“I wanted to be the first to get to you, before the wolves started to circle,” he said.
Not familiar with that reference, it sounded ominous and negative.
We walked down Outer Drive toward my house, me silent, listening to him talk. The majestic old oak trees shaded our path as we walked, Wax chatting, the drone of his voice comforting. The sense that he only took his eyes off me long enough to keep from tripping drowned out the awareness of everything else. I don’t remember much of what was actually said on that first walk, but I was captivated. I looked up; we were almost to my house.
Soon, the leaves would turn color and fall to the sidewalk. I imagined walking on the leaves, crunching them under my feet. The weather would grow colder and colder, and snow would fall. The thought of having to wear boots and mittens and a heavy overcoat on a warm day like this seemed impossible. I wondered if we would still be walking together in the snow.
“Let’s stop here,” I said when we got to the corner, hoping my mother wasn’t waiting with her eagle eye.
He’d said he lived around the block from me. Again, the idea that I’d lived within shouting distance of him all my life was inconceivable. All I had to do was cross the alley, walk through my backyard and I was home. Reality ended the hypnotic walk. I didn’t see my mother waiting, so Ida and Lynne had been successful.
“Thank you for walking me home.”
Excerpt from Mademoiselle by Suzanne Jenkins
Included in Love in Times of War