One step behind you

We park the car near the tennis court.  Funny how it always smells like tennis shoes.  The warm sun must have  brought it out of the dark grey asphalt.  It seems to be bringing out the toasty wood smell of the oak leaves above us.  I wonder if birds know individual trees by scent?  Or are they like us, accustomed to the smell of our homes. Seems only neighbors and guests can smell the aroma of tomato soup cooked up yesterday, still lingering in the kitchen.  Maybe the birds smell the familiar squirrel or chipmunk?

We step around the little green acorns that have prematurely fallen.  It seems almost as much of a sin to step on them as it does the flat, sunny dandelions. 

The ditch that separates us from the steep hill that the trees have lined, is full of unmoving water.  Little water bugs skim across the surface.  I sometimes envy their athleticism.  But I’m happy.  I’m here with you, and watching you step around the flowers with a tender care that endears me to you.  In fact, of all the things here, in this beauty held at the brink of society’s playground, the most beautiful thing here is you.  I’m watching your ponytail bob as you walk in front of me.  I’m catching the scent of your hair and underarm deodorant.  Sometimes, when I’m alone in the bathroom, I will see your deodorant, and think of you.  These thoughts, I would never tell you, how much you mean to me, how the sight of your little things make me feel the pang of loss if you should ever leave me, how small I feel when I think them.  I hear you talking, but forgive me, I have a hard time paying attention to the words you are speaking because you always entrance me, and you bind me with invisible webs that seem to tighten around my heart when you are near.

Sometimes, my love, I wish I was more obtuse.  I wish I didn’t feel so strongly, and I could nonchalantly walk past you, thump you on the butt, and act as if I didn’t worship you so much.  Thank goodness I hide most of it.  You probably wouldn’t like the smaller man in me that melts at your touch, or flashing smile as you talk, turning to connect eyes with mine.

The little green vines climb and wrap around the trees on the other side.  I know how the trees feel. 

We reach the end of the trail and find the opening of the tall, green plastic fence that leads to the adjacent basketball court.  I put on my game face, and challenge you by tugging on your ponytail.  As the ball squishes slightly in my hands, I lean forward, kiss you quickly, and jump around, making the first goal. 

Sparrows swarm overhead, and land in the tree limbs, maybe they are murmuring about the coming autumn.  With you, it is always springtime. 


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