And that was it I guess.  Our closure.  The closure I sought five years back when we were both thirteen.  I never saw him again after that.  He went on to seminary and married a girl from church, and after that spring with Denny I went to New Orleans, with my grandmother Bridgette and William.  They went there to follow their drug habit, which started with William being a mule for Denny for free junk, shared with Bridgette, and I went there to sing, and sing I did.  Maybe some of it in my voice after—that last sight of Jeremy walking away, reminding me of those partings we had at my father’s mailbox, when he asked to hold my hand, asked me to come into his heart, always looking down, smiling shyly, how after our walks he was always looking down at my bare and dirty feet, with that smile he had…  And maybe it all happened so it would enter into my voice, a voice of past lovers so my future lover could hear—he would hear me singing as I bathed in a pool, a private stage just for him, as a mirror for him to my past, my birth and baptism.  And  I learned then, at eighteen from my first love of thirteen how to love a fiancée at war who would become my husband at twenty, how to love a man that stole me from this husband because I wanted him to, inviting him in with song…  I learned how a love my seem true and right, but sometimes you must say no to it to be true and right to yourself.  The pain of this—the pain of saying no to a love and at that moment no love to replace it, nothing to ease the pain, just memories that put your heart in a vice as you make your goodbyes to them, your fare-the-wells to a former lover and what you shared with them, taking only what you learned now being without them and what was shared.  And what is this life when you have to say no—no to love, a past lover, in order to learn to love again?  When sometimes you must start over with only yourself and those memories rather than trying to start over with them—the hurt, the regret of it?  I said goodbye to Jeremy the day I said hello to Denny, only later to say goodbye to him to say hello to my husband, and then finding my true husband, the father of my children, wondering if that too would just be a momentary recognition that would leave me alone again with all the memories of it.  So many hellos that only lead to goodbyes, and children the manifestation of it—the hard evidence of mirrors turned away from, but not without the remembrances of last glimpses, last reflections of looking at myself, now to face the world again in a game of hearts hiding the residuals of familiar guests that in the end did not linger, becoming strangers to me just passing through…  And I guess Jeremy was the first to teach me of two worlds—one world opposite of the other, the strengths in one the weaknesses of the other.  Jeremy taught me the weaknesses of a self-absorbed man, which gave me power in that world, and then the world of the Bloodwood past, my grandmother’s fears of a woman’s weakness to time, the details of time’s knowledge, the past never over in what it brings to the ever-present and our vague future hopes.  I saw two worlds in what Denny had to offer me in that spring of 1942, and in the truth of hypocrites, Jeremy’s mother and the inadequate injustices in the fears of a mother for her son seduced by the seeming threats of a bad woman—that strange role a woman is placed in becoming the mother of a son and knowing maybe why he will fall in love with a woman.  And I left the shelter that protects children, the nest of birds unable to fly, after seeing this conflict in my first love, seeing the conflicted pain of Jeremy in his love for me, and I guess I just got tired of anybody tricking me into feeling tricked.  For if one world needed the other for its defense then they weren’t entirely separate worlds.  And I decided to take a stand by not making a stand on any basis that caused these conflicts to arise.  I knew guilt, but it was my guilt.  Nobody was going to make me feel it because they thought I was supposed to because of what they believed.  And my faith was in having faith, nothing more…  And so I wrote a poem.  On a day in April where I found one lover by denying another.  A poem on a smile.  And if I’m a fool so be it.   Because I believe if you see a smile you should return it.  Even if it’s only your own in what you see in a mirror and what lasts in recognitions…

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