Copyright © 2013 C.L. Mannarino
All rights reserved.

Chilly nights awaken softly, slowly, to sizzle under the yellow-gold sun.

Hot tea and coffee, one cream, two sugars, thanks.

Steam rises, tickles my nose.

Warmth seeps from ceramic to skin and gloves.

Bulky sweaters puddle and hang over long-sleeved shirts.

The ends of boot laces tap against my instep and toes as I walk.

A leather bag creaks where it hangs on my shoulder.

A notebook sighs open and closed in my hands, pen-and-ink-preserved years

Crawling past my eyes in disjointed journal entries.

(It is the season of memories.)

The person I left behind to become myself walks beside me, but only just. I

Am about to leave her, too, and she struggles to keep up, her steps falling farther away.

She knows what I’m going to do. She points to

Old buildings and old friends and old customs and says,

“That’s you.”

But I shake my head.

“Not anymore.”

She grows sad. Her eyes watch mine.

“What’s happened that’s made you different?”

I nod to the road ahead, a road that doesn’t end.


Her eyes follow mine. A tear slips down her cheek. She swallows hard.

“Will you be back soon?”

I pat the notebook, then squeeze her hand. Her fingers grow cold when I let go.


The road bends and sways and is now multicolored with new life. It is also dark in the distance.

But I am not scared. Not at the moment. For now, I have a light.

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