My response to those prompts
Ah, we were young and easy then, Christine Birch and me. I remember a quiet afternoon, a soft, lazy river, and daises, I remember daisies, Christine showing me how to make chains, me breathless, faintly dizzy, hoping she would ask me to play Truth, Dare, Promise? or say, “Kiss, Kick or Torture?” Daisies, and me wondering what a kiss would be like.
You are not Christine Birch. Once, Christine kissed me, on my right cheek, suddenly, below my eye, on our way back from St John’s Ambulance. We were learning slings and splints. Mrs Vacara was behind the counter. She saw the kiss. She smiled at me and her eyes were wet. Mrs Vacara didn’t have a husband because of the war. They said she came from Italy or Germany, that her husband wore a long leather coat. Every night, after she closed her shop Mrs. Vacara sang in her dark back room. One day she died.
We never had those afternoons, those aching, hopeful, breathless waits, you and I. Long before, we had put away those childish things and turned to the business of life. Did we ever make love? We fucked, but did we ever make love? Did you ever reach for me like a Christine, for peck in a sweet shop, all hope, bravery, light?
So this, my now, a room, a bed, a window. You think I’m lonely. I’m not. A poet once said, “What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” I get that now. Did you know he lost a leg? He was Welsh like me. That’s the only poem I remember.
You remember your last words to me? You were so ugly as you spat them out. You called me a child (and you were right, you’re always right).
A child ran out. That’s what the driver said. I had no chance. We held a funeral. They had to hose down the road. My cheek burned, just below my right eye.