I fell for this girl who
also called herself fate
when allowed to take
We met in summer school,
this cramped class, a far too
idealistic teacher, and this
young, perfect encounter.
I read No Great Mischief and
The English Patient that year,
Both of them were the some
of the first words I really got
swept away by. Macleod and his
similes, Ondaatje and his
Herodotus histories of desert
storms. It was enough to fill my
notebooks with proud dream
journals and even six months
Sans drunk if I recall.
I was already betrothed to a girl
who had never known a trustworthy
role model in her entire life. Her family was
cold, her mother might’ve inspired
Nurse Ratchet, clamped down the kind
hearted father he didn’t even
remember having a pair by time
I showed up with my Kerouac
and my heirs apparent. I, who ordered
Salmon when we went out on their
dime because is somehow felt
like the right thing to do, like it made up
for their having ruined the girl’s youth.
This fate lady though, was different.
She was all black straight hair
and daddies attitude and heart
on her sleeveless, summer arms.
I told her I recognized her and she
just about lost it.
“How could you have seen me?
I thought that show was only on in the states!”
It was, but I had a step father who loved
technology; we had laser disc players and a
satellite which meant I had Nickelodeon
when it still had some integrity.
I had been unimpressed with her show, but
she was clearly caught between finally showing
something emotional, she was proud and
wanted to be fawned over for her claim to fame.
Then the fire drill.
I smoked then but was trying to quit, so
I was wandering outside hoping to bum one.
The crowd thinned out, and eventually it was
just me and her, in one of the few cinematic and
romantic scenes in all my existence took place.
It started to pour. Sun shower.
My personal favourite
of all the varieties of rain to stare upward into
arms outstretched, crucified by joy.
Then she did. So I did too.
There we were in the sun shower,
arms stretched out, heads raised
toward the fragments of light ripping
through the dissipating wall of cloud,
completely silent, a temporary relief.
Just like Gordie Lachance and the deer
in Stand By Me, I kept that to myself until
just now, when I reopened it for you, like
a butterfly wedged in a bible for 12 long years,
dreamt of often, but never actually let
back into existence. Still just as perfect, too.