Lost and Found

by Jayne Martin

Wedding Album

In the photo, you are all lime and ruffles, heels dyed to match, slumped in a brocade chair near the banquet hall door. On the floor, an empty champagne bottle overturned at your side. A moment someone thought fun to capture.

Months later, you sip wine in the apartment of the newlyweds, flip through the wedding photos and force yourself to join in their laughter. You remember how you’d left your eyeglasses on your bedstand that day, how the marriage of your sister to the man you loved remained a blur.

Stick around for dinner,” they say, still dumb to your desire.

October Leaves

give up their grip, leaving branches naked and vulnerable to cracking in the growing chill. You push the cart with the wonky wheel down the narrow store aisle. Halloween costumes already half-off. “Jingles Bells” on the sound system. Thanksgiving forgotten before it arrives. In the cosmetics department, faces of 20-year-old models touting potions that promise to restore your youth. Under a three-ply mask, your thinning lips crave kissing. You desire the fire of a fresh love exploring your body like a newly-discovered island, ache to hear someone whisper into the nape of your neck, “You’re such a dirty girl.”

Lost and Found

Let’s say that same crooked smile that had once been directed your way erupts across his face when he sees you again. His hair, streaked with silver, retreats from his brow. But his eyes, still the color of a late summer sky, submerge you in their gaze. Your breath catches like a bird entangled in wire when he slides your mocha latte across the counter.

Let’s say you hand him your business card and instead of dropping it into the “Win A Free Java” jar with all the others, he slips it into his shirt pocket with his left hand, a fading tan line all that encircles his ring finger now.

Let’s say later you meet at the bleachers where you watched him run track in high school, his initials and yours still carved into the bench where your thighs now press again his, your head resting lightly on his shoulder.

Let’s say he says, “I should have married you.”