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Ghost Boy Blues 10

Out in the hall we stand on shaky feet. Though much of the vertigo feeling has gone away, this host body is weak. Perhaps it is my presence that drains the energy, the fact that two should are now sharing a bodily apartment. For now we are roommates trying to get along until one moves out. Eventually, one will dominate the other. I cant imagine both minds swirling around in this flesh, bumping into each other and wondering who’s thoughts are whose.

We head down the empty hall, me inside the frame of Joey Mattson, the guy everyone else wants to be. And now I’m him. I could probably get any girl in school now. They all adore him. Even the teachers like him. The sky is the limit on what is achievable. But first, Joey thinks he needs to go to the bathroom. And so I relax, letting him go to take care of whatever bodily functions needs attention.

No one is in the restroom. He looks at himself in the mirror and splashes water in his face. It’s a weird feeling for me, seeing myself and knowing the face isn’t mine. This one doesn’t have acne, nor scars associated with it. The eyes are a different color, the cheeks higher, and when he smiles to check his teeth, I can’t help that they are much whiter than mine were. It takes some effort but I force hm to look down at his body. Even with clothes covering it, I can tell the physique is more appealing than mine ever was. I no longer inhabit a lanky body. Its easy to tell Joey works out. He is in top physical form. No wonder he’s popular with the ladies.

My thoughts must have been bleeding into his own for the vertigo returned and he hurried into a stall to throw up. He retched but nothing came. I could his confused mind asking what was wrong with him. I wanted to answer him back, ‘You aren’t just you anymore.’ I also wanted to direct him to get it together and just accept this. Go find the girl I jumped into this body for anyway. I don’t know if it was my thoughts or how he was feeling physically, but he went to retch again.

The bathroom door opened and someone came in. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and stepped out of the stall, expecting to see a teacher. But it wasn’t one of the faculty. It was the football jock from class.

“Hey, you okay?”

“Yeah, I think so,” my host replied. “No, I’m not sure.”

The jock walked to one of the urinals and unzipped. In the midst of relieving his bladder, he asked, “so, what’s wrong? You feel sick?”

“Yeah, a little, I guess.”

“You going to hurl?”

My host laughs. “No. I thought I was. I’ll be okay.”

The jock zips back up. “I hope so.”

“Yeah, me too.”

We all walk to the sinks, both guys washing their hands. Nothing is said for a moment.

“How did you get out of class?” My host asks.

“Oh that was easy. Teachers get uneasy when you say you cant hold it any longer. I threatened to piss in my seat.”

They both have a laugh at this and then proceed to dry their hands off at the wall mounted dryer.

“You better go back soon then,” Joey says. “It doesn’t take that long to pee.”

“Yeah, I guess I better. You sure you’re okay?”

I nod my head, or at least Joey does. I am just a spectator inside his body. And then I fell it. A butterfly kind of feeling, that spreads through my stomach and down my body. I wonder if he’s going to retch again right in front of this guy. Maybe hurl up on his shoes.

The jock smiles and turns to go, then stops. “I don’t care if you threw up or not.”

“Yeah?”

“Yes.”

He grabs my host’s face in his hands and kisses him.

+++++

Missed an episode? Ghost Boy Blues now has its own main page so you can catch up or start at the beginning. Find it Here

Wild Fire and Star Shine (flash fiction) (short story)

WILD FIRE & STAR SHINE

“Where’s Jack,” the little girl asked, finishing off her bowl of oatmeal and looking up at her mother hopefully.

Mother smiled. “He’s outside chopping wood.”

“He hasn’t left?”

Mom tried to muster a smile. “Not yet.”

Her daughter looked up from her breakfast. “But he will?”

“Eventually, I suppose.” She turned from her child to the sink. “They always do.”

The little girl put her spoon down and slid her chair from the table. “I wish one of them would stay. I always miss them when they leave.”

Then she was bounding out the door for the wood pile and the man who waited there.

“I do too, Sophie,” her mother said in her absence. “I do too.”

Sophie ran on ten year old legs around the back of the house where a man stood over a pile of logs he was in the process of splitting. Though it was fall and a little chilly at the base of the mountain, he worked shirtless, his muscles rippling with each swing of the axe.

The child watched him for a moment as he worked on the wood and then said, “I hope I have muscles like yours when I grow up.”

The man smiled as if noticing her for the first time. He looked at her, his sky blue eyes bright in the morning sun. “From what I have seen that would probably make people uncomfortable. Little girls aren’t supposed to dream of being men.”

“Mama says women can do things better than men. And that girls aren’t afraid of com..commi…”

“Commitment?” Jack suggested.

“Yes, commitment.”

Jack lifted his axe and brought it down on a log. “Well, your mom is probably right.”

“Are you afraid of commit..commitment?”

He snorted. “That’s a deep question for a little girl.”

Sophie sat down on one of the logs. “I don’t want you to go.”

“I’m not going anywhere, little one.”

“Mama says you will. She says men don’t like baggage.”

Again, he smiled. “Your mama says a lot.”

Sophie brushed her chestnut colored hair off her face. “She likes you, you know.”

“I like her, too.”

She smiled mischievously. “Are you going to kiss her?”

“Sophie!”

The shout startled the girl, and she turned to see her mom standing there with two coffee mugs in her hand.

“That’s not the way girls talk to grown men,” her mom scolded. “Now go inside and get ready for school.”

“He’s not a grown man.”

“Sophie! Mind your manners and do what I tell you.”

The girl hung her head. “Yes mam.” She looked up at Jack who had a look of amusement on his face. “I’m sorry Mr. Jack. I shouldn’t have said that about grown up.”

The man sat down the axe and walked over to her. He jostled her hair with his hand. “It’s okay, wildfire. Maybe I do have a lot of growing up to do still. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks. Still not used to this air.” He winked and looked to the blue expanse of sky overhead. “I’m so used to cramped spaces and a faster pace of things.” He smiled at her reassuringly. “I’ll get used to it. But right now, you better do what your ma says.”

“Yes, sir,” she replied and headed off to the house.

Jack put his hands on his hips and looked at the girl’s mother. “Is that for me,” he asked, pointing at one of the cups in her hand.

“Um yes, of course,” she replied, trying not to look at his bare chest. She attempted to ignore how the sweat ran in rivulets down to his abs, disappearing into the top of his faded black jeans.

He took the cup she offered and drank from it in spare sips. Some of it missed his lips and ran down his chin, but he seemed not to notice.

“Thanks,” he said. “How do you say it? It hits the spot?”

“Yes, that’s what we say, “ she agreed, hoping he had forgotten the interchange between himself and her precocious daughter. He handed the cup back and picked up the axe again, hefting it over his shoulder to return to the task of woodcutting. “So, what is this thing about kissing?”

She dropped both cups. “Um..I..you have to understand something…about children. Sometimes…they, um, say the craziest things.”

He nodded as if digesting some new kind of information. “Hmmm. And is this something they grow out of?”

“Hopefully so.”

“This kissing thing then?”

“Don’t worry, “ she replied, her voice catching in her throat. “It will pass. Nothing to concern yourself with.”

He could tell she was nervous, that this was an uncomfortable kind of topic for her. He knew enough to change the conversation before it made her even more uneasy..

“How about them Cowboys?”

“Excuse me?” She asked.

“I saw that on the…what do you call it?…television. When you want to avoid a subject?”

“Um..yes, of course. How about them cowboys.”

She tried to muster a confident smile and turned to go back inside. She needed to check on Sophie and drive her to school or they would be late. She took one last look at Jack and almost felt sorry for him. Where he came from, on his planet, kissing must have truly been an alien concept.

Ghost Boy Blues

Author’s Note: like it often does inspiration struck me with a phrase that just leaped into my head, so this is what came from it. I don’t know how far I will go with this, but I thought I’d share it anyway. As a writer I don’t like leaving stuff around unseen, but believe everything should be put out there for people to find and read. By the way, the phrase that got this thing started is actually the last sentence of this piece. Just thought I’d let you know in case you were curious. Alrighty then, here we go. Hope you enjoy.

Ghost Boy Blues

She doesn’t see me; she never does. I’m a ghost in the room, passing from desk to desk, until I am beside her, close enough for my breath to touch her neck. But I hold it, never exhaling upon her skin but longing to tell her how I once loved her.

It’s at time likes these I wish I would have at least tried to tell her. But the truth is I lacked the courage then. Even now, moving about unseen, relegated to just a feeling in the room, I can’t seem to convey my feelings. Even as a ghost I lack the bravery necessary just to whisper “I love you” in her ear.

She wouldn’t even know where it came from. She might even think she was hearing things that weren’t really there, but I feel like that just like me she could benefit from knowing she is adored above all the stars in the sky. There must be a way to let her know. Some instance where I can show the whole class that despite who I once was, how insignificant my existence had been, I was now the shadow that would never leave her side, the shelter among all her teenage storms. I am the ghost boy with the cold blue eyes and the heart of fire.

Episode 2

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Monday Morning At The Springtime Cafe (short story / flash fiction)

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting at the Springtime Cafe once again, watching all the A.M. people get a kick start to their day. Coffee, danishes, breakfast, conversation, whatever one needs to begin is right here. There’s even a duo set up with their acoustic guitars in the corner playing a cute little Ingrid Michaelson song. Several waitresses move about, taking orders and offering their own voices to the conversations at the various tables and booths. This morning I spot two of them right away.

Mags, or Maggie for long, is a middle aged lady, perhaps 40 or so, but she moves through the place like she’s twenty-five. She has blond hair, from which I can spot a few grays, though I never try to look that close. She gets picked on about that enough by some of the regular guys who come in and perch at one of her tables while awaiting their carpool. Of course she usually just shoots them down with a look from her steely, gray eyes. If that doesn’t work she has a tone to her voice that might remind you of your mom telling you a whipping is coming. For this reason alone, I can’t help but like her.

The other waitress is just as likable, a little more bubbly perhaps, because of her age. If I had to guess she’s about 30, maybe a few years younger. If Mags acts and moves around like a younger woman, then her co-worker flies around the room like a college girl late for class. Her name is May, and perhaps her parents should have been scolded for naming their child Maybelline, but she too made the best of the jokes and cajoling from the guys who frequented the cafe, some of them drawn indoors by the sight of her alone.

I speak from experience here. I myself was just tooling down the street on the way to a cubicle job I hated when I looked over and saw the brunette waitress through the window of the cafe. Her hair was long then, falling over her shoulders and slightly down her back. From the street, I saw her smile at a customer, and from that day I knew I would want her smile to be at the start of my morning for the rest of my life. Perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but as if on cue she arrives at my table, while I sit here like a dumbfounded idiot watching her approach and jotting it down. If I drew instead of writing about her, she may take more notice, but as it is I’m just another guy, maybe a teacher at the local college, working on a thesis or grading papers while waiting for his coffee.

“Still at it,” she asks, as she steps up to the table, the soles of her white shoes tapping lightly as if a near perfect dance routine had come to a temporary stop.

“Yeah,” I sigh with a smile and fall in love again for the tenth time this morning.

Seven Days Of Sentences: Day 5

Just a couple more days left in the challenge. If you’re just joining me here, the challenge is this: write a story in just one sentence. Sentence can be any length, but once a period is in place, that’s it. So here we go with my attempt on Day 5.

——

The Bible told him what to do, and though it wasn’t what we would have done, perhaps our minds weren’t quite as twisted as his.

Seven Days Of Sentences: Day 3

It’s day 3 of this personal writing challenge. I’m having fun with this, and I feel like it’s helping motivate me a little. Sometimes I spend a great deal of thinking on what I’m writing, trying to keep characters and events in line with the larger story. But with this challenge I can write off the cuff, not really thinking about where the story will lead. Just getting into the simple act of writing. If you need that kind of motivation, I hope you’ll try the challenge as well. It only requires you to tell a story or show a scene in one sentence. The sentence can be as long as you like, but when you put that period in, that’s it. Here’s mine for today.

My father had a knack for disappearing days at a time, causing both mom and I to wonder if there was another woman, or perhaps a more sinister reason for the gun in his drawer.

Are You Gonna Eat That? (Short story)

 “Are you gonna eat that?” she asks. 

 I look down at my plate. “Nah, too much gristle,” I reply, pushing it away from me.

 She rolls her eyes. “I’ll take it then, Mr. Picky-Eater. No sense letting it go to waste.”

 My wife, the garbage disposal. I shake my head. “Hell woman, you’ll eat anything.”

 She grins. “You know it. To hell with starving third world countries, I’ll eat it myself.” Taking a bite, she licks her lips happily. “Damn, this is good. What’s wrong with you?”

 “I don’t like Chinese food too much.”

 “And you don’t like Mexican, either. I’m surprised you don’t starve to death.”

 “Yeah, that will be the day,” I reply. I reach across the table for a plate that’s laden with all meat patties. “I just prefer good old American cuisine.” I bite into one of the patties. It’s a little raw but still delicious.

 She sighs. “Well at least you don’t cook all the flavor out of them.”

 We eat in silence for a few minutes. The only sound is the noise of us chewing our food. Finally she breaks the silence.

 “I saw Patricia at the store the other day.”

 “How’s she doing?”

 “She looked a little pale to me, but she’s gaining weight she says. Her doctor told her she was getting fat. She said she got so mad she could have bitten his head off.”

 I laughed out loud. “Knowing her, she probably did.”

 She laughs with me. “Yeah, she’s got a big mouth on her, we’ve known that.”

 “Open mouth, insert foot. Anyone’s foot.”

 This sets my wife to laughing so hard that she has to wait before putting more food in her mouth.

 “So, how are she and Bill doing?” I ask.

 “She said Bill’s been sick. Food poisoning or some such.”

 “Oh, that sucks.”

 “Yeah.” She takes another bite of her food, talking all the while. “I invited them over for dinner sometime. She said they might do that. I told them we have plenty to eat because you eat like a bird.”

 “Yeah, I love birds,” I tease.

 She tries to laugh but ends up choking on her food a little.

 “Slow it down,” I tell her.

 “Can’t help it,” she replies, after clearing her throat. She reaches across the table for another leg and thigh.

 “I’ll leave you the breast,” she says with a wink.

 “Well, that’s mighty thoughtful of you.” I pick up the breast and take a big bite. “Mmm..mm, there’s nothing better tasting than this right here. You can have the leg all you want, it’s nothing compared to the white meat.”

 My wife just smiles and continues eating. She’s chewing every bit of meat off that leg.

“So honey, what are we going to do with the head?” I ask.

She sets the leg bone down and picks up the thigh, casually wiping the blood off her chin. On the table, a woman’s lifeless face, frozen in a silent scream, stares back at us like a zombie’s TV dinner.

 

 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Morgan’s Plague

​MORGAN’S PLAGUE

    When I came out of the forest clearing into the morning sun, the first thing I noticed was the quiet and absence of people. An RV was parked by a camping spot, but I didn’t see anyone about. Another vehicle, one they used to call a ute, sat alongside the dirt road that led away from the campsites back to the main road and civilization. To break the silence, I shouted a greeting and was answered by the stillness of the day. I thought I heard the sound of birds in the distance somewhere, but I wondered if that was just my imagination, wishing for some other sound besides my own breathing. 

My stomach growled. It had been awhile since I’d eaten.I had run into the woods days ago. I still don’t know why. One minute there was a man talking to me, and then he started choking. I got scared and ran. I didn’t want to be blamed for whatever was happening to him. Whatever his problem was, it seemed to be contagious, because others I slipped past on my way to escape, were also choking, their faces pale and sickly. But now I didn’t see anyone, sick or otherwise. Just the RV in front of me, and common sense told me that where there’s a campsite, there’s generally food. I approached the vehicle cautiously, thinking any minute someone would come out and tell me to get lost. But no one did. And by the time I reached the side, I realized no one was there. The RV had been left abandoned. 

   The door was left open, and as I scrambled up the steps to go inside, I heard something. Voices. I hesitated, suddenly overcome with fear. I listened closely to hear the conversation. It was one-sided, a single desperate voice saying something about an airborne plague affecting the population. I went deeper into the camper in search of the voice’s source, and as I came into a small kitchen area, I found it. A small black and white TV, mounted under a cabinet. Still powered, the image that crackled and flickered was a man in a stained suit looking like he was close to death himself.

   “I don’t think there is an antidote,” he was telling the camera. “If there is, only government officials have it, if in fact they survived the outbreak.” He coughed, and even in black and white I could see he was bringing up blood. “I don’t know if anybody is left, but if someone is out there, I’m at the Channel Ten Studios in Melbourne. Don’t come for me. Everyone here is beyond help. Head for the bush. Maybe the plague can’t survive it out there either.” He looked about ready to cry. “Listen. No one is coming. The British Isles are infected. America suffers the same fate. The plague is highly contagious and passes from person to person. Get out of the cities, flee the towns. Get as far away as you can.” He sighed heavily. “Maybe the plague will lose strength and die out eventually. Until then, stay away from other people.Families, do not stay together! It is certain death. Shit,the cadgers finally did it. Thanks a lot, Mr. Prime Minister.”

   I continued to stare at the TV. The man was just rambling now, verbally blasting government and politics for the deadly plague that seemed to have infected the world. But I felt fine. Why hadn’t I been affected? Was it because I had fled to the forest when I saw people getting sick? My leg began itching and for a brief moment I panicked, thinking the plague was upon me as well. I scratched my leg and prayed it was just that I hadn’t had a bath in a few days. I really needed to wash and get me some brekkie.

   I left the TV with its black and white newsreader no longer blaming the Australian government, but the aborigines and New Zealand. I wandered through the RV looking for something to eat. There was a small refrigerator, but I couldn’t get it open. The owners had put a lock on it, maybe to keep intruders like me out of their grub.

   Under a bed toward the rear of the camper, I found an opened box of bickies. They were dry, but biscuits are biscuits. I ate them quick, just glad to have something to eat. Finishing off the box, I went outside to catch some air and decide what to do next. There was a creek several yards from the RV and I headed for it. The water was sparkling and clear. I didn’t care if it was infected, it still looked cleaner than I felt.  I stepped halfway into the creek and it felt so good around my legs that I sat right down in the middle,and began to splash the water over my head. The water was cool, and I found myself shouting for joy, it felt so refreshing. I didn’t care if anyone heard me. I’d already come to the conclusion I was the only living soul in the vicinity.

   After my creek bath, I decided to head back to the RV as it looked like it might rain. The camper would provide good shelter. The newsreader was still at it, except now he had gotten personal. Racked by guilt and the knowledge that he was going to die soon, he was apologizing to everybody he had ever known. “I was a bad husband, I know I was,” he was saying.

   Why is it when a man gets to the end of his life he finally wakes up to all the horrible things he’s done? If he would have tried to live right the first time we probably wouldn’t even have this plague. I can only imagine that the disease was not only born of pathogens but greed as well.

   The man had stopped his apologies and was reading from something on his desk. “This just in from Gippsland..” He looked up and rolled his eyes. “Yeah right, like there’s anything left in Gippsland.” He laughed under his breath and I realized he was starting to lose it. Any minute now he would be a babbling idiot.

   I decided I would lie down and take a nap. Despite his going mad, the man’s voice soothed me somehow, and so I just lay there on the floor, curled up in a ball, and went to sleep with the sound of his quiet madness in my ear. A short time later,  I awoke to the sound of screaming. Startled out of my sleep, I yelped in surprise, before realizing it was just the yob on the TV again.

   “You bastards!” he screamed. “You really did it this time, didn’t you?! Hey, you doing anything this weekend, let’s make a plague. Oh yeah, make sure it’s passed from person to person. And let’s make it so bad victims tear their own flesh off like mad dogs!”

   I have to admit he was acting a bit rabid at this point. I found myself wishing someone would step in and put a bullet to his head. Anything to end his madness and misery. He let out a loud mad laugh and then lapsed into a sigh of silence. When he finally looked back up into the camera, he seemed calmer.

   “You know what’s funny? They named this thing, Morgan’s Plague, after the notoriously brutal bushwhacker Mad Dog Morgan. But get this is, here’s the funny part. It doesn’t even affect dogs.” He laughed. “After all our superiority, all the advances in technology, all the brilliant world thinkers, our own pets outlive us.”

   I shook my head sadly. After all, he was right, the world had brought this on itself. Mankind had forgotten the simple things, and strived to be its own God. I wanted to feel some great sympathy for this man and his world, but all I could offer was a small whimper. And as I brought my hind leg up to scratch behind my ear, the TV went out, its internal battery finally running out of juice.

Story by Paul D Aronson. First draft 2008. Final draft. 2016. All Rights Reserved. 
   

   

Princess Of The Captured Sun (a fairy tale in verse)

Long, long ago during a dynasty long forgotten

lies this tale that I’m about to begin

about the princess of the captured sun,

the one they call Fairamena Bryn.

Now she demanded of her father, the King

that she would never marry or be bethrothed,

save to the man who could capture the sun

and present it before her and the throne.

Her youthful beauty was legendary even then

inspiring suitors and charlatans alike,

who came to the palace in vain attempts

to capture the sun, try as they might.

Even Prince Schez-bala with all his fine gifts

could not meet the Fairamena’s demands,

and the sun herself stayed in the sky

to shine down upon the mountains and land.

There came a King from a land unheard about

and he tried his very best to succeed,

but alas there was no way to capture the sun

so he left to marry another, I believe.

A soothsayer came with a grandiose prediction

of how he would win Fairamena’s love,

but she replied, “not until you bring me the sun

or capture it from the skies above.”

They came and they came, until all men had lost

and none had achieved the prize

of being the one to marry the cute Princess

with the dark, almost almond eyes.

Her father, the King, with grim disappointment

was distressed and much sadly declared,

“my daughter, your demands seem way too great,

no one can snatch the sun from the air.”

But the Princess replied, “I’m sorry father

but I can’t give my heart away to just anyone,

for I have guarded it safely all of these years

so that it too may shine as the sun.

and the man who can capture the sun herself

in all her bright and stunning love,

is the only man who can hold my heart near

and be the one that I have dreamed of.”

“But they have come from far and wide”, said the King

“and it’s impossible to do what you ask,

they’ve tried and they’ve tried, some foolishly

but there’s no way to perform such a task.”

The Princess smiled because she knew somewhere

there was a man who could do this thing,

and she just would not settle for anything less

if her heart were to smile and sing.

Then one fateful day another suitor came calling

from the village of The Princess Bryn’s birth,

and he came bearing gifts with many good wishes

that he’d dug from the very earth.

He’d made pretty bracelets and sparkly anklets

to present to the princess with love,

and he told everyone he met along the way

that he could give her the very sun above.

So brought before the King and the whole court

the man announced, “I am Shakir-badhrou,

I’ve come for the hand of the fair princess

no matter what it is that I must do.”

“But you’re a peasant, not close to royalty”,

the King uttered in his most regal style,

“we know you, you used to make trinkets

of colored glass for the princess as a child.’

‘It will take much more than colored glass baubles

to impress us to give you her hand,

but if you can manage to capture the sun

then I’ve no choice but to declare you her man.”

Shakir smiled, “true, I am but a glassmaker

but love has impressed upon my heart

to stand before the sweet princess here today

with all my soul to impart…”

But the King Interrupted, “enough of these words,

can you do what the princess requires?”

Shakir replied, “I will catch the sun for love

and then show you a beauty even higher.”

They all stepped in the courtyard to watch his attempt

he showed them pieces of pretty painted glass,

until he produced one that was seemingly clear

“Now I will do what you have asked.”

He held out the glass and he captured the sun

within its reflective surface to shine,

“gaze upon this glass where I’ve caught it real

and for a moment it is yours and mine.”

All were astounded for there was the sun

in this piece of glass the peasant had brought

“when you want the sun, just use this glass

as long as it shines, it is caught.”

The court then applauded and the king was surprised

but the princess she gleefully smiled

as if some plan within her heart had worked out

though it had taken quite a little while.

Shakir said, “now behold… beauty herself

much greater than the shining sun”

and he held the glass to Fairamena’s face

“look, there is the most loveliest one.”

And in the glass the Princess saw her reflection

smiling back and fallen in love,

“This man”, she said, “he will be my husband

for he has captured the very sun from above.”

Shakir smiled at his pretty soon-to-be bride

and kneeled close for only her to hear

“my love, finally we no longer will meet in secret

but instead will forever be near.”

“I could never, ever marry anyone but you”

she whispered, “this plan was the only way

to ensure that you and I would be together

instead of Father selecting someone for me someday.”

But the King and the court didn’t hear these things

it was declared, “Shakir’s the one!”

and love beamed proudly from the sweet face

of the Princess of the captured sun.

And so is the case in tales such as these

that we sometimes hate to see the story end

but as we go back to our own little lives

theirs really only starts to begin.

and let me just say as a moral to learn

that if you’re dreaming of romance today

no matter how impossible it may seem to be

love will always find her way…

Poem by Paul D Aronson.

Photo credit unknown.