Thursday, October 23, 2014

                                    the note
                                                by Sandra Moulin

It was a tiny piece of paper all crinkled up
I clutched it tightly as if by cornering it in my fist
the words would evaporate.
It was dark.
I couldn’t see her face
not that I wanted to
guilt coated every lie that escaped from her red lipstick
“You are my mother,” I cried.
“I would never do anything to jeopardize our family.
I love your father,” she said.
Sobs stuck in my throat
stars above the car twinkled out of context
someone’s romantic evening at the beach
a daughter confronting her mother on Christmas Eve.

The little chapel down the street was my refuge--a place where I cried and prayed
The short walk to the bar felt cold and damp in the winter mist
When I arrived, he looked beaten, defeated.
His beautiful wavy hair turned from pepper to salt overnight
I sat down at the bar next to him while he smoked one cigarette after another
I wanted to lift the veil of pain from his shoulders and send it sailing in the wind
These were the strong shoulders that used to carry me “horsey back” before bedtime when I was a little girl.
I wanted to see his hair turn back to pepper--his blue eyes regain their sparkle
I wanted to watch him walk tall, the spring back in his gait
I knew no words to restore his dignity.

Gone now their secrets buried in unspoken cadences
the rhythm of their long years together brought to a finale
questions left unanswered
somewhere in the legacy of betrayal and sadness
a love survived and played out its days.