On a rhubarb colored blanket beneath the buttercup yellow sky she sighed and I inhaled.

What was that on the breeze? Something sweet?Something coming into bloom?

Something smelling of summer coming soon. Something that dwelt upon too long would only make me sneeze.

Still I love that smell nearly as much as her laugh or the freckles on her cheeks.

Or the books she brings me.

Or the food she cooks for us.

And all the music she plays in her car.

And the way she listens too.

Late night conversation. Sexual tension. She says, I'm too old for you.

Then we're kissing. Not anywhere near the ocean but I can smell the salt in her hair.

Turn the lights off. She pretends not to believe me when I tell her I want to see her in the light. Turn the lights up low.

I could be your mother.

But you're not.

At a gallery. At a concert. At party. Anywhere but school.

And I will never say I wasted my life chasing after you. Or keeping up. Or being caught by you.

but still...

I'm married. I'm so sorry. I should have told you. We have children. I should have told you that too. I can't divorce him. It's complicated when you have children. None of this changes that I love you.

I am not a man yet though I like to think I am. Issue ultimatums like children do.

She thinks I'm bluffing. Calls me on it. And it's true. Or it was until she called me on it. When you're 19 you have everything to prove.

February. Valentine's day to be precise. Turn the lights off. Please believe me, I need to see you in the light. Turn the lights up bright as they will go.

I'm inside her but not inside her. The ocean is so near but I can only smell the snow.

She's asleep now. Wrapped in rhubarb colored sheets beneath the buttercup yellow electric glow.

Slip into my pants and shove myself out the door. Leave no letter. Never call her. Never say good bye.

Her friends tell me, you're breaking her heart. Then I guess we're even is all I'll say in reply.

When you're 19 you've got everything to prove.

And then I'm 22. Feeling stupid. Feeling sorry. But what else can you do?

Reach out to her friends. Unbelievably they seem happy to hear from me. I guess they'd been my friends too.

She was stupid. But then so were you. She moved back in then moved out. They're divorced now. She's seeing someone but you should still call her. I say I will but I won't.

19 is still too close.

Meet somebody new myself and swear I won't make the same mistake. But staying when you should leave turns out to be a mistake too.

I am happy now and she's near sixty if she's even still alive. If she is I hope she's happy too. I'll never write. Never call her. Never say goodbye. That way we can always have a rhubarb colored blanket beneath a buttercup yellow sky.

Maybe thats fucked up or maybe it doesn't even matter.

When you're 37 there's just some things you don't want to lose.

Brian Shaughnessy