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I will always remember Clementine Licht, she was the heart of our neighborhood. When I was little I would sneak over to her house and tap on the window to come in and play. Five years old, what a marvelous age. She would not stick her head up to look through the window, she couldn’t, she would hold up a yellow mask, from her favorite Sherlock Holmes story. She loved it so because it re-minded her of her, it might sound selfish, but like the girl in the story she could not go out side either, but for different reasons. That yellow expressionless mask would seem to smile to me as it moved through the room to the door where a hand as pale as light would quickly turn the handle and run. I would run in and shut the door being sure to close the blinds. Than that red ball would come bounc-ing out rolling to me. We would play for hours on in, just bouncing that ball.
She would tell me stories of when she would bounce the ball alone and be just as happy, she did not mean it in a mean way. But she would reminisce and talk about the adventures she would endure when her red ball would roll into the sun, the line she could never cross.
Those were the innocent years, just fun and play. Her beautiful green eyes only sparkled with imagination, none of the pollution of adult’s minds. I always found it interesting how her hair was the exact color of that ball, when it would bounce to her head it would look like her face vanished behind her hair. All she would say to me was,
“Won’t you play with me, the sun doesn’t like me. Will you?” I would. When I would go home I would repeat this to myself while looking into the darkness that she so shined in. But soon she and I began to change, puberty does odd things.
The Ball despaired one day, she said it rolled out side and a bird took it away. I do not know if I believe it, I just might though. With no ball to comfort her in her adolescent years she would sit in the corner watching the approaching line of light from the sun and see how close she could stay to it as it slowly washed up the floor and to the wall. It was never to long. Surprisingly her parents were fine with this, they let her do just about what ever. I mean what else can you do when your child can’t even go outside or to the movies or anywhere with out those special bulbs.
As we grew or methods of communication changed as our eyes began looking at each other in new light. At night I would come by and sing,
“Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine!” She would poke out of her top window, perfect to let light in. And smile back saying,
“You came to play with me!” I would smile every time as she would say that coming down the side of the house where the vines grew free and we would kiss and hold hands looking at the nice moon, he did not hurt her. We would spend hours looking into each others eyes, my boring brown being grown upon by her foliage of green that grew from the tears that she rained. Her favorite time was the rain, it was the one time she could go outside, when it would usually be sunny. She loved the rain so much, she would come out singing and dancing jumping and rolling. Her parents loved the rain too, it was the one time their child got to be close to normal, that’s why they let our relationship go on. But after every rain day she would be sick for a day or too, not bad just couldn’t go out side at all, because there was still light in the rain. On those days I would go to a window where she would wait and tap on it pressing my hand against the glass with hers and we would kiss being only centi-meters away. I would say the corniest thing ever,
“You are the light of my world.” And she would reply with
“You bastard!” With a smile that would light the planet as our fingers danced on the glass, mine tanned from the sun, hers pale as light.
I will never forget those nights, I would never feel closer to anyone else then at those times. But soon time came to tare us away for I reached the age of eighteen and off to college I had to go. Our last night together was the last time I saw her.
She came to my house singing our song.
“Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Paul!” It always sounded so out of place. I quickly come out and we ran to the park hand and hand she lighting our way. It was that night that we became engulfed in one another and shared the love we had. We stayed at the park the whole night just on the ground, we didn’t care, as we stared into each others eyes till sleep curtained or minds.
I awoke with a start as sunlight blinded me, I quickly dashed my head around trying to find her, her cloths were there but she had gone. No one knew where she gone, I like to think that the sun finally agreed to play.
Licht is light in German by the way.