When our favorite couple decided to marry and chose for their date a Saturday in July already charged with bright significance, we had to insist, they couldn’t have it. A valiant naval captain had gone down defiantly with his ship defending our coast in a stout but sodden effort on that very date before we were born—that date or the next, so both were already celebrated. What’s more, the influenza that had cost us our brightest youth had broken on the same date again years later, during our occupation, and while it still culled the many already infected, the serum our doctors discovered by accident prevented losses into the teens and who-knows-how-many black days on the carefree calendar to reclaim. We urged them to consider a Tuesday in August which no one could face without weeping instead. We promised them state ceremony and a parade down the grand boulevard in return if they would only give us back that day by choosing it to wed. They promised to think about it and then eloped or ran away then married, we presume; we haven’t seen them since. I know how they feel, the couple, my countrymen. I have my own dark days my friends insist on calling to remind me I have yet to get all the way through. They send me cards and bake me cakes to remind me how bad off I am, so when I can, I meet someone radiant on those days to supplant the memories and move the pebble off the square—someone who doesn’t remind me of anything—but there are so few such radiant numbers on a gameboard this small, and so many black and stony squares. I will have to live forever and lose nothing further to get my calendar back.

Copyright © July 02, 2008 David Hodges

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