It is Monday morning with flags unfurled.
Children gone, last one out today.
An empty house.
Mandy the years just slipped by. It wasn't a conscious road, this road that led me away from you.
It was never what I wanted.
But then life is never what we want.
The dreams of fifteen that dull to the ache of fifty-five.
When I saw you, sunglasses on, by the boardwalk at the end of Brand St.
Before Balfour's, before marriage, before the mortgage.
You had that inscrutable smirk.
Sly, quizzically flirtatious face.
Darling green eyes.
You know these summer things never last...
Well you were wrong before you were right.
All great relationships, like civilizations, leave monuments to decay in their wake.
The bungalow on Miles Ave. with its multiple extensions.
Debbie, Jake and Joseph, too grown up now.
The memory boxes of shared joys and pains that are a garage and basement plump with the detritus of lives joined.
Fragments of junk sale daydreams.
These vaulted and echoing cathedrals that we ourselves erected but can only now visit as if tourists being guided through our own past.
It is, I guess, as was Stonehenge after the Druids left.
But what is this then, this compulsion so many of us have?
This desire to stand shoulder-by-shoulder as if against the tide of the world?
Knowing as we all must that we are sure to fail.
I suppose it is that the failure matters less than that, on those many days that littered our battlefields, you would whisper ever so softly to me. Touch my fingers with yours.
So find me Xerxes and Leonidas,
And to this brink and pass do draw me near,
Loose these quivers full of expectations,
And deliver me into this valley of tears,
And then go tell it to the Spartans,
Stranger passing by,
That in faith with this fleeting fairytale,