He would be eighty-three in two days and that scared him. She was nineteen and in need of a friend. He played Johnny Ray records, fell asleep to the New England voice of Kate Hepburn twirling out stories like pinwheels in the breath of a breeze. She had never heard of Johnny Ray but found Hepburn and Tracy and watched all their movies after he'd told her that.
Can you send me a photo? he asked her, two fingers pecking out words like a young man on a blind date. One with you laughing along with the sun? Or where the day is a blink of an eyelash, the moon silver paint on your lids.
So she went to the rooftop at noontime and captured herself giggling against the yellow-blue sky. Then she went up there at midnight and caught the moonlight inside her dark eyes.
I can make clouds cry, he told her. I can stop snowflakes from hitting the ground. She laughed, wiped her fears on a pale blue silk sleeve and wrote back, Send me a picture, an old one, before the city was built.
From his little old house in Missouri, he focused his wide angle lens to the east. He clicked and he snapped and the time, just like space, disappeared into long gravel roadways and sweet-smelling grass. He caught the New York City skyline of maples and Chicago's dark lamplit streets. He delighted her senses with the long time before now. She fed him the tight buds of spring.
I'm leaving, he wrote her, are you ready for that?
One more image, she answered, one more is all that I need.
He sat relaxed in the darkening evening and dreamed her the words of a poem he had written for a woman he'd loved long ago. It held youth but with promise and a path that forked like the curve of a wing. It strummed a song that played in the heart. He died with a sigh that traveled to brush the back of her neck in a whisper. She packed and left the city that night.
words: Susan M. Gibb (Spinning / Hypercompendia),
was inspired by 100 days - 100 stories (see note below)
image: 'Two2' - Jean Morris, UK (tasting rhubarb)
about "Descriptions" and "100 days - 100 stories"
*update: this story received a Pushcart Prize nomination 2011 (blog note: BPR Pushcart Nominations)