The bottle was navy-blue glass,
The cap a little gold helmet
With a point on top,
And when I removed the cap, the fragrance swirled
Into the room like smoke
In a Parisian nightclub.
I was twelve, he fourteen, and his perfume
Gift sat on my dresser for everyone to see.
After school, we doubled on his bike,
Tooling down the road past concrete sidewalks
And blue and pink flower gardens, lawns green
And trim as putt-putt courses,
His flaming red hair in front of me
Setting the world on fire.
He gave me a fake birthstone ring
And a box of chocolate-covered graham crackers
That I hid in my drawer
So only I could eat them. He was Tristan
And I Isolde.
Then, my family moved away.
Years later, I saw his photograph in the newspapers
His mother saved: he was the high school
Football jock and later still, he married, he had two children.
Today, his red hair, the bottle-green
Shirt and matching socks he wore with white jeans
And burgundy penny-loafers
Color an occasional waking dream.
I know it wasn't love, how could it have been,
But what matters is we think it is, the first time,
Boarding the airplane and taking off,
The airplane filled with passengers
And all of them headed for France.
© by Sherry Beasley.
Used with the author’s permission.