Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Friends for Life ~ 1988

“I believe in people. I may not understand why the heck they do what they do, but I believe in them.”
— K.E. Hansen

The first time I see you, I determine
I do not want
to know

Outside of a summer school class,
before the first session, you stand
secure in a swarm
of fellow students, they taking turns questioning,
“What’s your guide dog’s name?”
“Can I pet him?”
“How old is he?”

You answer warmly, sometimes laughing loud
and long, head thrown back with the confidence
of someone who knows
people will wait,
want more.

You are wearing a black leather miniskirt,
a crimson low-cut top, a black
shiny belt, and cherry red

pumps. At your side, your guide dog Danny,
a black lab, sits obediently.
Later you will tell me
that you always wear
at least one black

accessory, not just because black
“never goes out of style”
but also because wearing black
keeps you and Danny always
color coordinated.

Like moths at a light,
students keep surrounding
while I steadfastly step
inside the classroom,
burying myself in a book, putting you,

too bold and brash,
out of my mind.

Corner of my eye
minutes later,

I see your guide dog
leading you,
one trusting high-heeled step at a time,
straight to my side,
and I watch you touch
for the chair next to me,
feeling your way into my life,
bringing the brightest smile
I’ve ever seen,
a sunray spread surrendering me,
as I hear you ask,
“Is this seat taken?”