Birthday

I forgot.  I was at a wedding and the thought never came. It always has.

The wedding was fine, as far as weddings go. I was asked to take a picture of two smiling couples standing in front of a big evergreen tree. It was blurry around the edges, but they nodded: “Yeah, that is great.”

This morning, in the dark just before sunrise, I remembered I forgot. Maybe sunlight turns words to stone. I’ve told you for years, though.

An old woman used to tell me stories- memories, really. In the den of a house older than her, she told them. She told them as if they’d happened yesterday, though some were seventy, eighty years old. To her it made no difference. They were like her blue eyes: clear and youthful. I can see them now- young, old eyes telling young, old stories.

I’m not sure why I remembered this year. And late too. The fact is I’m not sure why most thoughts enter the mind. It was unlooked for and unannounced and almost gone before I knew I was thinking it. Time and trouble come for all, to take before being taken, but a few things linger here and there.

I couldn’t figure out why the old woman told her stories again and again. With each passing year I understand better. They flowed from somewhere deep- unlooked for and unannounced and almost gone before she knew she was telling them. I think she had to tell them. Maybe she was afraid of what might happen if she did not. She had watched her husband’s eyes grow old; he had no stories to tell.

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