She pulls on white stockings, steps into spongy white shoes.
Except for the crest her uniform is white. Not cold or harsh,
the color that keeps you at arm’s length, but a careworn shade
that says here is someone to comfort you.
He pulls on a white undershirt, covers it with a blue shirt,
his name over the pocket. The pants are the same shade,
made of a material impervious to hard labor. There is silence.
Not the quiet before a storm, a quietude, a soundless conversation
about the last 45 years. About children grown and starting their own
conversations. About the price of security, and the cost of faith,
the value of holding on. About how to forgive, forget what is forgiven,
the balm of reconciliation, and the true purpose of time and healing.
About laughing through it all, the joy of seeing it through, and what’s
behind the knowing smile. About how to be satisfied, sometimes
with too much, sometimes with less. About how to give space,
when to stay close, finding a hand where it’s needed and letting go
when it’s time. About the unprompted caress, the unexpected embrace,
the perfunctory kiss and the bond they cement.
About the ritual, the rhythm of today tonight tomorrow today.
About staying in step, stumbling along, about the waltz of life
and the rock of age. And when they have finished dressing
there is one last glance,the perfunctory kiss, the knowing smile,
and the walk through the door with the life they have made.
What a bunch of characters in the bar tonight.