It was cold in my town, in the place where I live. Lucy and I
were sad, walking beside each other in the cold, not speaking.
I wanted her to cry, to finish with tears, but she wouldn’t.
The silence was buzzing, a fly trapped in a car. The silence of
Lucy not speaking was something being torn too slowly, a piece
of thick paper ripping for a year. Finally she walked away.
Alone, I looked at the sidewalk, counted the cracks and felt warm. “It’s
only that I’m walking fast” I told myself. But I took
off my mittens and my hat, let them fall behind me. I shed my scarf
the same way, walking faster. I slipped out of my coat as I felt
one boot come unglued, stick in the mud, so I kicked at the other
boot, let go.
I was down to my jeans and a little white blouse. My socks were
gone and my feet were moving fast. My legs flashed like seconds
and my hair shook itself loose and still I was warm, and I thought
a flushed thought, thought a laugh and stopped. I stopped to swallow
my thought and it was spring.
The trees were somehow green and wet and the sun was warm over
the cool breeze and hot on the sidewalk. I was at an intersection,
a familiar corner. I walked slowly East, noticing things, and when
I came to a sign, I stopped. It said, “Bake Sale.”
I was supposed to meet you. I was supposed to meet you at the
Bake Sale. I was five minutes late, and so I ran inside and then
a woman said in a hushed voice, “He’s out back dear,
through this door, into the garden you go.”
I went into the garden.
There were peonies and morning glories, lilacs and daffodils.
The garden was a bower and the bower was for sale, tables covered
in icing, covered in blossoms. Sprinkled with sugar and sifted.
You were there waiting.
I reached for a cake, grabbed for something to give you and what
my fingers found was the smallest cake of all. It was the size
of my hand, a little flat circle covered in hard sugar, filled
with smaller circles, filled with even smaller circles than that.
And inside each of the smallest circles were letters I could barely
read. I looked close, looked hard. I stepped toward you with the
little cake and you said, “Look again.”
“I know. I know.” I said. Each tiny circle held the
smallest letters I had ever seen, written in the finest hand. As
though etched, carved with an invisible pin, words again and again,
over and over and over. They said, “I am happy I am happy
I am happy.” In sugar.