Summer

By Emilio Mascaro

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Our summer was as the city’s. Beautiful and provisional. The river looked beautiful and seemed to glow in the Sun’s light. I followed the river’s flow with my eyes until I couldn’t any longer, losing it to the horizon. It looked as if it eventually met with the Sun at the horizon. The bridge loomed up ahead, tucked under a seemingly cloudless blue blanket. The sky’s eye appeared to look at us like a concerned parent, watching us as we made our way towards the steps that would ascend us to the bridge.

“How’s it look?” She spoke almost excitedly. “Beautiful.”

“Am I?”

“Are you what?”

“Beautiful.” She now stopped and looked at me. She looked gorgeous even though she was veiled with a hat and sunglasses. I could feel her eyes staring deeply into mine through the lenses. I looked away from her. I hadn’t the need to look to answer honestly.

“You’ve always been and always will be.” Of this I was certain.

We continued to walk until we reached the bridge and climbed to its apex. It stood far lower than expected, for from the river’s bank it seemed as if one would be able to see the world from that bridge. The river looked peculiar from that height, almost confused, as a cloud had moved over it and the river’s end that from the bank had looked as if it would follow the Sun until they met now looked lost in the strange light. It was weird, how we were really standing over the river but we felt as if we were below it.

We stopped and looked over the bridge’s side and saw a great many number of young couples coming from where we had just come to climb the steps and make their way to the bridge just as we just had and I felt sad for them. I felt as if I should’ve  warned them that up there it wasn’t so beautiful, should’ve told them to stay down by the river’s bank where it was perfect, but they hurried as I just had, anxious to see something that would invariably disappoint them. We were as they are once, I thought to myself, so beautifully ignorant, running hastily to a point of no return.

The people on the bridge seemed not so in love as those by the river. Instead they just stood idly, taking photographs they felt obliged to take with hopeless expressions spread on their faces. We walked on up to a mountain peak where the old that was at our path’s end. It looked over
nothing.

“We’re here,” she said. She removed her glasses and gave a gaze of joy deep into my eyes and removed her hat. She looked much older now than she should have. She was bald and her eyes held bags under them. I looked up and found the Sun now totally gone, replaced by a sea of gray clouds. But was it ever really there? I didn’t know. I think not now.

“I know.”

“Well, take it out.” “You sure?”

“I’m sure. Give it to me.” “But, the Doctor —“

“Doctor? Stop it. Listening to them. They’re liars. Give it here.” “It’s what you want?”

“Yes.”

I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out a rosary. My rosary. She kissed my cheek and grabbed it and then kissed my lips with a passion that ran on love, the world’s strongest of fuels. I remembered in that kiss our first kiss, when I diffidently leaned in and placed my lips on hers and she reciprocated and we knew we had found each other. I remembered the kiss on our wedding night when I had emblematically said the words and kissed her with an ardent passion as she continued to smile. She couldn’t stop smiling that night. Neither could I.

She whispered in my ear. “I am not told what to do. We are not told what to do.” She jumped over the mountain’s edge and fell, my rosary held tightly in her hand. I watched her fall until my eyes could no longer see her and she became infinitesimally small in the distance. It hurt very much watching this, but I stood there and took it all in and absorbed all the pain and fixated on it until its hurt begun to diminish and then I thought about it more until it ceased.

I tried to walk back to the river’s side, but the area had been closed off. I never made it back there.

Emilio Mascaro