Now and then I'll post a new bit of my short fiction.



"Now, Then"

I’m here with you right now, but I’m also fifty years ago. In 1961 I’m at a party, holding a drink and smoking a cigarette. The people around me are talking about work and movies and love affairs. How do you like our new president and his promise to have a man on the moon by decade’s end. What about this place suddenly appearing in the newspapers, this Vietnam wherever it is. Did you like West Side Story. I thought the music was quite good, but thought they should have gotten a Hispanic actress to play Maria. I finish my drink and stub out the cigarette. Someone puts a new record on the phonograph. The act strikes me as wrong, but I can’t say why.

I’m in 1961, but also here with you half a century later at the edge of a vast and darkened field. Rain has come and gone and we can smell wet grass and a hint of autumn. If the clouds clear we’ll be able to see the first of the evening stars. The wind blows cooler and dies away. A few minutes ago something unpleasant happened between us and we came out to the field because a little fresh air might be what we needed to wash the anger from our souls. I can’t tell if anything has gotten better. Maybe I’ve calmed down, but a more truthful statement to make is that I am more confused than calm. You’re here with me and the field stretches out ahead and those clouds aren’t getting any thinner and a drop of rain just hit my cheek and everything about us is dreamlike. The field is a continuation of the argument started back at the house. You hated how my mind was always somewhere else. You wanted to know why I couldn’t change that about myself.

At the edge of the field we hold our breath. We could talk. We could say a lot of words. It’s easier to be silent. I wish the peaceful moment could last a little bit longer.

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