Monday, February 20, 2006

On a July Evening in Beaufort
by Dana Sieben

The wooden swing creaked as Maggie slowly sat down and looked out over the small mudflats surrounding the Beaufort marina. This was her special place; a place of peace and love and serenity; of memories. In the distance, shrimp boats seemed to magically float across the grassy marshes, taking their loads to dock. Shades of pink, orange and lavender filled the skies and the descending sun threw jewel-like sparkles on the water. He would be here soon.

Maggie could hear the sounds of the playground a few yards away: the children screaming in delight and the mothers pleading with them to get off the swings and leave for dinner. Behind her, the horses pulling the tourist carriages snorted as their owners closed up for the day. She closed her eyes to the beauty, smelt the salty air, and presently felt a familiar presence settle onto the swing next to her.

"Hello Maggie, love."She smiled brightly, not opening her eyes. He was here. She could smell his aftershave, the smell of his skin. Feel his warmth against her.

"Hello Robert."

"Another Friday, is it?" he stated. "We used to sit out here every Friday night and watch the shrimp boats go by? Every Friday night that your dad let you out of the house, that is. And afterward, we would come just for the memories. Do you remember how it was then?"

She nodded, smiling in remembrance. It had been a glorious romance: he in his stark white naval uniform, she in her poodle skirt and tight sweaters. Dancing and living and loving. He had made a dashing figure; his jet-black hair combed smoothly back with pomade. He had swept her off her feet, she who had never been anywhere else in her life but this small town.

He went on. "I always loved it here in the south, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world." He paused. "And you were my girl."

"I still am," she cried desperately, turning her face into his arm, "Oh Robbie, we were going to buy a house on one of the islands after you were discharged and have a boy and a girl who would look just like us. It was such a beautiful future, Robert," she sighed. "I only wish it had come true."

She finally felt him put his arm around her shoulders like he used to and she melted into his embrace and savored it for the fleeting, loving thing that it was. He would go soon. He always did.

"Why did you have to leave me, Rob?" she asked with eyes still closed. "Oh, why couldn’t you have just stayed?"

"It wasn’t my choice, honey. You have to understand that."

She shook her head. "I don’t understand that and I never will."

"I do love you, my Maggie. I always have."

"I know." Tears emerged from under her closed eyelids and fell down her old, wrinkled cheeks as she felt him leaving.

"Goodbye, my love," she whispered softly to him, the love of her youth, her husband.

"Goodbye Maggie. I’ll see you soon, I promise.

"Maggie finally opened her eyes and let him go yet again, stroking the folded American flag given to her by men in uniform as she had every Friday night for over forty years, watching the same southern sunsets and the same things come to an end.

© 2005 Dana Sieben
Published by USA Deep South on 5/1/05
Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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"I believe that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can not baptize cats." - Larry the Cable Guy

A Tennessee man and an Alabama man were both fighting in a war and were captured by the enemy.
"Before we put you to death," said the enemy, "do you have any last requests?"
"Yes," said the Alabaman. "Could you play 'Yeah, Alabama' before you shoot me?"
"Sure," said the enemy. "How about you, Tennessean?"
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