A Revisionist’s History

Paulo scans an idling crowd;
businessmen bustling downtown,
families dawdling to the lakefront,
and weary travelers like himself,
desperate for the sanctuary of sleep
after an endless overnight shift.

Their fresh faces,
stinging scent,
an affront to his singular goal—
to catch her with his gaze,
pierce all that would stand between
“Hello” and “I do.”

It was her hair
that first caught his eye,
pale gold and waving softly.

As the train hissed to a stop
at his feet, she appeared beside him
as if the universe had intended it.

The desperate words
that filled his mind
too oily for the grip of his tongue
as she hustled past.

Paulo made certain to leave early
for the train since, not daring
to miss another opportunity
to say something, anything
that might draw her attention.

The commuters surrounding him
twist and twirl into
and around one another,
transforming the platform
into a cruel, dizzying
ballroom scene.

His tired eyes
struggle to organize the chaos
as the tracks come to life
with an electric buzz
and the collective spins in unison
to face them.

The thump in his chest increases
from a flutter to a gallop,
anxious that he may have missed her.

The train snakes its turn
at the far edge of view
and begins its slow approach
into the station.

He closes his eyes
takes a steadying breath,
attempting to slow the violent persistence
of his thoughts.

He feels desperation
begin to slither up his spine
just as his eyes open
and there she is,
staring off,
lost in her own galaxy of thought
less than ten paces away.

Paulo resolves to speak to her.
Promises himself
no less than a voice
to accompany the face
that occupies his mind.

She glances briefly to her wristwatch
confirming the train’s tardiness.

His eyes come to focus on the crowd
parting biblically behind her
a moment before the bull of a man
comes charging up
and jostles her off-balance.

Without thought,
he crosses the distance between them
and reaches out to steady her.

She turns to face him,
and for the first time in his life
Paulo fully appreciates the divinity
of an unforced smile.

They both forget why
they find themselves in this embrace
and allow it to hold
for a comfortable moment.
With the coveted look into her eyes
partially obscured, he finds invitation
in the scene and sweeps her bangs
behind an ear.

At his touch,
they are brought forward together
and the sky above is replaced
by the stucco ceiling
of their studio apartment.
Her eyes do not waver from his
as the accumulated memories
of the intervening months
spontaneously populate
the surrounding walls.
She smiles a knowing half-smile,
letting only a glimmer of teeth
shine through.

“There’s something I need
to tell you,” she says.

Paulo takes Diana’s hands
into his own. Her smile blooms
as she says, “I’m pregnant.”