Dandelion Man - the four loves


Roses in December

  

How could I have forgotten you–the touch of your hand–that infectious laugh–that heavenly perfume–memories once indelibly imprinted now melted? In truth you were a year younger than me. In all other ways you were years ahead. I remember now. Those days long since dissolved into the mist that is memory.

Slowly my thoughts turn to you. A once forgotten song heard on the radio triggers a neural response that ignites an image. The flashes, once impossible to suppress, had become less frequent with each passing year. Having watched Dad wrestle Alzheimer’s, the loss of a single memory was cause for concern.

Now the memories were filtering back. Memories tucked away so long ago resurfaced, one triggering another then another. The crisp morning air heightened my senses. I could recall the exact color and texture of your hair, your eyes, your smile, your perfume. It all came back, you–me–Mike.

Gawd, you were beautiful. I wonder what you’re doing this morning. Is it raining where you are? Where is it that you are anyway? Has it really been thirty-six years since I last saw you?

That final image returned–that angelic face. You, dressed in white bridal silk, walking as if ascending into heaven itself to the man you were to spend the rest of your life with. How happy you looked. It was as if you had waited your entire life just for this day–this new life–this man.

I couldn’t bring myself to watch the ceremony. It was enough for me to see the finality–the closure of that chapter that was us and the opening of the next chapter–for you at least.

But why now? Why would you fill my thoughts this morning? What serendipity. There it was right in front of me in today’s newspaper, the obituary for Gerald Zawalski, your father. I scoured the details, wife, Helen, children, Gary, Stanley, there it was, Diane McMichael. You were still married to Mike but then I knew you would be. You had taught me so much of love. The one lesson you reserved for Mike was enduring love.

Could I? Should I? After all these years to be able to see you again, to relive even for a brief moment our days together; it would be worth it. I remember now. It was your choice–it was always your choice–that struggle of choice. Mike and I only had to live with the choice–and love you.
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