Her

Her

I am eighty years old
I hear whispers and see faces
I should recognize
The background fades in slowly

Details develop, and it feels like home
My home, but so foreign
I feel like I know this place
It’s home

That’s certainly my TV
My curtains, lamps
Carpets
And books

I ponder pictures of a young woman
Hanging around the room
As I sit on a leather chair
And two young ones mill about

I should know the woman
She looks so familiar
Like she has one of those faces
When suddenly, it hits me

My heart throbs in recognition
I love her
Every fiber of me swoons
But who is she?

“We have to get going soon”
A voice captures my attention
An adult stands by the corner
Watching the children’s wonder

“Where are we going?”
My own voice sounds strange
It sounds older than usual
It shouldn’t be this way

Where are we going?
I can’t hear the adult’s response
But our destination
Sounds nice

“Can you show me the pictures?”
I instinctively mutter to myself twice
What pictures?
I don’t even remember them

The adult walks over with an album
As if they’ve gotten bored of it
I see a young woman, a beautiful one in pictures
I felt like I should know her

There’s a man beside her in some images
“Who is that?”, I ask the adult
To which they reply, “That’s you”
Then it all makes sense

The woman is her
I look at the pictures
Around the living room
My living room? It must be

I recognized her
But I don’t remember from where
I flip through the pictures
There she is again! Who is she?

A picture of a man and a young woman
On a bike appears
“Who is that?” I point to them
“You and your wife Mary” The adult says

My wife?
I can’t remember
And who is the man with her?
Who is she?

I look at the pictures again
I must’ve been there before
The place looks familiar
And I have a bike like that in the shed

I struggle to stand, handing over the album
Who’s bike was that, now?
I pass pictures of her in my kitchen on my way
To the backyard

In the shed, through a wooden door
I open it up to see
A workbench
And a bike

On the workbench is a picture of a young woman
She is beautiful
Who is she?
Why is there a bike here?

On top of a workbench are sculptures
Crude crafts of wire and metal
They looked well mended
Made with purpose

I feel the adult’s presence behind
It calms the nerves somehow
There’s initials carved into the bench
I can’t read

Are they initials? I don’t know
She is beautiful
What a pretty bike, too
I wonder who’s it is

“Who is she?” I ask the adult
They tell me, “Your wife…”
And they call me something
Are we related? Who was this?

Their presence calms me
They are patient
“Here…” They say
Bringing something to look at

Retrieved from my bench
My bench? A bench
That one there
With a pretty lady’s picture atop

Who is she?
The adult puts a device into my hand
It plays a film of a woman on a bike
She looks like the one in the pictures

The woman is riding somewhere
It looked foreign
How did I know?
Had I been there before?

It looked familiar
The word Italy comes to mind
That bike she rides looks like mine
But it mustn’t be mine

Her voice is so sweet to my ears
It calls back scrambled nostalgia
I must have missed something
This girl is too lovely to forget

I didn’t know who’s bike it was
Or who she was
“Who is she?” I ask
“Your wife”, The adult replies

“I see, I see…” I nod absently and watch
I don’t grasp the words, exactly
Looking around the shed
There’s a picture of a woman there

Who was she?

She looked beautiful to me
That was some fancy bike, too
I had an idea to walk outside
To my garden. A garden. Mine?

There was green grass and
Carefully placed bricks
And a den of flowers of all colors
In the shape of something

I stood at the foot of the plot
Brow wrinkling to understand
It looked like a woman
With blonde curls, red lips, and a pink dress

The flowers made the shape of her
Like stained glass in a church
Was I at a church?
Is she a goddess?

Who is she? I wonder
I look at the flowers
I look
At her
At the flowers
I look

I…

I remember now

Mary is dead

My wife is…
Gone
Has been gone
For years

I remember
Her

Her face
Her grace
Her laugh, the smile and mood
It brought tears to my eyes

Knees in the soil
Of the flowerbed effigy
Flowing down my wrinkled face
Are memories of her

I remember
Everything

Oh, god, I miss her so much
I was crying openly now
Weeping in sorrow
Of a life I can’t remember anymore

The pictures, the video
Her voice
The bike I bought her…
My love

“Dad, we have to go now.”
I hear someone behind me
I blink

Why am I in dirt?

This place looks like my garden
In fact, it is my garden

Who was this person behind me?

I feel like I should know them

From somewhere
That voice sounds strangely familial

The flowers catch my eye
Who was this in the flowers?

I must be forgetting something
If I could remember it would all
Make sense

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