I remember our first dates
               eating barbecue in Papa Willie’s as lunch turned to   
               riding your motorcycle to see the countryside, secretly
                    scared to death
               the orange Gatorade staining your mouth as we sat on
                    the concrete picnic table
I remember not wanting a third date
               “No,” I answered
               I was too ambivalent, too unready to date again
               I cut you off and left for the beach
I remember driving home
               getting the call that you and your parents were in a
                    freak accident
               a car crashed through a restaurant window, hitting you
                    all as you ate dinner
               you were staying at their house as you all recovered
I remember the church bringing food as you all healed
               I signed up for pineapple and raisin glazed ham
               delivered it and saw you sitting in a chair,
                    deliberately not looking up at me
               and that was when I realized I’d made a mistake
I remember thinking what a bitch I’d been
               feeling the urge to apologize and find out what you’d
                    been through
               texting you, “Do you want to talk?”
               my heart skipping a beat with your reply: “Well, YEAH!”
I remember the phone ringing
               you didn’t waste a second
               we talked for hours about the accident, about my trip,
                    about us
               you asked me out again, and I accepted
I remember our next dates
               walks in the Griffin city park,
               sitting on a swing,
               talking hours on end, conducting “traffic counts”
I remember our first kiss
               you opened the car door for me, took my seatbelt and
                    fastened it
               your lips accidentally brushed mine as you backed out of
                    the car
               “There you go,” I smiled, and kissed you back, and then
                     kissed you again.
I remember the Valentine’s date to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert
               finding a smashed trinket ring in the parking lot
               probably a Cracker Jack surprise, tucking it in my pocket
               humming “Rainy Day People” all the way home
I remember our memorable walks in the Griffin city park,
               but none more so than the day you left the swing
               and got down on one knee, and reached in your pocket
               and proposed with the Cracker Jack ring that you’d   
                    resurrected with pliers
I remember your royal blue shirt and your jeans and the love in
                     your eyes
               and the matching royal blue car speeding by
               a teenage boy fist-pumping cheers out the window as he
                    watched you propose
               and answering “Yes,” even before you said, “I want us to
                    choose a better ring together.”
I remember our tenth anniversary
               lying in bed, late at night, when you rolled over and said,
                      “Oh no!”
               alarmed, I sat up.  “What?!”
               “I forgot what today was, and I just remembered,” you
                   sorrowfully confessed
I remember that I, too, did not realize it was our tenth anniversary
               until you reminded me
               there are 365 days in a year, and an anniversary should
                   be celebrated
               especially a tenth anniversary
    but when two people love the way we do every day, it’s
                   so easy to forget…
  -Kim Johnson


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