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August 13th, 1972, I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was twenty-two years old, and walked down the smoothly paved sidewalk as if I owned the town. I was wearing a blue polo with the collar nice and crisp, and a pair of tan khaki’s that were brand new. I felt as if I were at the top of the world, as if nothing could stop me.
I soon took a right onto Maple Street, and it seemed as if everyone was staring at me in envy; I smiled a brash smile, and smugly walked down the street to take in the scenery of my hometown. The birds were chirping and the sky was bright blue with a few specs of fluffy white clouds here and there.
I take a deep breath, smelling the maple syrup smell of Vermont. Dogs pass me, not barking, but happily trotting down the road to the park. I decide to follow them to the park where the happy, joyous screams escape the mouths of many children. I find a bench nearby which fairly clean and I decide to rest my tired feet.
As soon as I set eyes on the playground memories of my childhood come flooding into my brain. I soon remember the small chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream on a sugar cone desert I used to get almost every day. I can almost taste the sweetness of the sugar cone in my mouth; I can almost feel the ice-cream dripping down my small hand and my petite tongue trying to lick at it.
For old time sake I head over to the ice-cream truck. To my amazement it is the exact same truck. In my mind it looks brand new; the stickers aren’t peeling off, the corners of the truck aren’t rusting, and the truck doesn’t creek as the old man serves the kids ice-cream. After the kids receive their ice-cream I head up to the large window where a wrinkled kind old man stands with a smile on his face.
As soon as I look into the old man’s eyes I recognize him. He was the man selling me ice-cream fifteen years ago. He smiled a toothless grin as if he knew who I was the minute I walked up to the window. I order my ice-cream, and I watch as his fragile old body makes the ice-cream as perfect as I remember.
His hand shakes as he hands me the desert, and as I go to give him the money I owe, he shakes his head and smiles, refusing my money. Then, when he turns around to take a sip of water, I slip a twenty dollar bill into the tip jar. I stride away as if I did nothing, only to return to the bench mentioned before.
I savor the delicious treat, and as I eat I see two children, a boy and girl, playing on the swing set, which reminds me of my first kiss. Her name was Mary-Kate, and she had locks of gold braided on each side of her head. And every time I saw her I wanted to just swim for hours in her deep blue eyes.
I sigh in content, and realize its 2:30, and I’m going to be late for lunch with my family; I then stand up, and throw the remainders of my ice-cream away, and head towards the exit of the park. I reach the middle of the park when I saw her.
She was so beautiful, so elegant. Her stone gray eyes followed my every move. She was extraordinarily perfect; her cheekbones high and mighty, her curves as if she was a goddess from above. She was dressed in a dress that enticed me towards her. Birds flutter and chirped by her side, like from a fairy tale. I inch towards her, as I take in her breath taking beauty. Her eyes never lose focus on me.
It feels as if we are the only two in the park, even though, out of my peripheral vision, I see people staring at us. She looked glorious as the sunlight shined upon her elegant fingers. I get close to her and stroke her cheek bone. She looks into my eyes, my soul, and that’s when I see it.
I see our future together. I see our children, all precious cherubs, I see them grow up and leave, I see us holding hands swaying on a decayed porch swing together. It all flashes before me, and I’m overwhelmed with passion. She’s gorgeous, stunning. I feel as if she is my other half. I cannot contain myself any longer.
I grab both sides of her face and press my lips against hers It feels as if electric waves flow through me, but for a short instant something feels wrong. It isn’t doubt, but worry. Her lips were so cold, chilling almost.
I pull away and feel my bottom lips with my fingers without looking into her eyes. What was I afraid of, embarrassment, humiliation, rejection? I overcome my fears and look into her eyes; only to realize she was a statue. I stumble backwards onto the grass. I survey the area to see all eyes on me. A security guard is heading my way, and I stand up, still a little dazed from the kiss, and ran. As I exit the gate I pause with hesitation to leave her. Yes, she is a statue, but I love her.
Since that day, I haven’t touched, or even thought, of another woman. She was my soul-mate, my other half. Sure, her heart wasn’t beating, she had no pulse, no blood running through her veins, but there was something inside her. A soul. My soul-mate is a statue, and she will always be a statue, but it makes me wonder…Was she alive? Are all statues alive?