Running Colors
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

 I mistook the name when an older sister’s friend spoke of him ― Salmon and his coat of many colors. But she had gotten it wrong as well. Joseph of Canaan owned the ornate garment. Yet her engaged tone, whilst I eavesdropped, afforded transcending fantasy; in my imagination the notable subject of their intrigue became Solomon.

Some vague weeks later, I watched this phantom man as he strode purposefully, below on the railroad tracks, the many-colored coat flaring with each heel kick, marking him Solomon.

From a small concrete perch, legs dangled and heart thumping for fear I’d slip and plummet the great depth, I almost called out. Saw him stop, turn, and look and look until he caught sight of me. He’d respond in some fashion. I’d reply earnestly, I can’t move. And such was true. Then Solomon ―  colors running ― with great determination climbed the trestle mound and pulled me from peril. All this I envisioned while he departed further into waning afternoon, those many mingled hues shifting and fading.

Gripping weedy sod, I back-crawled onto safe ground and clung tightly to its stillness, grateful for death failing its quota on a fortuitous day. I left the mound and tracks and trestle place, never to return, and walked home in a most quiet, meandering manner.

Salmon and I did lastly meet, though I didn’t remark of when I’d first seen him, first confused his name. And I am some grieved that his words are long lost ― for surely they were kind. Now remains only a moment’s thought of the man who lay with me near the lake shore, water gently lapping, this man of running colors.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The husband of a friend of one of my sisters insisted on taking this photo of me. He couldn’t afford color film and I’m glad because this black and white photo remains a favorite from that time period.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: At seventeen I was an incurable romantic — which goes hand in hand with broken hearts. Some things never change.

Wanda Morrow Clevenger
is a Carlinville, Illinois, native. Over 420 pieces of her work appear in 148 print and electronic publications. Her nonfiction “Big Love” was nominated for 2016 Best of Net by Red Fez literary journal. Her poem “When I Loved You” was commended by the judges in the 2015 Lost Tower Publications “The Double Happiness Love Completion.” Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House) was released in October 2011. Visit her magazine-type blog, updated at her erratic discretion, here.