The Beast

he never really saw it coming, I suppose. he was a lost boy who finally found a mate. rolling coolly into scotti's on main street around noon in early summer-that was his one mark of punctuality, that single day. blazing in a red T-shirt and hold camouflage shorts, he was fresh air in the humid jersey june. downtown, his car was parked in a lot behind rushing traffic. I promised I wouldn't laugh; that was the first promise I broke with him. its name was painted across the side- the beast. the rear windshield was gone, paint job was rusting off and fabric-covered ceiling was collapsing. "you promised you wouldn't laugh". "no, I'm not. it's really not that bad". "yeah, it is; I'm gonna paint it black before I go to mexico." (I lost you in mexico. I didn't know then that you would lose your heart there.) I loved to laugh at that car. we cried in that car. the memories of our youth were made in that car. stories of wheelies and the fact that the check engine sign meant you were good shape defined that car. it was a teenage car, beaten and bruised. everything about it was backwards and strange, just like our adolescence. just like our love. the first time he came in to my house at midnight I smelled cigarettes and summer air on his skin. his blonde hair shone in the moonlight and his headlights flashed down the long driveway. he was barefoot all summer and I know now that his bare feet were a symbol to me. they meant carelessness. they meant summertime. they meant he was real too. they meant I could be real with him. but he never really saw it coming, I suppose. not the reality of it. I saw the rock hard reality of it and to him it was just sand-to him it could wash away. I wanted someone that sticks. I wanted someone not scared of the storm. (I was a rock and you were the sand washing out from beneath me.) then winter came and the beaches closed and the sun set earlier and the air was harsh and cold. he was no longer barefoot and the snow fell hard on the sunlight in his hair. the beast's windows were closed and the small space was filled with musky heat. not heat of passion, heat of winter. tense heat. dry heat. and so we put on sweaters and gloves and played in the snow. but snow melts sunshine in young hearts, and it was never the same without the summertime. we were never the same as rolling through june with the windows down