Pocket Memoirs

February 3, 2013
There’s a little you left in my pocket;
It’s that frail chartreuse button
that popped off your clearance-rack velveteen pullover a few months hence
on a day I remember so clearly.

It was that same day when we toasted orange juice and muffins to the humble sunrise over Fox Creek. The stream slept in past dawn until the tree’s parting curtains let sunlight spill over the dormant waters and stir the sleepy river. It was that same morning you wore your picnic-table red and white plaid shirt, sleeves rolled up, and khakis—you always looked so nice in khakis. It was that same morning we went toad-catching and tried to snatch the frivolous minnows in the cups of our hands, glinting like scaly silver suns. We stole autumn’s only flowers—perennial reds and golds that were bidding their seasonal farewells. You plucked a smiling lily from the earth and framed it behind my ear, like you told me you used to do to your Gram when you were young.
It was that same day we rode our bikes to the next town over for vanilla soft serve in that little shop downtown that looked like a cozy cabin; the shop that ubiquitously resembled a house from a prairie, the woods, the west, and the subdivision down the street from us. We biked on that back road path past the buzzing rusted exteriors of the industrial side of town until we reached that familiar haven. It was the same day your tire got caught on a rock, ejecting you from your bike face first. We laughed at the cartoon bandages the old man in the ice cream shop gave you; the man who became our second grandfather after umpteenth orders of pecan swirl and cherry-fudge macadamia. It was the day we ditched our bikes and just walked for miles with our cones in the October air, shattering our rearview mirrors with stone and simply continuing forward with no consciousness or care of retrospect.
It was that same day that we raked the autumn leaves from my yard and then got lost in a pool of them, sinking and swimming in the sienna foliage; exchanging Eskimo kisses and friendly pushes. The sun resigned, superseded by ashen brows which gave way to misting precipitation. The leaves smelled of earth and life; of wind and crisp soil. We were dry under the pile of leaves as the downpour appropriated in strength. The leaves collected beads of rain and shined like chestnut diamonds—just like your pleading eyes.
It was the same day you took me downtown for an evening together; a starlit dinner seated in a garden outdoors, swooning over the serenades of Ella Fitzgerald playing on the restaurant’s radio. The waitress replenished refill after refill for us; we sipped on our soda and lemonade until we were the last customers. It was the same night you showed me the secret gazebo downtown: the ceilings masked with graffiti of blessings and curses. We made up stories on the artistic miasma of the spray-paint figures from that harbor of thoughts.
It was the same day I fell in love with you on your doorstep. We bumbled home from the cinema, fingers woven together, sharing secrets and singing sweet nothings, rejoicing like life had paused beyond our realm. I fell in love with your wit and your mischief, your candidness and your sarcastic satire of humankind, and the way you hesitated to divulge each sentence and let go of the eloquent words you learned to love as if vocalizing them would take away from their sentiment. It was the night you told me you didn’t believe in serendipity, don’t you remember? It was the night you pulled me close and I clung tight, accidentally disbanding a button from your sweater, while we laughed about your inability to find an explanation for love.
I kept the ticket stub from the theater that night.
I placed it in my lonely dresser next to your button—
That damn green button I unraveled from that familiar sweater.

It was last week that I discarded the movie ticket. It was the same week I sewed the button onto an old cable knit sweater I used to love and donated it to the local thrift store downtown. Sorry I never returned it. Someone else can fall in love with it now.

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