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Mark M Lichterman

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  What If: Epilogue
by Mark M Lichterman
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Mark M Lichterman
•  Elderly Woman
•  November
•  Words, I Need Words!
•  Really, What If
•  Sex Now
           >> View all 410


What if I never lied?
What if we parted in 1952 and never saw each other again.
What if we never met in the first place?
What if we did meet again... sixty years later?
What if?
Epilogue can be found following Vol 5-5


____________________________________________________________________

What If: Vol 5-5

10/8/52: What If?

 

The train chugged through Chicago,

out of Illinois and across Indiana.

It went through Ohio, Pennsylvania

and into New York state

arriving at Grand Central Station

in New York City at 9:50 p.m.

The train departed

Grand Central Station at 10:08 p.m.

 

The overhead lights off,

the coach was bathed in a soft, orange glow

that did not reflect onto the window so that

his forehead resting on the vibrating window

the young man was able to see out as…

 

The train sped through the dark countryside

where the only visible pinpoints of light

came from distant farmhouses

and vehicles running on roads parallel to the train.

Rushing past hamlets and sparsely populated areas,

the scattered lights became brighter as they came closer…

until they blurred past the window reminding him of the

old radio advertisement for his

Captain Midnight Atomic Ring:

“Like a shower of shooting stars.”

The young man chuckled to himself,

then remembered with each rotation of the steel wheels

with each passing second he was being taken further

from everything he had ever known

further from everyone he had ever known

and loved

 —which really was why he was here in the first place —

In his mind’s eye he visualized his mother, asleep, and his father

—glancing at his watch which was still on Chicago time—

watching Morrie Amsterdam on “The Late Show.”

And his brother,

sleeping in what was,

up until today…

his room.

As always

his thoughts returned to Susan,

and he philosophized:

At any time you can turn a corner,

or cross a street to get a hot fudge sundae and “bam”,

your life is changed forever!

Further thinking:

What If I didn’t lie?

What if I told Susan’s parents the truth?

What if I told Susan the truth?

What if?

Staring out the window,

straining to see what was to see in the black night.

What if dad didn’t want a cup of coffee at that time?

What if we didn’t cross the street at that time?

What if we didn’t go into Walgreen’s at that time?

Sighing deeply,

an overpowering maudlin feeling came to him and

becoming unbearably sad and

unbearably lonely and,

Don’t!

Willing himself not to cry,

shutting his eyes tightly…

tightly…

the feeling passing,

opening his eyes,

he looked out the window…

Looking out the window,

becoming heavy,

his eyelids drooped…

closed…

and within seconds were open again.

Staring,

seeing nothing but the rushing black night,

thinking,

what if,

the young man crossed his arms across his chest,

sat back

and thinking,

what if ?

Turning his head…

asleep now,

the young man rested the side of his face against the gently vibrating window.

Asleep now.

 

What If: Vol 5-6

2012: Epilogue

 

I’ve heard it said,

first true love is

love never to be

forgotten.

 

If this be the case,

though sixty

years having gone,

I then am living

testament insomuch

as not a day has passed

where my mind

has not imaged,

no matter how swift

the thought,

not a day has passed

without the remembrance

of the girl, then sixteen,

that so entwined the

heart of this boy then

seventeen.

 

Sixty years of absence,

I know,

changes the sound

and sight of even one so

dearly loved that::

 

I and the lady in line,

oh, a year or two younger

than me, speak of the

headline of a gossip rag

and both laugh at the

absurdity,

as who really

cares of the ridiculous

antics of this or of any

out of touch celebrity?

 

I and the lady in line have a

friendly, comical conversation

then she pays what is due

and the lady and I say our

goodbyes and with not a

backward glance,

the cart she holds wheels

from out the store and I

and the lady part,

more than likely

for ever more.

 

A year or two younger, 

the departing lady brings

thought of the one that

had never left my mind

and though I know the lady

in line 

is not the girl from out my

past!

The lady in line

could not be the girl from out my past!

 

But, in truth,

the lady in line could be the girl from

out my past as she, then sixteen,

and me, then seventeen,

and now,

as sixty years are past,

how would I know her face?

How would she know my face?

 

The lady in line?

The old lady in line

could be the girl

from out the past.

 

The lady in line

could be the girl

from out the past,

the girl, then sixteen

the boy, then seventeen

could be the girl.

 

The lady in line?

 

As she would not know my face

as I would not know her face,

this lady in line could be the girl

this now old man has never forgotten.

 

The lady in line,

the old lady line could be the girl

this now old man has always loved.

 

 

                       end

 

 

©March 31, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


mmlichterman.com


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Reviewed by Tom Hyland
MARK ... IS SHE? IS SHE NOT?

MY ANSWER IS - NOT! WHY?
4 YEARS AGO, I ATTENDED MY H.S. 50TH REUNION -

I RECOGNIZED THE FACES OF AT LEAST 90% - ALTHO' 'BODIES' HAD CHANGED.
AND SEVERAL OF THE 'GIRLS' - I HAD ONLY 'DATED'.

MY 'FIRST LOVE' - SUE, WHOM I MENTIONED IN PREVIOUS COMMENTS, I FINALLY LOCATED, LAST YEAR, BY TELEPHONE. I RECOGNIZED HER VOICE IMMEDIATELY -
BUT NOT VICE-VERSA ...

I GAVE SOME PRECISE, CAREFUL 'HINTS' ...
SHE GOT MY NAME ON THE 'SECOND' GUESS!

SHE HAPPENS TO LIVE RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM A DISTANT COUSIN,
I KNOW HER ADDRESS, BUT ... SHE IS STILL HAPPILY MARRIED, WITH 2 SONS ...

BUT, I WILL GO TO MY GRAVE STILL THINKING ... "WHAT IF?" TOM.


Reviewed by Christine Tsen
Such a poignant and resonating piece. You have ended this just beautifully and left such music in the air!
Reviewed by Laura Fall
This was an Excellent story my friend and very enjoyable read well done indeed Laura
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