for Alison Mary
The girl looked back at her friends. They smiled and seemed to wave goodbye, but it wasn’t for her but for themselves. They had been reluctant to release her to the whims of the universe and were sad to see her go. Each of them had been enriched by knowing her, and it would be hard to live in a world that didn’t include her. She smiled and went to wave back in acknowledgement of their love. Her dog, comfortably asleep in her arms, stirred quickly and jumped down just as she was about to board, and she ran after him.
Time and tide and other people’s schedules wait for no one, and she found herself left behind as her flight had departed without her. One of the attendants stepped closer, noting she had begun to cry. She spoke calmly and assured her that she indeed would get home if by another route entirely. In what seemed like eternity but in mere seconds she was on her way, but her trip would take a less traveled route in a way.
As she stepped onto firm ground she heard a girl speak. The girl was about her own age. She stood by a tree while holding a cat. The other girl had blond hair; a bit longer than her own and with dark gold curls like wheat in the wind. The cat nestled in her arms and the girl could hear a very loud purr despite her dog’s decided low growl. In a moment, both pets had jumped to the ground and were sizing each other up. Remarkably, whether by surrender or by design or by delight, both dog and cat began to nestle up to each other and soon had walked off to sit down by the tree; a nice surprise indeed.
“Hello,” the girl said in return. She looked back and forth between the two. Both of them were dressed in clothes more suited to girls much younger, but that was the way things were at that time. She felt embarrassed by her dress; it was gingham, which was a bit out-dated. And it seemed to pale in comparison to the rich blue dress the other girl wore. Her own brown hair was almost pitiful beside the other girl's golden locks, she felt. She sighed.
“I’m glad you came. I had a feeling about your arrival. Curious, but entirely expected, I suppose. Nothing seems to surprise me lately.” She spoke in an almost too-familiar tone; taking a personal liberty where none was offered. But she was nice; perhaps too nice and bit more refined than a girl from the country like herself. And that nice feeling felt odd and threatening at the same time as the other girl stepped closer.
“I’m sorry. I seem to have put you off. It wasn’t my intention at all, but I suppose I’m a bit hasty since I’ve come to appreciate time much more than usual. I hope you don’t mind.” The other girl seemed a bit a sad at herself.
“That’s alright.” The girl found herself unable to keep what she was thinking inside and continued.
“I’m glad I’m here. After the time I’ve been through myself, it’s nice to find a welcoming face.” She put her head down. She indeed had been through a time…a harrowing, daunting time that made her appreciate friends and family and home. She stepped closer; an awkward gait that felt like she was walking slowly down a winding, dimly laid-out road. As she grew close to the other girl, the embarrassment she had felt only moments before seemed to ebb a bit as the other girl started to match her step for step.
“I’ve only recently discovered that I can barely keep up with things even when I’m standing still; as if I was moving backward. Well no more retreat for me.” The other girl grinned almost impishly; her laugh soft and disarming.
“Well, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I’m growing wiser and with more compassion and strength about myself and others; my friends taught me that," the girl said in response; barely convinced of her own words.
“Oh, I do so hope to be smarter and stronger and alive myself. Perhaps you’re here for just that very reason. I do rather think we could learn a thing or two about each other.” With that, they found themselves face to face. She smiled sheepishly and bowed her head, as if the girl before her was of royal birth. But the other girl was almost like a looking-glass image of herself; head tilted to the same side with a matching if opposite smile.
“I’m not nearly as smart as you!” The girl shrugged her shoulders.
“Nonsense. I’m sorry to be so contrary, but that’s the way it is in my world. If you believe you’re not as smart, then I suppose you are just as smart as I am if not smarter altogether”
The other girl stepped so close to her as to nearly bump heads. And then she did a curious if altogether delightful thing. She leaned just a bit to one side as if she was looking for something. And she found exactly that as their lips pressed softly together. After a moment, the other girl pulled back slightly and spoke.
“You’re about the most sensible thing I’ve found in a long while, and it’s about time things made sense.”
“I’m….” The girl seemed to hold back but spoke.
“I’m glad that things are finally at a place where there’s no trouble.” She smiled again and the other girl smiled back before kissing her again. Grabbing her hand, the other girl led her over to a blanket laid out on the grass near the tree where the cat and dog lay fast asleep.
“I was lost, but I finally realized that it’s best to stay where you are until someone finds you. I’m glad you found me,” the other girl lay down on the blanket and patted the spot next to her in invitation.
“I’m frightened,” the girl said. Her words belied her actions as she lay down beside the other girl.
“I seldom give good advice; even to myself. But for once I shall follow it.” The other girl spoke gently before pulling her into another soft kiss.
“I…” the girl stammered in embarrassed shame. The other girl touched her face and smiled; almost as if she was giving her permission to continue.
“I almost feel like I’ve wasted so much time… Off looking elsewhere for my heart’s desire. Oh, I don’t know….” She felt the other girl press a finger against her lips; a silence not for her spoken desire but from the shame of wanting it.
“In my world pictures often serve our purpose better than words.” With that she slowly pulled open the buttons on the front of her dress. She touched the soft, translucent chemise that lay beneath her dress, paying particular attention to her budding breasts.
“Touch me?” The other girl said as she stroked her chest playfully. Soon the girl joined her and was lying by her side; her head on the other girl’s chest.
“Touch me?” The other girl spoke again; it was almost as if her body beckoned with revealing guideposts or signs; instructions, actually. The girl caressed a soft cheek and then another gentle touch followed by her own sigh.
“Touch me?” The other girl spoke again; not in demand nor invitation, but almost a plea, the other girl pointed downward underneath her dress. The girl obliged and soon was caressing and touching and softly…oh so softly pressing her hand down in careful attention. The other girl shuddered.
“I’ve never felt I could, but somehow I feel like I can be free. That the dreams I’ve ever dared to dream are coming true.” She arose slightly on one elbow and looked at the other girl and smiled.
“And all my troubles are finally far behind me,” she mused as she kissed the other girl on her chest and fell into her in a warm bliss…..
“Donnie? I’m off to work. I suppose you’ll be staying at Alex’s place after the party?” A voice came from the hall followed by a soft knock on the bedroom door.
“Yeah, Dad. Don’t wait up.”
“You decide what you’re going to wear? You’re almost out of time. “
“Maybe. I haven’t made up my mind.” The boy looked across the room at his closet. The closet was safely closed and the garb behind the door safely hidden against any unexpected visit by his parents.
“Well, have a good time. Your mom and I have decided to forgo the whole candy thing. We’re going out to dinner. Rainbow Grill.”
“Sounds great, Dad. Love you!” The boy breathed out a hushed sigh.
“Love you too.” A moment later he was alone. He looked out the window by his bed. The morning skies were blue and cloudless. He put his head back on his pillow and looked up at the ceiling. Closing his eyes, he envisioned a girl standing in a ray of sunlight; radiant in a rich blue dress. The girl had golden hair and held a cat in her arms. A wistful tear trickled down his cheek as he sang softly to himself,
“If happy little bluebirds fly… beyond the rainbow…why oh why can’t I?”
...special thanks to Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg
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