Editor’s Note: October 2018

October 2018

By Sarah Leck

Couples spending time together under a cherry blossom tree in Shukugawa, Hyogo

Spring – four years ago

We had 2 picnic blankets spread under the few cherry blossom trees behind your apartment building. They held an assortment of chips and snacks, poker cards scattered from playing King’s Cup, our friends lolling around in laughter and easy conversation.  We were all drunk on post-work freedom, the 3rd bottle of wine, the dying embers of the sun, and the promise of warmer weather to come.

I reached for the branch above you, and shook it a little. A small shower of pink petals fell onto your hair, and as you looked up, onto your open face. You tried to scowl at me, but I was grinning too hard for you not to smile too, even as you retaliated with a handful of petals and leaves.

We sat together watching the sun set, our fingers intertwined in each other. You leaned into my shoulder, and I shuffled to put an arm around you. The fading light of day caught the auburn in your hair and set you awash in a gentle fire.

“You’re so lovely,” I murmured into your ear.

Spring – three years ago

You were friends with my friends, but we’d never talked before. I learned that you loved elephants, and you loved the slow life in Laos. That night, I learned that fireworks could happen in a bar full of people, when the world shrank down to just you and I.

“Do you want to take a walk?”

I’d love to.

We went to the park nearby, all nervous energy and uncertainty. We didn’t know what was happening, but something was happening. Looking at the night sky, we started off laying close to each other on the ground, to having our arms pressed to each other, and then somehow your head was nestled in the crook of my shoulder.

I told you about the stars and planets, how to tell them apart from planes and satellites. You told me about your work, how you’d only ever dated boys before, how surprised you were when I’d asked you to come back to my place in the morning after the party. You said you’d been nervous, but even though we’d slept side by side, I’d not laid a finger on you. You said you’d blown on my face and touched my hair, but I wouldn’t stir from sleep.

“I wanted to do things right with you.”

We’d stayed in bed all day then, looking at the glow-in-the-dark stars I’d stuck on my ceiling to form Orion, talking, being quiet, looking into each other’s eyes, never touching.

I told my best friend I’m in love with a girl.

Spring – two years ago

I was traveling, visiting a friend. The pain of you breaking up with me over text on my birthday still tore me up. I was running, trying to get away from the city we’d explored together after dark, making out in its alleyways, eating takeout in the parking lots of temples and shrines, making wishes on satellites.

If only I could get away from my memories of you.

Spring – one year ago

“I always wonder when’s the right time to kiss someone, y’know?”

I laughed nervously, stunned by the sudden change in topic. How do you go from talking about ancient weaving techniques perfected in Kyoto, to this?

“Definitely not now,” I thought.

I waved goodbye to you – no hugs; who knew what you’d try to do to me if we made physical contact.

Spring – this year

As hazy as the rest of the night was for me, I knew I’d always remember your voice, the way you talked so passionately, your green eyes, your smile, and how you made me laugh with the story of your weak ankles in the desert.

We stayed up late, talking deep into the night, until either or both of us couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore. I knew this wouldn’t, couldn’t, stay.

This was the spring flowers meant anything to me, when I actually did stop to smell them and photograph them for you. It was the only way I could express the feelings for you I had blossoming in my chest.

This was the spring I started writing again, after 15 years of keeping everything in my head, unsaid.

 

Even as I write this, where I am the leaves are starting to brown, and the chill in the air pulls hands into pockets and collars higher. Spring has come and gone for me, but it is just beginning for you.


In this issue:

Travelogue:

Travelling with Art – Sarah Leck

Photo Series:

Faces of Japan – Ilan parienté

Poetry:

Ka Hum Lay Nawo Na – Nicholas Bruce

Spring – Nkwana Joshua

Green Sheen – Roux Wessels

Contrary – Sarah Leck

Clover in July – Melissa Sussens

flower/girl – Nkateko Masinga

Season – Christina Brazzale

neruda knows – Juwayriya Bemath

Beginning – Tijana Šarac

Weeds – Alex M.

Column:

Persian Poetry: Eyes Must Be Rinsed – Mehdi Bagheri

Short Stories:

First Second Chance – Lauren Jacobs

Snowdrop – jec. young

Book Review:

The Scarlet Letter – Melissa Fortuin