March 15th, 1942—It’s over…  Today I saw him drive off.  To cross that river never to return.  A ghost to my arms and legs that held him in those last gasps of love, in those weak moments he had after, looking into my eyes to see in me what I saw in him—neither of us in control in our own small world of bigger worlds imagining others lovers such as we…  The words he couldn’t speak, after, now leaving me wordless.  Only the music and smoke, my first lovers, to console the emptiness of his absence inside.  And I hear a song in my mind, unrecorded, not on any record playing from Sissy Walker’s kitchen window—a song I will sing when I have the words for it, but not now.  Now it is stillborn.  A sickness and blood of what I gave up for fear he would not want it—I would not want it—buried in a garden, Sissy’s garden, her bible and what was in it the only eulogy to the fresh dirt…  He had to leave.  After robbing the church.  Cecily Bloodwood’s church—the same old reverend there my mother knew, absolved from his financial indiscretions from a Mardi Gras twenty-five years ago by forgiving parishioners that only knew Ash Wednesdays anyways.  He robbed the church coffers—given to Sissy for business, and an anonymous donation for orphans and widows of the county that church goers didn’t see as important as funds for raising a new building, a new church in Hemphill.  And after spending three days in jail my father bailed him out with my ring—the ring he gave me—a black onyx, for which he promised our elopement.  I would have given more if I could.  I would have given him anything…  My father waiting as I stood by his car.  His bail only granted on the contingent that he leave Sabine County never to return.  And I saw in his eyes the same wordlessness they held after making love to me.  I saw my eyes in his.  The same burning…  And I know what everybody says.  I will love again.  I will learn to love my fiancée coming home from war—my secret safe.  But I don’t want it to be a secret.  I want him to know.  I want everyone to know.  I want them to know that I loved, and I loved well.  For I feel it is the only way I will have closure, closure on this pain that everyone says they know, but I know, and it is mine—no others.  It will be in my voice now, my voice for all time.  It will be in the voice of my grandmother cursing, in the tired voice of my father working for his wisdom, in the voice of Sissy Walker and her kept secrets, in my mother’s voice reciting recipes, in Jeremy Bloodwood’s whispers, in Marie Toussaint’s puckered, toothless mouth chanting curses of protection over roosters—all this will be my voice, faint and wordless in goodbyes to Denny’s last smile…  I will remember them all as betrayal to my own pain.  I will remember what a woman remembers, and not a man.  Me, lying on the floor in the fetal position, being born again in stomach-wrenching sobs…  And this will be my memory.  Of a car driving away.  And the ride I once took in it.  The home I will never again find…

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