When I See Them Walking Away
by Rebecca Kaplan
Last summer, I swung on the backyard porch swing with him and I almost kissed him, but he said he had to go. I watched him leave with the profound determination to make him mine, but he went off to Maine, and I never saw him again until this past spring, when my sister brought him home for her eighteenth birthday.
I asked him how he was doing. I asked about his daddy’s farm. I asked about the clams and girls in Maine, and he told me the girls were fabulous but never as fabulous as my sister. Her hair fell dark and long. She had two piercings above her eyebrow. I never would have done that. I buttoned my collar to the top and wore dresses that went to my ankles. My sister said it was Bohemian, but I thought it was proper.
I see him now at the altar with the girl who is not me but my sister. I am the one closest to her. I am the one who holds the lily bouquet. When you see me smile, it is a wicked smile. It is the smile of letting go, and when he gives his vows, I smile my wicked smile. It is a smile that belies the heart. It is a smile that belies the blood.
Rebecca Kaplan is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming inThe Daily Palette, Apex, Likewise Folio and Cactus Heart.
July 9, 2014
Photo by: Gessy Alvarez