“Do you remember?” she whispers.
I had watched, transfixed, as she ran out onto the alley’s slippery pavement, twirling and dancing such as the ballet of the dying swan, grinning and laughing with the bliss of a child as she enjoyed the Earth and the Wind and the Rain. I’d sat there, atop a smooth, polished step, in the smooth, polished alley, in that smooth, polished city, and watched.
I had listened as the grey soles of my love’s bare feet beat softly against the road. I had admired the rhythmic twist of her body as she moved under the grey skies; watched as the water soaked her short, bouncing golden locks and meandered like a coiling stream down, down, down; watched as the white dress clinging to her soaked body rolled like a wave until the fabric pooled at her knees.
It had never crossed my mind to wonder what was so worth rejoicing. I had always known; and so I took pleasure in her pleasure, watching as she danced to Life and to Love, her song the beat of rain. “It’s coming,” she would say.
With a confirmative glance toward the darkening skies, painted with the grit and grime and black smoke of humankind, I would mutter, “It is.” She would laugh. “The Sweet Peas are still blooming.” Good-bye. Departure. Thank you for a lovely time. “They are.”
The swan’s song was fading; she lies pale in plutonic patency. The regal creature takes a bow. A swan does not turn grey.
“I remember,” I choke.
Soon, she would slip away from me, to whisp like soot into the red sky. I grabbed hold of her hand, held her to me for those precious seconds in a porcelain plague.
In acid rain we danced.