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
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
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.