She was wearing a little blue dress, skipping rope the first time I saw her.  Her hair was in braids, tied with little ribbons that matched her dress.  She was eight, I was nine, and time stopped for me.

She was wearing jeans and red t-shirt, sipping beer in my backseat, with her hair down, the next time I saw her.  It was a new game, filled with hormones and dare you’s, and when she let me slide my hand under her shirt, time stopped for me, again.

She was wearing a white dress, I think it belonged to her mother, maybe her grandmother, too, but it looked like it was made just for her.  When she saw me waiting there for her, I could feel the warmth of her smile on my cheek, like a touch, and time stopped for me, keeping that feeling next to my heart forever.

She was in a hospital gown, her hair matted with sweat, heaping curses on me, and the men of my family ten generations back, as she gave life to another of them.  Time stopped there, holding her safe and fast, my son in her arms, and my heart in her hands.

She was in a black dress, the last time I saw her. Her hair was short and silver, with a thousand laugh lines on her sacred skin, and I refused to let time stop.  She was gone now, leaving me with frozen snippets of love and life to huddle near for warmth, but this place wouldn’t do without her.  I pushed time on, faster, that I might follow her, and do it all again.

©2017 J. A. Brown, Storyteller

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