When He Knew November 12, 2016

They sit side by side on the beach

Only arms and knees touching

The wind is strong and ruffles his hair

Like a flaming flag

Hers is so short

That the wind creates sculptured valleys and peaks

He looks at her bare feet and thinks how

Cold they must be in the October sand

 

Tell me about the tattoo he says

Pointing to the odd little creature on her left foot

It is the only one her tattoos

That he has not explored with his eyes

Or his lazy hand while they lay

In a warm shared bed

Exploring this new thing between them

 

Ah, Totoro she says, smiling fondly

Which reveals the dimple in her cheek

He is a character from a Miyazaki film

Toni and Vivian have matching tattoos

We got them together in New York

On a girls weekend

In honor of our friendship

 

She looks out at the gray, choppy sea

For a moment

And then back at him

It is in one of my favorites

For other reasons

It reminds me of the kids that I work with

How incredibly resilient they are

How no matter what they have been through

They always move toward healing, toward wholeness

I have worked with adults too

They aren’t always like that

 

It also represents a sense of whimsy

I know that I can be intense

Maybe a little too serious

Looking at Totoro on my foot

Reminds me of the importance of magic

Of remembering the light

Of childlike innocence

 

He studies the tattoo for another moment

Before meeting her hazel eyes

Which remind him so much of the ocean

And likes what he sees

What he feels when he is with her

And thinks to himself for the first time

This is the woman I want to grow old with

 

He picks up her hand

Tucking it close to him to keep it warm

And they continue to gaze at

The white-capped waves

In companionable silence

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