He leaned back against the car as they talked.  Watching that bright smile flashing so often across her face like those round cotton ball rain clouds drifting across the mesa outside of Taos, it made him wonder.  He wondered about the stories that had earned the lines the smile erased.  He wondered a lot of things, as one does as the years go by and the things others could wonder about you, show up in your own lines, on your own face.

He wondered if she still had a small faded red tattoo of a heart with an anchor through it, Jimmy written below it, and a sailor hat crossing the “J”, on her left breast where he used to kiss her.  He wondered if it still made her smile on those mornings when she did notice it in the mirror.

Those moments, those experiences, those that are the composite of the lines, and the easy smile, the laugh, the interplay between what you thought things were and what they actually are, those moments that still had you curious and talking in a parking lot after a show.  He wondered about a lot of things.

They had been in Carmel, on their honeymoon, and had eaten a lot at a wonderful Italian restaurant, until she had literally waddled after one last shared Tiramisu.

They had laughed about it until they had to lean against the stonework of the old Spanish styled buildings.  People had looked at them, and smiled.

Later in that night’s adventures they had wandered into a tattoo parlor just off Cannery Row in Monterey and gotten the tattoo of the heart, and the anchor.    There really was nothing flippant about it.  The message had been clear and very sincere.  He did wonder if she still smiled, sometimes.

Predators prowling, each enthralled with their own search, the scent of different preys in their nostrils. Each knowing the savanna alone in the moonlight. Neither of them had ever learned to include another into their own hunt.

How could he tell her of what he had seen?  The lives, the dreams, the shyness’s, the assertions, all visible in a glance; the “Does somebody care?” written in neon.  The way people’s lives could sometimes change, and grow, simply with a reminder of what they already knew was true.  All you needed to do was learn to really listen.

How could he actually show her that?  Those dreams so apparent, those “hearts on a sleeve” so transparent; walking through supermarkets, drinking in pubs, smiling in passing. Waiting for a buss, looking for life.

How could he tell her of the time?  His time.

How could he learn the stories behind her lines?

He wondered about a lot of things.


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