by Kyle Katz.
The 4th of July—Independence Day.
Sitting in L.A. traffic for five hours on my way to Santa Barbara. Stuck behind a truck blowing hot city soot through my air conditioning. Three traffic accidents. One fatality.
I ventured out on a major holiday. Love made me do it! He finally wanted to introduce me to the rest of his family.
I turned up the music and bobbed my head to Lady Gaga’s Poker Face as the traffic creeped.
I couldn’t wait to see his brown eyes, feel his sculpted hands trace the curve of my neck. I couldn’t wait for his smile to wipe the adult off my face. I couldn’t wait for his deep raspy voice to drug me with,
“Hello baby I missed you.”
Love can be crisp and clear. Mature love can leave tattoos of the Sistine Chapel embedded on your heart.
We were middle age, had raised our families, and had grand kids.
We had many careers and given ourselves solely to our children and marriages that didn’t turn out the way we expected.
Something about us–together– that cancelled time’s warning: you’ll be on the other side of dirt soon.
We both knew it.
Love and pain we understood. We survived it all. We wondered if something in the air made us act like teenagers. We loved doing yoga together, breathing a tantric melody and meditating on the sound of wind and distant waterfalls. We laughed at the absurdity of it all.
After ten years: it seemed a right of passage that our friendship would turn into a deeper love.
He ran to the car to greet me. His smile bleeds words of poetry.
My heart divided itself into a thousand pieces and danced around like passion’s pixie dust.
I rolled down the window.
He stuck his face in without a word, kissing me as if my lips were his final destination.
He opened the door. “Get out of the car.”
He growled, then pushed me against the car, kissing me again—breathless.
“Come on. I want to introduce you.”
“I hope they like me.”
“They’ll love you.”
I left him inside and strolled around the yard that looked like a vacation oasis.
He joined me underneath a palm tree.
“This is paradise.” I grabbed his hand.
We watched two flames jump from one side of the fire pit and swirl into the air.
“Look, babe! Twin flames!”
His vacant eyes slid into darkness.
“I missed you!” I screamed.
He pulled away. “Who are you?”
My heart poured through my nose. Fear dragged me over the sharp edges of memories sealed in a coffin.
His confusion witnessed the blood drain from my poker face.
I handcuffed my tears to heaven’s gate… praying for his immediate return.
Love burst then dribbled to earth, along with the evening fireworks. Loss can be crisp, clear, sudden.
Six months later he texted me, ‘I love you. I really do.’
I texted back: ‘I know <3.’