Worth Celebrating

It was the slight gap between her front teeth that gave her away and took my breath.

I had a feeling when I left home that something special would happen today. So when I saw her coming down the escalator that I was going up, I saw the ghost of Emily, the little girl now grown up and older that I had first fallen in love with and who had loved me back, at least for a few days, when we were on the playground of our elementary school back when the world was much younger and so was I.

The day had started with a great discovery. I had every reason to smile, since it was the day Emily Dickinson had been born, some 182 years ago. I have always enjoyed her poetry, despite some fun my friend Robin, a retired English professor at James Madison University, has with her when he quips that all her poetry can be set to the music of The Yellow Rose of Texas.

The Emily of the escalator, though, was not the Emily of the playground. My childhood playmate had grown over the years into a real beauty with much charm and humor, even though that gap had never closed enough to please her.

But like the Belle of Amherst, she was taken before her time, perhaps because of an exuberant moment when she let her guard down for a moment’s fatal inattention. When I heard that she was gone, I felt my soul had turned to cinder.

So when this lady of a certain age on the escalator caught my eye for a moment, startling me with what I thought was Emily transported into today and aged appropriately, I went back in time, deep into a somewhat locked vestibule of memory.

I had a slight flutter now knowing what the morning’s anticipation had meant. Over the years, I have tried to manage certain memories. I have even thought I was on the way to accepting the ineluctable without tears. But such parlor tricks are likely to be their own Pucks, rascals that take you on journeys you may not be prepared for.

I’m glad I read of one Emily’s birthday this morning and just as pleased to have had the other Emily also appear today, two ladies always worth celebrating.

As I think of what was triggered in me, I recall one of Ms Dickinson’s poems, which I reprint in her own special syntax:

Presentiment–is that long Shadow–on the Lawn
Indicative that Suns go down

The Notice to the startled Grass
That Darkness–is about to pass




Images: Photo of the children per David Evans, "That actually was me and my "girlfriends" on the playground of Dana Ave Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio. Taken circa 1951 by mother of one of the girls. I'm still in contact with Patty, the dark haired one. Aren't I a fashion statement!" - (public domain because its copyright has expired); Daguerreotype of the poet Emily Dickinson, taken circa 1848. (Original version.) From the Todd-Bingham Picture Collection and Family Papers, Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (public domain because its copyright has expired) via Wikipedia.

David Evans

I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one remaining dog.  We've decided no more dogs and cats.  Losing them is just too painful. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I now have the chance to revisit the many people and places that have enriched my life. The good folks at Wesleyan College in central West Virginia guided me to a graduate degree in fine arts in early 2018.  My plan is to use some of the skills I learned from two years in this creative writing program to tell my story.

One Comment
  1. Frank Povah

    Ah Dafid Efans: I, too, have my Emily who still sometimes haunts my dreams on stilly nights.

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