After Happily Ever After Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Film: A Short Love Story

A couple embrace in the corner until one of them peels off like a price sticker and is out the door and all that’s left for me to look at are the good women around this table, talking, drinking Anchor Steam. I’m only half-in the conversation when someone from the other end of the table drops your name, casual, all about something else, as if she didn’t know the story, and suddenly I want to touch your mouth. Outside this barroom, the whine and struggle of passing traffic, rain, wet crows in the pear tree, a long lawn dotted with Adirondack chairs.

What memories do any couple owe to outsiders? The history of how they met, pitched back against the wall, chewed on words, drove Short Pierre Street then Old Military Road, heading to Wisdom. How it came about on one of that year’s three perfect days—fall in the edge of their eyes, its capped toe pushing into the porch floorboard—that they began with road sex, two near strangers, three-quarters through the century? Or only how we ended: fixed in the glossy eight-by-tens of our lives?


October 2003 2River