Darlings of March

It should not be easy, seeing them over by the door. He is taller by a head. She nuzzles into his shoulder. The last winter gust blows through the glass doors and stops short before edging around the perfect cocoon of them. March Madness blares on screens securing the perimeter in a sort of frenzied lockdown. It is night and city but all indoors and nowhere near town. The burgers come in plastic baskets. Even the macaroni and cheese is deep fried.

The line for booths is almost out the door. A trio of children in falling-off parkas push over each other to the video games. A balding man with big hands squeezes himself into a chair at a table for four. He perches there alone and drinks a beer, eyes on the pendulous screen behind the bar. He wears no ring. He glances towards the door from time to time but no one ever comes.

The tall one dips his ear towards his beloved. She lifts her lips to it and he takes whatever she has offered with a grin. Her body quakes, shoulders to hips. Now they are both laughing. The cluster at the entrance is all parents and middle-aged couples in jeans and fleece. The men peer with narrow eyes out over the crowded seating and up to one game flashing in high definition then another, another, another.

She wraps her arms tighter around the willow of his torso. He slips a hand up beneath her hair. The taupe curtain falls around his wrist. Impossibly, she steps into him. They defy physics. They break rules.

The door opens again. Streetlights and wind, the reluctant night, they all seek respite here. A server squeezes past with chili and cornbread. The sweet potato fries are popular here.

The girl smiles smiles smiles. The boy basks. They sway around some invisible pivot to which they have twined their invisible threads. They never once glance anywhere but into each other and occasionally, with eyes slipping closed, into the safe harbor of the self anchored by some One.

It used to be hard, seeing such things.

I was hard, seeing such things.

The days are longer now. It has warmed up a bit.

Such a sweetness welcomes my gaze. For the moment, it is a soft place to land.

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