Saturday 24 June 2023

'We Walked Along This Pedestrian Bridge' by Ashley McCurry

We Walked Along This Pedestrian Bridge

 
and watched a kneeling stranger wipe tears from a lover’s face, joyful shrieks punctuating shared visions of the future, of starter homes and holiday dinners and road trips to the sea. Before you walked this bridge alone, during a relentless Indian Summer night, we waved at riverboat phantoms swaying drunkenly in the sticky heat and bachelorettes in cowgirl boots belting nineties country hits from the pedal bar.

Now, I glance down and realize I’m standing on a diagram of a waltz, my tiny feet cradled within larger concrete imprints, and I recall your work boots dripping slushed, charcoal snow in the kitchen and the Chuck Taylors you’d never let me wash, a permanent fixture beside our bed. A few months ago, I started leaving your boots on the porch with the hope of safety in this illusion. To deter unfamiliar eyes from scanning our home for signs of life other than a lonely girl and her dog.

Life swirls and presses on all around me along this pedestrian bridge. People make plans as we had, too, before you also glanced downward, compelled not toward the path ahead but to infinitely dark, choppy waters. Before I had awoken to realize your sneakers were gone. Before the blue and red lights blinded me at the edge of our driveway. Before you left me to dance this ghostly waltz, alone, under a February lemon chiffon moon.

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