Monday, February 14, 2011

Someone Else's Valentine

It was one of the most beautiful nights I have seen. The sun had set and the sky had faded from red and orange into a bleached bone color right on the horizon before turning that deep shade of Colorado indigo I love so much. The stars began to salt the night and the clouds were high and distant, barely covering the moon. Two clouds, as enormous as continents divided by a dark twinkling ocean, the reflection of Orion glimmering on the gently rolling surface. of the sea of vast space, floated lazily overhead. They were watercolor white and looked as though a hand bigger than I can imagine had smudged their solid edges, whisping into smears that could have been floating ice or tall whitecaps. The very last of the night's pink frosted their peaks and a faint tint of gold rolled in their valleys.

I whistled, as I often do on our walks through the park, and sometimes, when it's just Duncan and me, I'll even sing into the night sky, each note falling in time with a nearly silent footstep, catching in the bare branches of the elms and aspens above us, rattling their leaves before falling to earth to slide across the surface of last week's snow, now barely more than thick soup on the drowned lawns.

Not far ahead of us a couple, young, probably still in high school, walked slowly, their hands entwined, their shoulders and hips bumping softly against one another in that way that couples have. They sat at one of the benches and leaned into one another, sneaking kisses and whispering. Duncan plodded up to them, his feet making delicate squishing noises in the slush as he approached to sniff their knees and hands, looking for a treat.

"He's friendly," I told them. "Sorry about that."

"No worries," the boy said while his girl patted Roo's head and scratched behind his ears.

I pulled Dunc away and continued down the walk, turning my face into the bashful moon before picking up my whistle where I'd left off.

I'd barely found the notes when the boy jogged up to me and asked, "What's that song you're whistling?"

"'I'll Be Seeing You,'" I told him. "The Carmen McRae version." As if he knew who she was or even that there were different versions of the song, one of my favorites.

"It's nice," he said and then fell silent, as though thinking of something but was afraid to ask.

"Would you whistle it for us?" he asked, not quite looking at me, his big feet kicking awkwardly in the snow at the edge of the sidewalk. "If you don't mind..." And then added, as if I didn't know, "It's Valentine's Day and all."

I smiled and nodded. He ran back to the bench, pulled his girl to her feet and led her back to where I stood under a glowing orange lamp. Duncan rolled in the snow on the hillside, his legs dancing on the sky.

The boy whispered to her and took her in his arms even though she giggled and tried to pull away. He whispered to her again and she fell still. He nodded at me over her shoulder and as I began to whistle, he rested his face in the warm place between her shoulder and neck and  they began to dance. She giggled again but he held her close and soon the two of them were lost in the night, moving slowly, the warmth of their bodies pressed together fending off the cool breeze which picked up and slid down the hill toward us. Duncan looked up at them, ran in circles around them and the continents above moved closer together, their edges colliding until they, too, were one, and Orion looked away while the moon smiled down on them and my whistled notes carried them from this winter night in the park to a place where this memory will live forever.


Charlie said...

What a special experience!

Sue said...

I love that song. I can close my eyes and almost hear you whistling it. I never was good at whistling...

By the way, I LOVED your FB posts today. You had me rolling...especially when my husband walked in with roses in his hand and a twinkle in his eye. High hopes, my boy, high hopes.


Kemia said...

Hope they went home and looked it up. Those young love memories are pure bliss.