Corn field. Yellow kernels trapped in green stalks. Earth, rich and dark, sent up its musky scent. Along a path in back of his parents white farmhouse, on a lazy Sunday afternoon after church in autumn 1981, he and I had walked along. Friends, we were, laughing and admiring the amazing blueness of that rural North Carolina sky and the cottony clouds laying low across the tree line.
Last night, after forty-one years, his pale blue eyes flash in a dream and awaken me, and warms my heart at that youthful place where we had once dwelled. Both of us on the cusp of the future; our lives with all its promise lay on the unchartered road laden with dreams that were ripe for the picking.
A foot and a half taller than me, I can still see him as I craned my head up to listen to his voice, and that smile of his flashed again, dimples and all. His pale blond hair fluttered in the autumn breeze.
At twenty, I pondered if it was love or if it was just friendship. Was it simple fondness? Or was I mesmerized by the beauty and gentleness of that gentleman?
So very long ago, four decades later, I recall our parting on the last day of our freshman year. He and I hugged goodbye. Somewhere tucked away in my heart, forty years later I ponder the what ifs.
Time passes. Memories fade. But, in the darkness when dreams ignite themselves in those quiet corners of our souls, memories of youth can awaken us. . .
Ivan, a sweet gentleman, dwells in that happy corner of my soul. In my dream, his smile reappeared and reminded me of a joyful moment of innocence, of friendship, of kindness, of a world that was simpler then.
Thanks, Ivan, for your friendship, so very long ago.
Jenny W. Andrews copyright 2022