PERRENIAL YOUTH

Like Mercury, he took flight and she didn’t see him for years.  The time passed placidly in the interim, although there were occasions when memories would rise unbidden and seize her with longing.  She put those items carefully aside.  It seemed unwise to reflect on something which belonged to the ether.

Nor did she confide in anyone; there was no one who would truly understand.  Over time, she began to question herself.  She wondered if she had been hasty and allowed her imagination too much free reign.  It was simpler than acknowledging the truth.

So she was surprised one afternoon when he telephoned.  She had relegated him to the island of lost souls and expected never to hear of him again.  His voice, sharp and abrupt, was a shock to her.

“Kathleen, it’s David.  Call me.”

Her scalp began to sting with heat.  She replayed the message twice before dialing his number.

If he was happy to hear from her, he hid it well.  His words, all jumbled and running together, were barked out hurriedly as if he had a tremendous amount of things to say in a limited time.  He never could get his mouth to match the speed of his brain.

She smiled as she listened, not to the words but to the meaning beneath them.  “Slow down, David!  It sounds like you’re about to blow a gasket. . .”

He laughed, that sweet hearty laugh he used so seldomly.  “This is me, relaxed!”

He hadn’t changed at all.  He was still the brash young man she had known years ago, bursting with news and brusque questions. 

It was only after the call ended that she realized its portend.  Alarmed, she threw down the phone and blotted her sweaty palm on the sleeve of her jacket.  She didn’t have to accept the tidings from the messenger of the gods.  She could just wipe them off and pretend they were lost in translation.

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