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His message arrives. "Yes, I'm coming for dinner tonight. I want to be with you again." I begin to prepare our favourite dish, peeling the autumn vegetables–rich gold, orange, dark green and purple–jewels from the earth. Garlic is chopped, lots of it, with brown onions. I sear them with cubed meat in olive oil, tipping everything into the pot with handfuls of lacy parsley leaves, spiky shoots of Rosemary, salt, pepper and a generous splashing of red wine. The rich scent of slow cooking fills the room. I set our table for two, longing for his coming. Finally my door opens. He's here!
During the dinner we relish each mouthful of my special dish, each moment of our conversation. Occasionally our knees brush together under the table. I inhale a slight scent of his aftershave. He compliments me on my perfume. "I'll get the coffee now." I rise to bring in cups and saucers. When I return a gold box has found its way to my place. "Surprise! I've brought us European chocolates." We joke about him being a North Pole, me being a South Pole. There it is again–that magnetic energy field always pulling us closer together. Holding hands we slowly sip our coffee as the new moon rises under a canopy of shining stars. Suddenly he leans forward. "Promise me you'll write." "Yes, every day. I'll be waiting. You know I will." We don't speak about his departure again. In the morning he is leaving for the front line, to spill his soul in another senseless, man-made war. Instead we savour our last precious moments together.
an empty square
in my wall calendar
I'll colour in a heart
to mark it
Originally published in Yellow Moon, 20, Summer 2006