A young soldier picnics in the countryside,
searches for butterflies and long-stemmed roses.
Fresh air runs through his rifle. The woman beside him
sports a long skirt and a camera around her neck.
The fields are blunt and honest;
with their secrets extended, their flaws exposed,
they feel intimate.
Here, the birds’ singing and trees’ whistling
are welcoming songs. The winds
in their contradicting directions
don’t disrupt old women’s prayers,
and the laughter of their children.
The soldier and the woman exchange moments of solitude
with their inner worlds. For fear of living on the margins
or rendering their presence obsolete, they open up
through a language marked with loneliness.
The woman thinks of a future
where her own daughter takes the dog for a walk.
The tough questions asked at parent-teacher conferences.
The many long hours
during history classes to sit through.
And the introductions around dinner tables.
What do you do? they will ask.
Their inevitable reply is interesting, no matter her answer.
Except when her listener has a reservoir of emotions,
like someone raised in the countryside,
where dancing was a doctrine,
and connecting with others is a way to draw strength.
Only then she could reach back
to the deep wounds of a past alive.
Although protected, the past is still haunting,
and exhausting to retell.
She devours her listener’s soft touch,
the sincere and passionate gaze.
A heart is opened: tender moments are born.
A shared experience she will revisit often.