Astoria Interlude

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Astoria Interlude


Look at the stars;
look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow I came along;


Jo sat in the living room. Her supervisor insisted that she forgo a second shift despite her offer. Three weeks after her sister’s death and she was exhausted. She downed the last of her second mug of coffee and stared out almost blankly. Way too soon to hope that the pain would even diminish, much less go away completely. She mused….

“Jeez, Jo? How many moms and dads have you held, knowing that their pain will never go away? She shook her head at that reality.

“Hey, Lulu? Why did you wait so long?” Her words accused her immediately. Wasn’t she the example of faith? Didn’t she forgive her sister? But forgiveness never seems to take the edge off of loss. She almost felt guilty just to sigh over the hurt.

“Hey?” Alex sat down and kissed her on the cheek.

“From where she’s sitting, she understands. And she knows….She knows how much you miss her and?” He took a long draught from his travel mug; his third cup of coffee.

“She knows it did take forever….” He wasn’t fool enough to let it go. Her hurt was real, and despite every silly expectation he might harbor about her super-hero status, she was still a human being with frailties and strengths. He had nothing much to offer for the moment, but what he had he gave to her.

“I love you, Jo. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere if I have anything to say about it. Come?” He raised her to her feet and kissed her. A brief if completely and earnestly romantic display.

“Come?” He held her left hand as he walked her down the hallway to a well-deserved nap.

Later that afternoon….

“It’s okay,” Alex said; his elbow propping up his head as he wiped a stray hair from Jo’s face.

“It’s…. I’ve never felt so much love in my life. Alex. You….”

“You act as if you’re the only one who gets to be blessed, Jo. You pretty much make me forget everything else when we’re together. Reading the paper on Sunday? Cleaning and cooking on a Thursday night after work? Like I’m wrapped up in you.” He shrugged, almost dismissing his own frankness. She began to cry.

“Hey, what did I say?” He pleaded.

“It’s not just what you say….” She gasped.

“It’s that you’re here to say it.” She tried not to smile, as if by displaying any measure of satisfaction, her words would somehow diminish. He brushed the same hair from her face, leaning in for a kiss. She went to turn, as if to deny herself any happiness.

Even continued presence struggled to push past the slowly fleeing remainder of her doubts. He marshalled on, as they say, and grabbed her face softly before bestowing a kiss. The kisses might take on other meanings at other times, but this kiss was yet another in an increasing line of expressions solely meant to bless her.

“You know? Don’t get the wrong idea. I am looking forward to you, but right now? This is my only way other than doing the laundry or cooking dinner when we’re both tired….” He kissed her again and continued.

“I love you, my sweet Jo. I am about as happy as anyone can be, and hell… How does that song go? We’ve only just begun?” He punctuated the moment by settling down beside her, drawing her into another kiss…

“You…” Alex held Jo in his arms and sighed. No need to finish the sentence. Everything he ever needed was lying beside him. And she stirred just a bit in his embrace and cooed,

“You, too.”

I swam across; I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do 'Cos you were all yellow
I drew a line; I drew a line for you Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow
And your skin, oh yeah your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D'you know?



Yellow
Words and music by the performer
Sarah Bettens
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiQPd8oxOPQ



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This story is 723 words long.