Once Upon Perseids...
Rob and me...on my high rise, fourth floor balcony;
the night’s hot and humid; one of those evenings
you can hear the stars sing. Telescope in hand,
he plots the constellations – holds me close to him,
guiding my gaze. Smells of Benson & Hedges –
a hint of Old Spice. A water-melon moon dangles
from a walnut tree, and even my council estate
looks kind of all right. No one else in the whole
wide world, except us.
“Is being in love like this?” I say, my heart beating
out of my chest. He kisses my nose – cups my chin,
so close I feel his warm, moist breath. He laughs
and asks “And are you in love, by any chance?”
his voice kind of strange, as he squeezes my hand –
says we’d best go inside before we both catch a cold.
Minutes later I watch him drive off in a beat-up
Mondeo; crazy about cars, Rob was.
And that was the last time I saw him – a blow-out,
a knackered front tyre they said; an ‘Accidental Death’.
‘Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved
at all,’ so the vicar preached at his funeral, or Celebration
of Life – my big sister called it; the two of them ‘an item’,
or, as they used to say in those days, ‘engaged to be wed’.
“He’s right, isn’t he?” I asked. “What would you know?”
she said. Oh, but I did...Even at ten.