Both of my parents have been gone now for over a quarter of a century and that’s a long time. But each year, when their birthdays, or familiar special events draw near, my parent sightings grow clearer, more intense. I’ll hear a voice that sounds like my father’s voice or a woman walking with the same strength and determination and I’m transported back those twenty-five years and more.
Walking recently along a crowded street in Key West, Florida I was drawn to two people walk along the busy street. They are holding hands, exchanging whispers. Their eyes are locked in optical embrace, one arm is around a shoulder, another around the other’s a waist. Moving in slow motion, the couple appears to be dancing. Their feet slide and turn; a pirouette, a dip, cheeks close together, their stroll turns into a waltz, then a tango. It is a love song in motion: hot, sultry, sexy, intense.
Though the street is crowded, there is no jostling along their path, and the wall of humanity parts like the sidewalk belongs only to the young lovers; the people passing by are as unaware of the couple’s presence as the couple is of theirs.
The man is shorter than the woman by several inches, his hair is black and slick, his moustache a dark manicured slash resting above his upper lip; a strong featured face, chiseled nose and olive skin. He is wearing a long-sleeve white shirt and a necktie with a square bottom. The woman is as beautiful as the man. Her hair, also black and slick, is sculpted to her face like an ebony helmet. She is wearing a red floral print dress, and high-heel white shoes with red tips. Her lipstick matches her shoes exactly. They are both stylish, in a 1930’s, high fashion chic, and could have stepped out of the pages of Vanity Fair or Vogue.
They seamlessly flow together like the waters of two rivers merging, and most surprising to me is that I am sure that man and woman are my mother and father.
I am mesmerized by the sight. There is a look shared between them. A secret. They are in love. Just like my parents were in love
My mind carries me back to when I was much younger. I hear my mother’s gravelly voice calling my father’s name, and I see him smile, his moustache twitch, watch her hook her arm into his. I see them walk down the street together doing the same slide, dip, waltz, tango that I just witnessed a few moments ago. A car horn beeps, sends a flock of doves to flight.
The couple has rounded a corner, and like the birds on wing, they are gone. Evaporated, just like the moment. But I’m sure that I’ll see them again. This I believe.
So long, mom and dad, thanks for the memory. And Dad, Happy Father’s Day.
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