Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The important things

As I was returning from the beach, just ahead of me I found a couple going up the stairs that lead to the top of the bluffs. Although they were relatively young, my impression was that they had been together for a while. That afternoon, they had been flying a kite in the shape and colors of a large, red butterfly, because that was what he was carefully carrying up the stairs. Toward the top, she leaped ahead of him, and in a burst of laughing exuberance climbed up the rest of the way ahead of him. I pictured how he might then remember first meeting her, how he might well have fallen in love with her upon first discovering that vibrant energy she exuded, graceful like a dancer, at totally unexpected times.

I followed them past the top of the stairs onto the bluff, he with the butterfly kite, she with hair golden in the evening sun, and I remembered a woman I loved once, and the same evening sun on her hair and how I later regretted ever letting her go...but she had lived a continent away and, at that time, I thought I had no choice. They were walking side by side, hands almost touching, and my thoughts urged him to take her hand, because life is short and affection should be shown. Their hands kept missing each other as they walked, but he finally put his arm around her, so I was satisfied that that was good enough. They were talking about things people who have been married a while, but who are still young, talk about: things they wanted to buy someday, things they needed now. It would be a while, I thought, before they would discover the really important things, the cherished things, like that memory of their walks together, with their kite in the evening sun. My thoughts having run their course, I passed by them. "Beautiful kite!", I said.


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