Friday, February 18, 2011

Michigan Seems Like a Dream to Me Now

It took me four days to hitchchike from Saginaw...

"Don't be sad," Kathy said.

She always talked like that when she didn't want to deal with anyone else's feelings. Which was, pretty much, all the time.

"You never can predict the future," she said.

He nodded. Not wanting to speak. Afraid he'd blurt out "I love yous" that would have no effect.

"It's only for a few months," she said. Even though a few months was longer than they'd been together. Much longer.

He looked at the stones on the sidewalk. Fancy grey stones. Kathy would know what they were called. He never would. He wondered if they'd laugh about this moment decades later -- her gently correcting him as he got the name of the stones wrong every time he told the story.

"I should get going," she said.

And he nodded. Not looking at her. Not trusting himself to make the right decision about whether or not to say anything.

So Kathy hugged him. Impulsively. Because she wasn't a hugger. Not usually. Not even with boyfriends or... whatever it was he'd become over the last 12 days.

And he looked at her briefly. Shocked to see a tear coming out of her left eye. The eye that was just slightly bigger. The eye that made her face just asymmetrical enough to be unforgettable.

And then she was gone. Hundreds, then thousands of miles away.

He replayed the scene dozens of times over the next few hours. He'd been sure that his feelings would embarrass her. But it was her own feelings that were overwhelming.

In the middle of the night, when she was in the great uncharted area west of Chicago, he woke up suddenly from a deep sleep, sensing her wet teardrop on his fingertip, finally saying "don't go."

But by then it was too late. And he knew she was gone.


jb said...

The thing about your blog, see, is that you kill me every time. You write good. (Which I do not always do.) And your stories are always memorable, and memorably told. Thanks a lot.

Who Am Us Anyway? said...

Yep. After I read a C&P entry I'm always speechless for the next little while. I can't just quick move on to the next thing.

Holly A Hughes said...

Lovely piece. Lovely song, too -- one of my sentimental all-time favorites. I swear, this was the song that made me decide to start smoking. (Can I sue Paul Simon if I ever come down with lung cancer?)

I always wonder if this is the same Kathy that Paul Simon wrote "Kathy's Song" for.