I’ve fondled that picture so often through the years it’s curled and faded. It sits in my hand, a cold, stiff, lifeless tomb that cradles my memories.
But still my memories of her are warm, vibrant, euphoric. They leap from the paper and dance in my heart.
Color burns through the gray, revealing giggles and sighs. Smells of vanilla and fresh-cut hay waft through the creases. Secret glances across crowded rooms steal across the frozen image.
Remembering hands held lightly while meandering down dusty lanes helps me to forget, if only for the briefest of moments.
That was her idea, you know. A dare, really. That was her style. Walk thin lines on a whim, leave the broad and stable paths for the crowds.
I was content to follow her lead, though she depended on me to catch her when she fell — a balancing act that worked like a poet’s dream for 56 years.
But it was I who fell the day she stretched her wings, lifted from her throne, and disappeared into the clouds.
As I feel my fledgling wings form, I still follow her.