(Continued) They talked about the golden hue of the leaves, as their eyes reflected their golden hues.
A month later they went on a date to the Zoo. They sit on a bench and talk about zoos and people in general. They talk about the color of balloons. He tells her about the man who would play songs on a balloon. How he and friends would sit in a local hamburger joint, and the man played songs on request; letting out the air in pitch and rhythm. He wrote a poem about balloon man, and believes it was the poem in which his twelfth grade English teacher saw some potential and told him “if you’re going to write, be serious about your writing.”
They talk about the color of the short woman’s hair; the fidgetiness of the tall man standing next to her; and how the children seemed to run hither and yon with no prejudice of time and physical space. They talk about all the things people talk about when they actually talk to each other. She asks how he came up with the creative name for his dog, ‘Dog’.
“On the way to the kennel I had thought about names, like Spot, Rover, and Chuck…”
“Not really, just threw that one in. So, I am at the kennel and the mess of puppies are running around this large outdoor area; with me standing there looking for the right one. I notice this puppy staring at a man and woman that were also looking for a dog. I swear this puppy was checking them out. Anyway, the woman suddenly gives a ‘dame it!’ Obviously she had stepped in something. She then looks at her shoe, then me, and says ‘dog gone it…you,’ meaning me, ‘think it’s funny?’ ‘Oh no, but you must have meant to say ‘dog did it.’ Needless to say the woman huffs and puffs her guy friend out of there. The puppy I had noticed seemed to be laughing at her. So I said ‘you, Dog, stop laughing and get over here.’ He trotted over and history was written.”
“You’re serious…you’re really serious? You are.”
He loves the way she shakes her head to dislodge the words he so carefully weaved.
She takes his arm as they walk once again from exhibit to exhibit. “Why do you write prose? Seriously, why?”
“Random thoughts…poetry is too rigid for me because I want to write like I think, like I naturally talk…random thoughts, misplaced modifiers.”
“Will you write a love song for me, Mr. Romantic.”
“Do you expect a song?”
“No, not really, just…you said you composed songs. Are your prose songs?”
“Sometimes. Where is this leading?”
She stops walking, stands facing him, and taking his hands in hers, “I would like for a man to write a love song for me. See, I have listened to love songs ever since I can remember; they are part of our world, every language that sings probably has love songs, and every written language probably speaks of love songs being composed. Civilizations all have love songs. A woman needs to be a participant, not an observer. I want to be the one who the song is written about, not the one who hears it on the radio and wonders who has inflamed the singer’s heart.”
He has no answer; just thoughts about her words, like ‘nibbling on the nail of your index finger, thinking.’
“Smile, just a thought.”
He wishes he could say that he was immediately cognizant of what she was telling him; no, it took a while to sink in. The old ‘me’ would have rushed off and penned a song. She was testing his hearing; her need, her want.
It’s going on 4 PM and they start to wind their way back to the parking lot. She asks if he was going to tell his friends that they went to the zoo for a date. “Nope, I don’t want any of the men in the office to know a beautiful woman is in the area.”
“You pick the oddest moments to compliment a woman.”
“What was odd about the compliment?”
“I think dating protocol rule number six prohibits the said male participant of the date from telling the said female participant of the date that she is beautiful, or any other words to that effect, while the two participants are walking past the baboon cage.”
Indicating with a flick of her head, “Has to do with image association. It’s not very romantic to look at a baboon doing something to its posterior – not sure what, and I DON’T want to find out – then turn to your date and say, to the effect ‘the rear end of that monkey reminded me that you are beautiful.”
“I see your point and I am relieved.”
“I thought it was a rule against asking your date to check your hair for bugs?”
“That’s rule…fourteen, only when camping in the woods. And, no, you are not going to check me for ticks…stop with the sad eyes.
She smiles, they kiss.
They are as different as night and day, yet as night and day they enfolded into one as the stars ascend, and kiss the memories as the sun rises; true love, now for thirty years.
(Night and Day, a work of fiction, copyright July 2012, is adapted from Through a Stranger’s Eyes, copyright 2005, both by Steven S. Walsky.)