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Mark M Lichterman

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  What If:Vol 4-4: Gone
by Mark M Lichterman
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Mark M Lichterman
•  November
•  Words, I Need Words!
•  Really, What If
•  Sex Now
•  Smoke in The Wind
           >> View all 410


What if I never lied?
What if we parted in 1952 and never saw each other again... until?
What if we did meet again... sixty years later?
What if we never met in the first place?
What if?
Vol 4-4 can be found followingVol 4-3


__________________________________________________________________

What If: Vol 4-3

Immediate Aftermath 1

 

Never speaking this type of language in front of Susan

seeing her wince at the word,

fighting for contro again,

“I love you so much!”

Taking her hand,

I  kissed her palm.

“You can’t know how hard I’ve worked!”

I said.

“That’s why I didn’t care if I saw you on Saturdays  

because on Saturdays I was being tutored.

God, Susan,

I’d do anything for you, honey!

Anything in the world.”

 

Quiet,

concentrating on his every word,

“I know you would,”

Susan said,

“But what are we going to do about college?”

 

 

We!

His heart lifting,

What are “We” going to do about college!

 

“I’ll have no problem getting into Wright.

And I’ll keep working on it,

and as soon as I can I’ll reapply to R.I.T.”

Lifting her chin,

looking into her eyes again,

“Please, baby,

please don’t let this hurt us.

I promise I’ll make it, Sue.

I don’t know how I’d be able to live without you,

if we weren’t together.”

 

“It’ll be okay.”

Caressing his cheek,

“I just don’t know what I’m going to tell my parents.”

 

“let me do it!

I’m the one that lied.

Let me talk to them!”

 

“They think the world of you,

and knowing that you lied

is going to let them down terribly.

No, I know how to handle my folks”

—though, really,

she had no idea of what she was going to tell them—

“I’ll do it.”

 

“Susan,” I asked,

 “do you love me?”

 

“Of course I do!”

Susan answered without hesitation.

 

“Okay,

It’s our lives!

We love each other

and can’t let this come between us.”

 

June 19, 1952

 

On commencement day

Susan came with my parents.

As the scroll was handed to me

My eyes met Susan’s and,

smiling,

she threw me a kiss.

 

Oh, God!

I thought,

All’s right with the world.

 

 

 

What If: Vol 4-4

Gone

 

 

June 21, 1952

 

 “Jambalay’an’a’crawfish pie an’a’fila’gumbo!”

 

He hadn’t seen Susan since saying goodnight

after the dinner to celebrate his graduation.

And their kiss in the stairwell was…?

Perfunctory.

 

Yesterday evening

when we had spoken on the phone  

we made plans to spend tomorrow,

Saturday at the beach,

at which time Susan had told me,

 “Don’t come up.

My mom and dad are still

hurt and don’t care to see you yet.”

 

“Sue,”

I had said,

“you know I like your mom’n’dad,

and think if I can just talk to them,

I would be able to get them to

understand why I did it.

Why I had to lie.”

 

“No,”

she had answered.

“I think it best if you let it be a while longer.”

 

“Whatever you say, baby.

Pick you at eleven,

okay?”

 

“Yes. That’ll be fine.”

 

“Susan…”

 

“Yes.”

 

“I love you.”

 

“…I love you, too.”

 

 

June 21, 1952

 

 

“Jambalay’an’a’crawfish pie an’a’fila’gumbo!”

 

“It was a beautiful Saturday.

Taping my hands on the steering wheel,

I sang along with Hank Williams.

 

As always,

his heart quickening at the first sight of her,

Susan was there,

sitting on the stoop waiting for him.

 

 

Pulling to the curb,

leaning across the seat,

“Hi, beautiful!”

I said through the open window.

 

Standing, she walked slowly to the car.

Rather than a bathing suit and a beach robe,

Susan wore blue jeans and a blouse.

 

Looking at her face,

“Hey,” I questioned,

“where’s your bathing suit?”

 

Susan’s skin was sallow,

the flesh around her eyes puffy and,

as though she had been crying,

her eyes glassy and bloodshot.

 

“Susan, what’s wrong?”

 

Opening the door,

“I have to talk to you.”

She sat down.

 

“Sue?”

I attempted to put my arms about her,

but resisting,

she held both hands,

her fists clenched,

against my chest.

“What’s the matter?”

Staring out the window,

she didn’t answer.

“For God’s sake, Sue,”

becoming alarmed,

“what happened?

What’s wrong?”

 

Opening her hand,

she looked down.

 

My eyes followed her eyes;

upon her palm was a gold ring.

“Sue?”

 

His mind not accepting what his eyes saw,

lifting her other hand

he looked for a like ring,

a ring with an adhesive taped shank,

a ring that looked exactly like this ring…

that should be on her finger…

but wasn’t.

 

“Oh, God! Susan, no!”

 

“I…”

Her chest heaving,

tears welling in her eyes.

“I…”

The words catching in her throat,

barely able to whisper…

“I… Oh, God.

I can’t…

I…” taking a deep intake of breath,

“I can’t see you anymore.”

Turning her face forward,

she closed her eyes.

 

“No! Sue, you can’t!”

My eyes stinging,

feeling a constricting within my  throat,

within my heart,

 “Susan, you can’t mean that!”

 

As though afraid to look at him,

Susan’s eyes remained closed.

 

“They did it!

Sue,”

I cried,

“don’t let them!

Please,

don’t let them do this!”

 

“I’m sorry…

Oh, God!”

She looked at him.

“Please, if you love me…”

 

“ ‘If I love you’?

Oh, God, Sue,

I love you more than anything!”

 

“If you love me,

If you love me as you say,

then please

do not try to see me again,

do not try to call me again.”

As though committing his face to memory.

staring at him,

 “Oh, God! Please!"

 

Placing the ring on the dashboard,

Susan stepped out

and without a backward look

hurried from the car.

 

Looking at her through the mist of his tears,

“Susan!”

Calling after her, as…

“Susan!”

she disappeared through the entry door,

 

Susan was gone.

 

Gone?

There was no memory of life before Susan.

 

 

To be continued

©March 11, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Reviewed by Tom Hyland 3/11/2012
MARK ... INTRIGUING DIALOGUE ...

HAVING NOT READ THE PREVIOUS VOLS... PRAY TELL - WHAT WAS 'THE LIE'?

My experience was similar, but quite different .. my truly 'FIRST LOVE' was named SUE. after going steady for about 18 months, she sent me a 'Dear John' letter while i was in basic Training at Ft. Knox. Was devastated - couldn't go home - she wouldn't answer the phone, nor answer mail. What had I done wrong?

Ran into her about 25 years later, at my uncle's Wake. She was a neighbor, who lived across the street, and was helping out. A quick Hug & a Kiss, and gone again. She was married with kids, so was I.

After 34 years of marriage, then 10 years divorced, I finally located her phone number & called her. She remembered me fondly, but was quite happy still. this was just last year.

The 'TORCH' is Still there for me! WHAT IF?

Two powerful, but uncontrollable words! Tom.

Books by
Mark M Lichterman



For Better or Worse

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The Climbing Boy

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Becoming

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