Sunday dinner while it was cooking, when everyone was in the kitchen talking and preparing the food, she’d lay on the davenport and feel like she didn’t belong to this family, like these people weren’t really her parents and they’d just never told her. She felt adopted. She remembered how scared this made her feel, and how slightly sick to her stomach she would get.
Later, the men in bigger cities, with shorter hair and tortoise-shell horn rims always turned her on. They looked so self possessed and unashamed. There weren’t any men like that around her. Just the two boys that lived in the family she remembered.
Some very young men showed the promise of purpose and pride. These usually disappeared from town or took inanely young, undeveloped girls to wife. Girls her age seemed content with forty five year old divorcees who wore Indian arrow jewelry and worked in the pulp mill.
She always pictured herself alone by a tree. In the summer, at the nearby college, on the quad by the Gothic auditorium with the deep red velour seats. Wearing white organza, standing there, by the tree.
Someone sure to love her would appear.
Other people would be walking by, along the sidewalk. None of them would look her way.
Just before her one and only would appear, she thought she would be deeply inside herself and near tears. Just before her one and only would appear.
Two people don’t fall in love, she decided.
One person falls in love, the other thinks: “Well, yeah; I guess I can do this.” And, they work at it. Only the one who loves works harder and gives up more.
She’d turned again in a fleeting flash to that image of herself by the tree. Maybe she should return to that spot now, and just stand there. Just stand there. Through sun and rain, and sleet, and wind and white out, through all the seasons, like some animated line drawing on glass in a remote, foreign film.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo
circa 1989/revised 1/23/15
all rights reserved. Thank you.