The sun is fading away, though it’s still so humid here,
by the sea, that I feel I need gills to breathe, still so
sweltering, like being wrapped in a tight, wet, steamed blanket.
Ricardo and Mary and walking up, hand in hand, dripping wet,
finally leaving the water as it gets dark, almost if their were
merpeople long ago, in their first and better life.
Last hurrah before school, for me anyway, scrawny and awkward,
unsure of the future, high school, new school, everything shifting,
riding the bus and moving closer to the inevitable, to growing up.
Ricardo pulls Mary into his arms, squeezes her tight and kisses her,
and I look away, nauseous, uneasy watching them like this, wondering
what the big appeal of it all is.
We’re in Mary’s ancient and haphazard calico Ford Probe, driving in
the night, the city shining bright and a hazy golden glow by the highway,
some band I’ve never heard of that Mary loves playing. It is sad. Soothing.
Ricardo holds her right hand on the console while she steers with the left,
and they are talking and laughing, and even in the dark the headlights catch
a glint of the tiny and proud diamond on her engagement ring.
They are through with school. My angels. My protectors. My de-facto siblings.
Older and wiser, already been through the wars to show me the way, are leaving
for Seattle, for a life together, for a better jobs far away.
Mary and Ricardo have always been in love. They have always been there.
Mary used to hold me close to her breast, stroke my hair, sing me lullabies,
and Ricardo always had time to listen to my stories, kick a soccer ball, play with me.
High school is coming. They’re leaving. I feel alone, afraid of what I have to face.
The song changes, and the woman singing, mournful and quiet, sends shivers down
my spine and my arms, even as they radiate with the heat of the long day’s sun.
Mary raises up Ricardo’s hand, and kisses it, and he leans over and kisses her cheek.
Mary pulls into a fast food joint, and Ricardo runs in, coming out with a strawberry sundae.
He gives it to, ruffles my hair, gives me a smile, and then were on again into the night.
I eat my sundae, knowing like these good times, it will be gone too soon.