Thursday, January 17, 2013

After a Brief Time Together on Lake Union

Bobby St. Clair was twenty-one when he voted for Kennedy.
Cathleen was eighteen. She had lived with her mother
the summer after she left the houseboat, working in a bakery
whose owner took her to bed with his socks on. She laughed
telling Bobby when she saw him next in Seattle. He didn’t.
When he went into Ward Seven he was still twenty-one.

Cathleen went back to doing what she did best, dancing,
partying, staying up all night studying, the dormitory
quiet, finally. She wondered if her Black Irish heritage
lay back of it all, the men courting her, more than one
at a time, her willingness to give them what they wanted,
her stubborn will: the straight A’s, her Phi Beta Kappa key.

Bobby met Melindra in the hospital, and Bonnington too.
He lived in Paul and Anna’s bungalow in their backyard
once he was an out-patient. He started slowly coming back
to life. Bonnington healed him, Melindra gave him the rest.
Cathleen was long gone by then, making a name in fashion
in San Francisco, then Paris; then London, which she hated.

She was Black Irish and loathed Limeys, as she called them.
She saw Bobby when she returned to Seattle for one reason
or another, none of which, he knew, involved seeing him . . .
He was living with Melindra and most likely he was happy
sleeping with her, walking in the park, writing in her home.
When he looked up and there was Cathleen, it was all over.

They stayed in her room for the rest of the time she was free.
Two days, three nights. She flew from there to Athens, Greece.
He returned to the backyard bungalow without saying a word
to Melindra. In the New Congress he played clarinet and sang
with Sanchez & Company. He was twenty-two years old now.
Among the other girls in their hip-high hose, he knew Cristina.

(17 January 2013)

copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander

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