She said, look backward, forward, in, at or down…let the light in—look for reflection.
I watch the clouds bunch in and spread out with dismay. I missed my chance for the good light. Mr. Sun is shying away—fast fading.
But I pack up the camera anyway.
The light is already waning as we make our way through traffic for our Tuesday night constitutional. Those boys joke silly and laugh and eat Kentucky Fried Chicken but I just eye the clouds passing by the window. Look at the leaves, I murmur, and they quiet for a moment—but not too long. So I do, I look. The poplars are all yellow and the maples are fire—there’s fire in the leaves and no one even notices. And I am wishing for the sun.
We climb the old yellow steps and pass through the linoleum halls. I breathe in the scent of music, and wonder—does the tinkling of keys and wild plucking of strings hold this place together? Years of melody haunt with each step. Each boy settles in to lessons. I turn my back on the scratch of bow and let winsome guitar chords fade behind.
I make my way to the square.
Colors and aromas whisk senses into crested peaks–the shops an endless variety of delights. I stare.
There are two old men sitting on the bench at the thoroughfare. They laugh loudly, turning my head at this sound of intimates. Their eyes follow me down the street and I am self-conscious—hug my camera to my side. I stop in front of the antique mall.
There are dishes and dollies, cookie jars and toll trays. I lean my head against the window and remember. I close my eyes and imagine these items new—shiny and beloved. When I open again I understand more about reflection. I see the pear tree—the one on the edge of the street—sitting right in the middle of the room full of antiques. And those cookie jars? They sit atop and inside a grey sedan. The entire street is nestled into this room full of memories. A Tiffany lampshade dangles in the midst and I see how lovely…how lovely the past fades into today.
The bicycle shop down the street sports its own tree, and the manikin’s head disappears into a great expanse of cloudy sky.
The day is disappearing but I see reflections everywhere. When I stop by the café door my feet stand on dull sidewalk but in this image I am on a magic carpet. It adorns the bottom of my skirt with intricate lacy patterns. I am a ghost. These things pass through me.
In an office building, the contents of a desk mingle with a stone picnic table. I could never create such a lovely collage.
The Korean restaurant boasts awning shadow, flapping in the breeze, over maple leaves and metallic light inside. It gives me chills how the light plays with the wind.
I see the sky in the hoods of cars, the Asian restaurant in her showy green and scaffolding.
And I see me.
We drive back home, twilight twinkling and I am just a breath. I have withered into the glass, melted between panes. I am faded reflection and the way the light spoke quiets me.
Lucy Mae waits and we walk her under the crescent. The crazy neighbors have erected a crypt in their front yard and orange lights weave in and out of their bushes. I don my creepy voice and grab Jeffrey by the arm, clutching with skeletal hands—rotten flesh hanging from my bones. He jumps every time and runs through the dark like a song.
And the clouds pass in and out over the moon—winking; reflecting beauty…reflecting light.