My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

Behind three-starred glass, we swirl pinot while my shade approaches the crowded intersection. Mousy hair, thin-soled Keds. A backpack, frayed, beats an awkward tempo as she scans facades and faces. Awaits the signal forward.

On green, she crosses to me. Presses palms to mine, reflected.  

I want to rush into the twilight. To console her. Scream a warning. To say, you are stronger than you know. You are steel and sunlight, you are….

Instead, I say I’m sorry. 

Don’t be, she says. I’m not. 

You okay, my husband asks. 

My palm is wet, the street empty. 

Yes, I answer. Now.

*****

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