New Names

Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts:  northern sky, bangle dangle, early bus to Prague, hallway, blue goose, cool breeze take me somewhere, safer that way, 47 shades of lipstick, cows on the hill have two shorter legs, where the wild things are, memories

On the early bus to Prague, well before sunrise, we watched the Milky Way pouring through the northern sky. We sat in the back creating new names for the constellations.  

“Blue Goose,” you said.

“Do you mean Blue Heron?” I asked.

“No, Blue Goose,” you insisted, and I relented. 

In the east, the fainter stars were already taking their leave.  I wanted to name the remaining pattern “Cow on the Hill With Two Shorter Legs.”

You laughed.  “Much as I like that, I feel the sky over this part of Europe is a sanctuary where only the wild things may go.”

I had to admit that my nimble-footed mountain cows were probably better off wandering over California. “They’ll be safer that way,” I decided.

We were taking this journey one day at a time.  No plans, no reservations, relying on the cool breeze to take us somewhere.  You, the ascetic poet, said you were collecting nothing but memories, refusing to jot even words in a journal.  To annoy you, I collected lipstick from every drug store and boutique I could find.  I had 47 different shades so far, ranging from the palest ivory to the deepest red.  “Are they somehow indicative of mood?” you asked me one evening as I laid my many tubes across the dresser in the Elderhostel.  “No,” I said stubbornly as I arranged them in a fiery mandala.

We would not speak of it, but we both knew we had come on this trip to see if we could save our marriage. We’d been stuck in a metaphorical hallway for so long, eyeing the many doors that could open at the slightest touch.  We both knew we were bored in the hallway, but we had no idea if we would choose to go through the same door.

On our last day in Rome, you bought me a silver bracelet inset with red stones.  “A little bangle dangle for you pretty wrist,” you said as you hooked it on.

I lifted my arm to get a closer look.  I wondered if you were claiming me again, as I happily allowed you to do so long ago.  Or could this be a parting gift?  It is pretty, and you seem so pleased that I like it.  Whatever your intention, I know I will always cherish it as a token of affection.  Everything else I’ll decide when we touch down in San Francisco.

Photo by Dmitry Goykolov

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