Whisper of a Kiss

Softly, oh so softly, like a butterfly alighting on one’s fingertip. Your lips brushed mine so many, too many, moons ago. I was still, so still, in the hushed silence of a mellow afternoon.

Of course, we were teenagers, children still. I would follow you around faithfully like a shadow, even as you got us into scrapes with our mothers. You were my childhood companion of those clear winter nights when the sky was a canopy of shining stars under which we slept the sleep of innocence.

So long ago and yet – we remember it as though it were yesterday. You say you searched for me all these years. So many times through this aeon spent apart when we both have wondered…was it (love) what if (it were) did she (forget) did he (truly) would it (have happened) why did (she/he/go away.)

And now here we are, strangers to each other. Would we know one another still? Life has intruded, broken the spell. We’ve had our own things to do, miles to go. We’ve grown up, grown away.

I see the man you have become. The hairstyle has changed, the face has grown fleshier, tired; the lanky boy has been replaced by a heavier body. That ever-ready sparkle of mischief in the eyes is missing. The crooked nose is still the same, bashed out of shape by a cricket ball one summer.

We never had the yearning, nor the heartbreak. No sweet nothings, no angry words; no making up after, no wiping away the tears. Perhaps it was better this way.

Somewhere in our hearts, we will still be that boy and girl of long ago. The tall, confident boy who played basketball. The dreamy, pigtailed girl with her head in a book. Different worlds, yet they merged. Nobody else will remember how you pulled my hair to tease me, how I did your homework; how we moved to the dinner table in tandem, ravenous, chattering, full of plans for the next day. Nobody else saw your eyes fill with angry tears when your dad whacked you for some misdeed; nobody else understood my need for silence, to be in my own thoughts.

Somewhere, I guess we will always be a part of each other. Somewhere, even now, you and I look back on that girl and boy of yesterday. And smile, at the whispered tenderness of that first kiss.

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