The Frog Meditations: Autograph Books 2: In the Palm of her Hand

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Autograph Books 2: In the Palm of her Hand

She'd watched him from her car. She'd seen him with flowers she knew weren't meant for her. The long, spring green stalks, the ruffly purple petals with their brilliant yellow streaks—he'd cradled them.

She tore up the words he'd written for her, tore up all the pictures, even the one with him in the red toque. That day he'd laughed into the camera, his green eyes bright. He'd just been to the dentist, and his sweet smile was crooked.

And she got it. She did. Too many other people wanted too much from him. And she'd made mistakes. She'd pushed too hard. The last time she tried to explain he turned away when he saw her, walked fast into a crowd, and with the cast on her foot she couldn't keep up. She cried out, but he didn't turn around.

He was just protecting himself. She knew everything he'd gone through. All the things he'd shared that night under the bright lights, things he said he'd never told anyone. His mother Mamie, his dad Carl, the loss of the baby brother he'd called Squirt--the guilt he felt though it was no one's fault. He'd spoken to her heart.

Tonight she'd make him listen. 

Rain drizzled onto the deserted street as she limped up behind him. He was waiting for a cab outside the restaurant. It was his favorite, he'd said. The farfalle carbonara was out of this world.

When he looked over his shoulder, she saw the face she'd loved for so long. She saw his surprise, watched him jam two fingers in his mouth and turn and whistle for the cab they both saw coming. His wave was frantic. She started to cry.

The old fountain pen she had gripped so tightly had leaked bright blue ink all over her hand. Is it really too much to ask? she sobbed, holding out the little silver book. Just once more?

When the cab jerked away and splashed down the street, she wiped her eyes with her wrists. There were fine lines on her purple palm, like roads on a map to places she would never go. She dropped the book in a puddle at the curb and watched its yellow tassel float in a rainbow made of oil.