You had known that you would eventually submit to the sultry whispers of the bayou, its scented invitation to magic, to pain, to memories of another bayou and that long-ago time when there had been such love—and such loss.
You chose this day, when the sky was bright turquoise and the blazing sun sent searing punishment to all human flesh. But it was a different day in the lush woods that enveloped the languid blue waters. A different world. Cooler, softer, shaded. A place where a gossamer veil of Spanish moss splintered the sky into tiny turquoise shards and muted the sun’s angry glare to the soothing glow of candles.
The bayou sang to you once again, a bittersweet serenade, touching his heart, reopening his wounds, killing you softly. It was then, as your heart flooded with grief and your soul was nearly drowned, that you heard another sound. New. Unfamiliar. Wondrous.
In another minute you would see your angel. My hair would be golden, as would the aura haloed my entire being. The enveloping luminescence would not, however, be merely the consequence of sunlight filtered through a mossy veil. It would be something else, something more–a truly celestial glow. My own gown would be flowing white silk, and yes, I would have wings, and…
…and you were right about one thing, I was caressed by shafts of light that seemed otherworldly. But your angel hair was the color of cinnamon, and I wore a gingham blouse and blue jeans, and I had no wings.
I was facing away from you still, and my song had not faltered, but you believed that I knew you were there, that I had somehow sensed your presence. And I had—because just before the final lyric, I turned to you, to sing the words to your stone-gray eyes.
“Was blind, but now I see.”
It began on that day, the magical friendship of the lost boy and the innocent girl. We were children then, bonded by our wonder, that sameness–and blissfully unaware of the differences that, too soon, would drive us apart.
I wanted to know everything about you. You shared with me all the truths you could. There weren’t many. You couldn’t even tell me what grade you would enter in the fall. Your schooling had been sporadic. No one compelled you to go. No one cared.
“Who do you think you are? Peter Pan?” I demanded when you told me that you might not bother to enroll at all. I shook a young finger at you and implored earnestly, “You have to go to school. It’s very important. Your entire future depends on it.”
But I don’t have a future. It was a silent yet confident protest, and it came even as I was taking you to see my Aunt.