Remembering 17
by Leslie Sittner

I met him in summer
first time away from home
a dry run at independence
before September college.
It was 1963. I was 17.

He will be a junior
at his college three states away.
this wasn’t like high school
no chaperones
no curfews
but drinking
working hard days
playing hard nights.
Come summer’s end
we go our separate ways.

Or so I remember.

He cyber finds me in fall
divorced, widowed, children
grandchildren, retirement,
living single, practiced at independence.
It is 2016. I am 70.

He phones, he e-mails.
He mentions that summer‘s two roommates
I remember one.
I remember the one roommate’s girlfriend
He does not.
He remembers the going-away dinner he splurged on
I do not.
He says we agreed to continue our relationship long distance
I don’t remember this.
He brings up all the phone calls
I vaguely remember a couple.
I fly to his fall Homecoming Weekend
This we both remember.
Lunch with Little Richard at his fraternity
This I remember. He does not.
Departing, I sob, give him a friendship ring
This he remembers. I do not.
He comes East that Christmas to ski with me
I don’t remember this.
He wants to know exactly when I met my husband-to-be,
were we still a couple,
did I cheat on him,
why didn’t I break up with him sooner?
I just don’t remember.
At 17 apparently I broke his heart.
I own only my memories of that 17th summer and fall.
No more. No less.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me that summer. For some reason I’m strumming a ukulele─which I still do not know how to play. The photo was e-mailed to me this past fall by the man in this poem.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Coincidently, the first call from this long-ago “boyfriend” making contact with me from an internet search came just a week after I had been remembering that summer with him. Then this Silver Birch prompt appears. Hmmm. What does all this mean?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. Her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words, 50 Word Challenge, and 50 Word Stories. A variety of other prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press. She has finished a book about travels with her ex-husband and hopes a publisher will find it as humorous as she and her writer-friends do.