…and in this one you are happy.
Your face says everything;
you are grinning from ear to ear
wearing a red ballroom gown
with your hair straighter than usual.
You have made an effort,
wearing make up for the first time.
The shawl around your shoulders is alluring
but unnecessary because…
I am by your side
grinning from ear to ear
in bowtie and tux,
just gotten off the hired coach
to our Final Fling –
the last stop on a long ride
of hedonism is ended
and the paranoia of final exams are over.
The immediate promise
of life ahead has erased all worry from our foreheads.
You are beautiful,
and I am happy.
This was a long time ago.
Now, the lines have creased our faces.
I have one for work,
one for the bills,
one for the kids
one for the aging parents
one for the life less lived
one even for you.
Your smiles from year to year
Have become narrower and narrower
until now, I cannot think
how you managed to stretch
your lipstuck mouth so wide
from your right ear to your left.
I wrote this in May 2008 and I got the chance of reading it out to an audience at Closenburg during the Galle Literary Festival last weekend. They seemed to like it.